Custom «Insurance Distribution Industry» Essay Paper Sample
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The cost differences exist between direct and indirect insurance distribution industry. However both distribution channels mutually co-exist benefiting one another symbiotically. The roles of insurance intermediaries and agents as well as overall structure of insurance market are changing significantly as a result of e-commerce influence. Providing information and writing transactions have typically been the function of insurance agents but electronic markets can perform tasks more efficiently with fewer costs thereby displacing agents. E-commerce decreases the use of exclusive agent and direct response distribution systems that have proliferated for a long time. This essay analyses direct channel of car insurance of distribution as well as indirect channel of distribution.
The establishment of successful channel of distribution enables insurance companies to cover the market thereby gaining the loyalties of customers. This cuts down the operational costs achieving competitive advantage among their competitors. The channels range from direct, indirect to multi-channel. They can also be classified as direct, banks with tied agents and independent intermediate.
Car direct insurance distribution
Direct selling accounts for a small amount of homeowner's insurance sales. Firms like Geico in the United States employ personal auto insurance market that has proved to be booming. The internet sites enable the consumer to shop the best life insurance prices. Direct marketing is taking over many nations than U.S as well with remarkable portion of new car insurance in the United Kingdom sold through direct marketing (Plunkett W.J.).
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A 2005 study of automobile insurance consumers in the U.S. show 87% of active car insurance users obtain prices online. More than half prefer buying their insurance policy online. This has made many underwriters to utilize both direct sales and through use of agents in their business models. For instance, Progressive Corporation underwriter of automobile insurance buys insurance online or through use of phone which makes it user friendly for customers to get instant quotation on a policy for an automobile. Customers use Progressive Web to file a claim as well as making payment. This reduces sales cost lowering the expenses of customer service enabling them to gather more information.
They offer a usage-based auto insurance discount program in Minnesota Michigan and Oregon. Customers register their vehicle in the TripSense program that enables them to log data. Trip Sense collects insurance information about the vehicle's usage. Advanced call center and customer relation management tools enable insurance firms to cross-sell different products. Credit cards use automated voice response telephone systems to field requests. The insweb, insure.com and insurance.com are major internet sites in the US (Plunkett W.J.).
Indirect insurance distribution
Banks are also used in insurance sales as they are adopting direct marketing as well as indirect strategies such as employing traditional agents. In America, customers who have an account with Bank of America receive a monthly bank statement generating insurance leads for the bank at nominal cost (Plunkett W.J.).
Independent agents are used by insurers to sell more complex insurance products. Exclusive agency insurers use their agents to market more standardized products as they require high level of service and high price types of insurance products. Independent agents are effective in influencing claim settlement. They are also effective in areas that are prone to frequent disputes and limited amount of information on loss distribution (Yansu H. & Yu Z.).
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There is also the use of multi-distribution model because insurance is shifting from the traditional model with a stable base to a more fluid model that has great customer volatility to satisfy customers who are looking for multiple specialist providers thereby creating own multi-specialist environment. This increases the sales conversion rate hence improving productivity resulting in more revenues. This allows insurers to expand their customers base (Retail insurance Advisory Council 2010).
The direct channel of distribution is preferred to indirect channel of distribution since is cuts down distribution expenses apart from being efficient and informative.