Most insurers do not create user-friendly sites -- instead, they are complicated and confusing, and they usually fail at making it easy to find auto insurance quote and policy information, according to a study released this week by the Customer Respect Group (CRG).
"Overwhelmingly, consumers go to websites with specific goals and to get things done without unnecessary fuss," says Terry Golesworthy, the CRG's president. "Not everything can be resolved online, but visitors should find relevant facts without the need for endless surfing and searching."
The report, "Auto-Insurers Online Self-Service Report 2012: Leaders and Laggards," commends Esurance, giving it the highest ranking of the 20 company websites studied. Sites that aggregate car insurance comparison quotes from many insurers were not included. The companies studied were chosen for various reasons, including size, availability in several states and "strong presence in the consumer market," according to the CRG.
After Esurance, Liberty Mutual and GEICO rounded out the top three.
Here's the list of the good, the bad and the mediocre compiled by the CRG, with comparative scores on a 1 to 10 scale:
The CRG looked at three components when judging a website:
The report's main conclusions are as follows:
The solutions, according to the study, begin with insurers and Web designers committed to making browsing, search and content less complicated and bewildering. Such improvements can help sites "align with what people want" and make them less of a "maze," according to the study. Amazon.com is one of the best examples of the right way to do things, notes Golesworthy. (See: Cheap auto insurance: Find cheap car insurance in 8 easy steps.)
In applauding Esurance, the study says it had the best content and "offered a site search that had consistently good results."
Lisa Ward, Esurance's vice president of customer experience and communications, attributes the success to understanding the fast-paced needs of Web surfers. "(Our) customer-centric approach gives consumers easy access to information and the ability to quickly make updates to their policy with as few clicks as possible," she says.
Liberty Mutual, ranked second overall, was tops in navigation, second in content and third in search.
GEICO, third overall, was second in navigation, third in content and fourth in search.
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