The insurance industry isn’t lacking in customers, but each of the major providers could do more to increase their online presence and strategy. In the long run, an enhanced insurance digital experience service would serve everyone better.

When it comes to health and safety, even the most financially cautious Americans will take risks when it comes to insurance.

Auto, health, and life insurance all serve as intangible safety nets for a day that you hope will never come, and when you combine that fear of the unknown with the constant availability of the internet, you’re left with an industry that’s set up for digital success.

Why, then, aren’t insurance companies more focused on cultivating and promoting their online presences? Many industries successfully facilitate purchases and provide support online, yet insurance companies have generally failed to follow suit, resulting in very preventable losses.

The Votes Are In

For years, insurance seekers have increasingly favored the speed and ease offered by the Internet. As Jeff Root wrote for LifeHealthPro, studies conducted by LIMRA and The Life Foundation found that, while 80% of the population preferred purchasing insurance during face-to-face meetings in 1996, the figure had lowered to 64% in 2011.

By 2013, only 50% of Americans wanted to buy insurance in person, with 85% of respondents stating that “they would use the Internet in some way to purchase a life insurance policy.”

Online insurance purchases have been on the rise since 2007, when eSurance customers purchased two million auto policies online, a jump that represented 40% of the previous year’s total sales, according to WWW Metrics.

In 2010, 20.2 million auto insurance quote requests were submitted online — to put that in perspective, there were only half a million property insurance quotes submitted online that same year. It’s fair to say one sector is lagging pretty far behind the curve.

Online Optimization

With the direct consumer experience that an online insurance presence can provide, the industry’s intense focus can finally be lifted off of broker-focused interactions. Optimized websites will become even more efficient, leaving brokers more available for product development, marketing, and specific types of customer assistance.

A fully operational web presence is beneficial to both the business and consumer: consumers will be able to quickly accomplish their tasks without the headaches, and businesses can begin using collected data to market, track, and better cater to their customer’s needs.

Additionally, the virtual process is less costly, saving businesses money from the start, and for consumers in the long run, as the India Times reports.

eSurance, which started as an exclusively online service, is now owned by Allstate, but still primarily conducts its business online. They offer paperless billing and have few offices, producing a smaller environmental footprint.

Additionally, their online quote system allows users to compare prices side by side without leaving the browser window. Sound like the future of the insurance marketplace to you? Yeah, me too.

If other companies followed suit, they could not only save a bundle, but provide better, faster, and more environmentally sound services to their customers, giving brokers more time to specialize their services.