On February 22, 2016, Insurance Journal online announced the shut-down of Google Compare.
Some of Google’s technology partners only found out from insurance carriers, who were told by Google, and others maintain that Google is retooling all of its consumer products including credit cards, banking products, mortgage products and insurance. Google will return to its online shopping site after a revision in their approach and goals.
It was only a year ago (March, 2015) that Google cut a deal with Compare.com and CoverHound to enter the financial services market. Google began providing auto quotes to online customers through TurboRater. At the time, questions were raised because this business model is far different from Google’s traditional pay-per-click strategy it employs for other products.
Google began marketing in only four states, expecting to expand to over 20 states within a year. That never materialized and the traffic was 10% of what was expected by Google.
While we don’t close out the possibility of Google re-entering the insurance market, perhaps they have realized why independent agents continue to thrive. Potential insurance buyers would like low prices, but they understand the risks involved and the complexity of insurance products and still feel more comfortable talking to and touching someone personal, real and local if all other considerations remain equal.