Insurance comparison sites: what is the right strategy?

Rodolphe Strauss
June 15, 2022

At a time of high inflation, comparison sites are naturally growing in popularity. But brokers still have to find a way to differentiate themselves if they hope to stand out amidst very strong competition between a multitude of players. Here are our tips to help brokers generate large numbers of qualified leads in just a few weeks… 

Holiday rentals, smartphones, loans, flights, etc. – more and more products and services are now examined and compared down to the last detail to identify the best value for money. Insurance is no exception, quite the contrary, as offers are scrutinised by consumers who have now become comparison experts. So what can you do to get in on the act and reach these discerning potential clients? How can you turn these platforms into powerful acquisition tools?

Under the combined effect of the increase in the cost of insurance since 2010, as revealed in a study by Assurland.com last March, and easier cancellation of insurance policies since the Hamon (2015) and Lemoine (2022) laws on mortgage payment protection insurance, interest in comparison sites has been growing steadily in France. “Comparison sites generate 10% of new business,” says the CMO of Assurland.com, Arthur Pied, “and the comparison site market is growing by 15 points per year, with French consumers carrying out an average of six to eight million simulations each year on Assurland.com.” In other words, comparison sites are becoming more and more popular in France as a means of choosing insurance. The revolution is happening and it would be a shame not to take advantage of it.

Find the best tailored offer in a single click

Comparison sites may once have been the preserve of the middle classes, but their use has now become more widespread and affects all market segments, from young adults to seniors and young couples. This diverse range of users is now well catered for by the variety of offers available from mutual insurers, general insurers, insurtechs, etc. This is certainly a bonus for consumers, although it presents a real challenge for brokers because when everyone is listed, how do they stand out? We will come back to this a little further on when we discuss the “niche strategy”. 

But what are clients looking for that they cannot find in a physical branch or by telephone? “We are there to identify the need of leads who want to change insurer, to draw them in and offer them competitive rates and a clear offer,” explains Karim Ghalem, Managing Director of comparison site Mon Gustave. “A platform like ours helps the consumer by highlighting the cover details at a glance, along with all the proposed policies.” This allows consumers to identify solutions to overcome high inflation and regain purchasing power. This is also a real advantage in terms of clarity, considering that “39% of web-users see the lack of policy transparency as an obstacle,” emphasises Arthur Pied. 

The Assurland.com CMO goes on to highlight the potential savings. “Clients can save an average of €357 annually on motor insurance, €618 on health insurance, €208 on motorcycle insurance and €216 on home insurance. All together, these savings correspond to a monthly minimum wage.” CQFD. 

 

Brokers: adopt a niche strategy

Competition on comparison sites is fierce. So what can brokers do to have the best chance of success? First of all, “be present on comparison sites in order to have extremely qualified traffic,” advises Karim Ghalem. “And, for the smaller ones, be ready to take on several comparison sites. At Mon Gustave, we can integrate them into a motor or health insurance range in 15 days and without set-up costs. If they then have the right processes and the ability to rapidly get in touch with their leads – such as a series of emails/text messages, an efficient and precise CRM to follow up – the policy conversion rate will be over 10%.”

Another piece of advice on how to stand out, this time from Arthur Pied from Assurland.com: “Generally brokers, by definition, do not have a strong brand, so it is pointless for them to offer general policies in competition with the big market players. Instead, I would advise them to focus on niche products, such as luxury cars, clients with previous claims or pet insurance, etc. This will make it much easier and faster to establish themselves on the market and on comparison sites.”  

“The most profitable and competitive acquisition channel”

Some people think that an acquisition strategy based on comparison sites can be expensive, particularly since it means establishing distance sales teams. “On the contrary,” replies Arthur Pied, “it is certainly the most profitable and competitive acquisition channel there is.” It enables brokers to receive qualified leads with a fixed acquisition cost, in an area where search engine advertising (SEA) is an ultra-competitive tool. If the conversion process is optimised, a comparison site will enable them to control these costs. This is evident from the fact that comparison sites already account for 10% of insurance policies taken out in France compared with 85% in the UK, the most established brokerage market. This shows that the French market is still very attached to physical networks and there is a strong expectation of being contacted for an explanation of policy details, making comparison sites particularly relevant in France. 

For Karim Ghalem, it all depends on the type of players: “Some insurtechs, for example, choose not to have outgoing calls, preferring web-only subscription. Personally,” he adds, “I would activate online sales, backed up by telephone-assisted sales.” 

Trends and tips for 2022

The market is likely to become increasingly competitive in the coming years with the arrival of new entrants and, in particular, the emergence of insurtechs whose fund-raising will enable them to target ever greater volumes.

From a macro-economic perspective, following the emergence from the health crisis and the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the trend is towards inflation. Buyers will be even more attentive to their purchasing power and turn increasingly to comparison sites.

Finally, acquisition costs remain the major differentiating factor. Once you have succeeded in bringing leads to your chosen comparison site(s), the wide range of policies will be enough to win them over. Acquisition will therefore certainly remain the most important factor.

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