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12:25 PM
Jay Basnight
Jay Basnight
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Up-Front Questions

Insurance firms can decrease the total time and effort required of a user seeking an accurate online quote by formalizing a process of asking a few basic questions up front.

Insurance carriers ask many questions to successfully return an accurate online quote not always relevant for every user. This often makes the process longer and potentially confusing. Insurance firms can decrease the total time and effort required of a user by formalizing a process of asking a few basic questions up front. These questions will eliminate larger amounts of questions or even entire pages that may be irrelevant to certain users. Up-front questions also can notify the user whether he or she will be able to receive a quote online and immediately provide them with information on how to obtain a quote in other ways. Finally, certain questions asked at the beginning of the quote process will reaffirm that the information provided has been collected and is being intelligently assessed.

This brief will highlight three specific areas where carriers can use intelligently placed questions to reduce the number of irrelevant questions asked later in the online quote process.

Number of Drivers, Vehicles.

This is a simple and efficient up-front question to eliminate unnecessary pages. Both Progressive and GEICO ask this question on the first page of the quote application. If a user selects only one driver, the site responds by providing a single page for drivers. Progressive also provides a review page before providing a quote, which displays all the drivers and vehicles a user has entered with the ability to update, add or delete these entries. Some firms simply provide vehicle and driver questions in duplicate for additional entries. Still others do ask this question only to later ask additional questions that do not acknowledge the earlier answer submission. These are clear indications to the user that they are filling out a standard universal form not tailored to them specifically.

Answers that halt online quotes.

A question that may potentially halt a user's progress through the online quote process should be asked early on. There is a tremendous amount of frustration experienced when a user enters pages of information only to arrive at a question that bars them from continuing. These types of questions can include location of vehicle, credit or driving history, or type of vehicle insured. Prospects that are notified early that an online quote is not available and are properly ushered to offline support channels will appreciate the respect paid to their time.

In the secure site.

Many firms allow customers to update or quote changes to their policies from the firm's secure site. While the other up-front questions are still important, there are questions that should be asked early in the process. For instance, the date a customer would like the requested change to their policy to be effective. This type of question is not helpful after a user has inputted their changes (usually through a quote application similar to that on the public site). By asking this question up front, the customer can be advised of when the change will be made and be instructed to call his or her agent or customer service representative if the timeline is not acceptable.

With so many questions that need to be asked of an online quote seeker, it is important for firms to carefully consider the general order of these questions for logical completion. The best way to ensure that a user will have little or no difficulty with obtaining a quote is to make sure they are aware of all the important considerations immediately. Users should be notified about what types of information they will need and how long it will take to get a quote. Next, the first questions they are asked should be the ones that may potentially terminate an online quote process. Lastly, the user should be made to feel that this experience is unique to their needs and specifications. Intelligent placement of questions will help reduce user confusion and save time.

Jay Basnight, is a Research Analyst with Watchfire GómezPro in Waltham, Mass. He can be reached at [email protected].

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