The Customer, Google, and UK Car Insurance

Lessons from Evolving Customer Search Behavior
by Catherine Stagg-Macey,  Craig Beattie, April 3, 2012
Industry Trends


The UK motor insurance market has seen evolutions and revolutions at great speed over the last 25 years, with a variety of tools and messages delivered to an increasingly educated and price-sensitive consumer. What insights might recent search behaviour provide? How are customers responding to this speed of change? Are there opportunities not serviced by the industry?

In a new report, The Customer, Google, and UK Car Insurance: Lessons from Evolving Customer Search Behavior, Celent reviews the history of car insurance in the UK and examines more recent search data to understand how consumers are responding and what they are looking for. Celent examines how searches for keywords in Google’s search engine have changed, and even the rise of mobile as the new platform for searching.

“UK insurers are behind where they need to be in supporting mobile Internet consumers,” says Catherine Stagg-Macey, Senior Vice President with Celent’s Insurance group and coauthor of the report. “The rise of mobile as the convenient route to access digital content and to make purchases means that mobile-friendly descriptions of products will soon be a key component in the purchasing decision.“

“Increasingly, the UK customer base has turned to the Internet to find the best deal,” says Craig Beattie, Analyst with Celent’s Insurance group and coauthor of the report. “Customers also search to find out about insurers and insurance products, and to get advice from friends, colleagues, and other sources.”

Celent worked with Google to evaluate various keyword searches made on and related to UK car insurance. The intent was to evaluate how recent changes in the car insurance industry in the UK had affected the online behaviour of UK customers both prior to and after the start of the financial crisis in 2009.

Celent provides insights into the UK motor insurance market before 2004, and then looks at the key findings of the search data in recent years. The data in this report was offered by Google and is shared in a format consistent with its internal guidelines. The exact search volumes were not disclosed and are not included in the graphs, but rather the change in search volume relative to a starting index is used.

Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned operating unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

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Table of Contents

Executive Summary


The UK Motor Market: The Reality



Report Methodology


A Short History of the UK Motor Insurer Customer



Direct Insurance over the Phone



The Rise of E-Commerce



The Rise of the Aggregators


The Recent Search History of UK Motor Insurance



The Discerning UK Buyer



Products for the Uninsurable


Observations for Insurers




Leveraging Celent’s Expertise



Support for Financial Institutions



Support for Vendors


Related Celent Research


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