Google is getting ready to start selling car insurance in the United States, in addition to plans of launching a comparison-shopping website wherein users will also be allowed to purchase policies.
Ellen Carney, an analyst for Forrester Research, wrote in a blog post that an entity named Google Compare Auto Insurance has a license for selling insurance in a total of 26 states. In addition, Google Compare Auto Insurance has the authorization for selling policies in at least one state on behalf of six insurance companies, namely Dairyland, MetLife, Mercury, Permanent General Assurance, Viking Insurance of Wisconsin and Workmen's.
Carney, however, noted that the corporate officers of the entity do not have experience in working with insurance.
An executive of Google recently acquired the authorization for selling insurance through Google Compare and CoverHound, a car insurance comparison website, which suggests that the two companies have some form of partnership in the move.
Google is currently already providing quotes for car insurance and travel insurance in the United Kingdom, along with mortgage quotes and credit cards. With these recent moves, it looks like Google is looking to offer something similar in the United States.
If Google pushes through with the new service, it might cause the displacement of the current middlemen in the industry, similar to what the company did for travel and shopping. Google is now offering tools dedicated to booking hotels and flights, along with tools for searching products through the Google Shopping website.
A spokeswoman for Google said that the company will not comment on the speculation.
CoverHound Insurance Solutions President Greg Isaacs confirmed that Meredith Stechbart, the listed treasurer of Google Compare Auto Insurance and a regulatory operations program manager in Google, has been endorsed in the insurance license of CoverHound. However, Isaacs denied the partnership between CoverHound and Google, insisting that the company has not been acquired by the tech giant.
The ongoing moves of Google to be able to increase the number of services that it offers directly could prove to be risky, as online middleman companies Expedia and Priceline are significant advertisers on Google. However, successful moves will lessen the number of clicks users have to make and could add to Google's revenue through earned commissions.
Carney also wrote that Google has been working on the car insurance comparison website for over two years, adding that she expects the new service to launch within the first quarter of this year.