Most people really don’t think about the importance of insurance until it’s too late: a spouse dies without life insurance; a young adult decides to take his chances and forgo auto insurance and greatly rues the that decision when a fender bender occurs.
What’s more, the “steps” of buying insurance can be a bit intimidating: one must call an insurance agent or company, meet in person or on the phone to discuss insurance needs and costs/budget.
But, according to a November article in InsuranceJournal.com, buying insurance could be easier and less intimidating if a kiosk-selling strategy started in 2013 by Direct Auto Insurance Co. takes off.
The article reports that Direct Auto place kiosks it calls DOTS (“Direct on the Spot”) that it describes as “an insurance store in a box.” The small kiosks provide shoppers with the ability to receive a quote and bind and print an insurance policy for their car(s) in just five minutes. (The kiosks offer low-limit, basic insurance policies, as well as emergency protection and roadside assistance plans.)
The kiosks are topped by a large sign that says “Super Easy” in bright red letters on a white background. The message is hard to miss.
Shoppers start the process by scanning their driver’s license. They are then giving a quote and then may opt to continue buying insurance, or not. The self-service kiosks also have an attached phone so that potential customers may contact one of the company’s agents for questions or help. Those who don’t wish to purchase at the kiosk right then also can send the quote and policy information to their e-mail address and finish the process at home.
The article quotes Direct Auto’s COO, Jack Campbell, as saying that the company was “inspired by the increasing trend of consumers using online and quick-pay retail services as well as the kiosk technology that hadn’t yet been applied to insurance.”
Placing kiosks in stores allows the company to expand into new geographic regions without the expense and overhead of opening a new retail store and hiring staff, Campbell added.
Among the buying process modifications made by Direct Auto, were making the questions simpler and ensuring that personal info could be prefilled so that the process moved quickly. It also made sure no personal information is stored in the kiosk (personal info doesn’t appear on the screen as the customer types and privacy wings are located on either side of the input keyboard and screen so that passersby can’t see personal data).
Direct Auto started with 18 kiosks in local insurance stores in Tennessee and planned to move 16 of them to retail partner locations such as grocery stores, malls, title loan companies, and car dealerships. The article quotes Campbell as saying Direct Auto has been “pleasantly surprised” how easy it’s been to sign up retail partners.
Direct Auto says it plans to expand its kiosks throughout the 13 states the company currently services and then expand to markets in other states.
Direct Auto’s executives said they believe the kiosks act as an “extension of marketing,” according to the article, and that they expect the “kiosk-type model” to become popular when it comes to purchasing auto insurance.
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