The pages can contain useful information, perhaps crime statistics, security advice, reviews of locks, alarms, property marking, registration of serial numbers, types of fire hazard, action to take in emergency etc. This is designed to entice the reader into the site (Unlike other advertising media, Internet content cannot be forced on the viewer). Links to loss anecdotes and products may be sprinkled in here.
The user is guided to provide the information needed to provide him with an indication of the range of cover and costs. He should be permitted to match the depth of the session to his level of interest. The information must be confidential (encrypted with a password of his choosing). A premium indication can be given. Any notes or supplementary information should be available with a single click. In later sessions he should be able to add or delete information (avoiding tedious repetition of facts already entered in previous sessions). The aim is to allow him to explore his options and tailor the cover to his needs or means.
When the user is satisfied with the cover and costs, he may click a button to obtain a quotation. It is at this point that it would be appropriate to capture name and address. A printable representation of the quote can be made available for the user, or he can request that one be posted to him.
Is it a good idea to allow claims to be entered via Internet? In case of fire or theft, there may be no computer left to use. Can the user play with trial claims? He may find out that he cannot claim due to the small print. Would this disenchant him, encourage him to increase cover, or reassure him that claiming will be possible? It would certainly be a unique selling point!
Yes. The technology for cost effective interactive secure content became available in 1996. Cycom has been testing the technology. It does work. Browsers incorporating the needed features will be widespread by 3rd quarter 1997.
Cycom has secure rich client technology demonstrated at Club Cycom.
The browsing public may not visit the site. They may not trust confidentiality arrangements. They may not use the service. The sales volume might not then justify the development costs (perhaps £200K). The service may cause other insurers to follow with similar schemes and your product may not bear direct comparison (you have a poor value product!).
Over the next 5-10 years, Internet insurance shopping may become the norm. The company using this means will have fewer overheads than non-users and will gradually increase market share. It may be more difficult/expensive to catch up if you wait. Witness the success of early adopters of direct telesales.