Google Making Moves Into US Auto Insurance
New analyst report points to Google's latest efforts to get its auto insurance comparison product launched stateside.
More indications that Google is set to enter the US auto insurance market are popping up. Google launched its comparison shopping site for car insurance, Google Compare, in the UK in 2012, and a US version has long been anticipated.
Forrester analyst, Ellen Carney, wrote a blog post this week about several signs that, after delays, the program could finally be launching in the US this quarter with a pilot in California. In her research, Carney found that the entity named Google Compare Auto Insurance Services Inc. is already licensed to do business in more than half the states in the US and is authorized to transact on behalf of several insurers, including MetLife, Mercury, Dairyland and a few others.
In her research, Carney also learned that the corporate treasurer for Google Compare is also authorized sell insurance on behalf of CoverHound, a San Francisco-based insurance comparison site. Carney speculates that this could be an sign that Google is preparing to acquire the company, writing,
“An acquisition of CoverHound gets the Google insurance entity to market faster in the US than they’ve been able to get on their own; it gets them a national full service independent agency with more insurers that have already signed on; CoverHound’s San Francisco headquarters is conveniently close to Google’s Mountain View Campus; plus CoverHound gets Google the kind of insurance chops that the company will really need should they decide they really like the insurance business. And an acquisition might explain this most recent delay.”
Greg Isaacs, president of Insurance Solutions at CoverHound, told the Wall Street Journal, “We haven’t been acquired.” Google also declined to comment on the report.
Google’s moves into auto insurance would be similar to what the company has done in travel, following its acquisition of travel reservations software company ITA in 2010. In the UK, Google enables quotes for auto and travel insurance, credit card, mortgages and even banking accounts.