Online Policies

Under Fire in Europe on Privacy, Google Sets Sights on German Insurers

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    A new Google insurance comparison site in Germany may initially be a boon to the German insurance industry, but could be damaging in the long run.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Web-based insurance comparison sites enable consumers to shop for insurance online, especially policies that require little explanation.
    • Google already operates an insurance comparison site in Britain called Google Compare.
    • The number of policies that consumers buy online is expected to rise in the future.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, in 2013. Source AP

 

Google has the German insurance industry trembling in its boots. For months, there have been expectations that the search engine giant will enter the German market with a comparison site for insurance policies, making life difficult for the industry, as is already the case in Great Britain.

More and more people are buying insurance on the Internet, often with the aid of comparison websites. This has led insurance companies to fear more competition, especially if such a deep-pocketed company such as Google plunges into the market. At a recent symposium, Christian Lindner, the leader of the pro-business Free Democratic Party, predicted that it would take less than 10 years before Google started selling customized insurance policies.

The companies that would be initially affected by the Google site are those that sell simple insurance products for which consumers require little to no advice. Providers of automobile and household insurance, in particular, can expect to see a significant increase in new policies concluded via the Internet by 2018, predicts the KPMG consulting firm. In Britain, 20 percent of new policies today were bought as a result of searches on online comparison sites.

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