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So Long, Google Compare

Image - Website - Google CompareWe learned this week that Google is shuttering Google Compare, the search giant’s short-lived foray into selling financial products like insurance and credit cards. While the tech company was not the first to attempt to mechanize the insurance-buying process, its failure does seem to lend credence to the unshakeable value of human brokers:

When Google jumped into the insurance-selling game, it joined a long list of technology companies that have been trying to shake up the market by selling things like auto and homeowner insurance online. The idea behind the sites is to help consumers save money by showing them multiple quotes in one place…

The competition has so far done little to threaten the tens of thousands of insurance agents who continue to be the backbone of the business, but Google and others are likely to keep trying.

“One thing that will always prevail is human interaction and the importance of relationships,” says Renee McFadden, Distinguished’s Vice President of personal and commercial insurance and the PIA 2015 Insurance Professional of the Year. “Many believe in the ‘do-it-yourself’ approach, but the moment of truth comes when a claim occurs.”

Professional insurance agents and brokers are experts in evaluating exposures, monitoring market conditions, and protecting assets, which translates to added value for policyholders that technology simply can’t provide on its own. Technology is a great additional tool that allows professional insurance agents and brokers to compete in the digital arena, but it can’t replace the professional expertise and tailored approaches that individual brokers can offer.

That Google Compare lasted merely a year in the United States proves, once again, the importance of the human interaction in complex insurance transactions. At the end of the day, person-to-person encounters provide the customer with the highest level of awareness and understanding, which hopefully leads them to purchase the absolute best risk management product for their individual needs.