Brian.oco 0 Posting Whiz

Last week I went and did something I swore I’d never do – save 15% or more on my car insurance with Geico.com.

Yep, I know all about the annoying lizard and the perpetually ticked off cavemen. I went ahead and did it anyway.

The trigger point was a letter from Progressive, my old insurer, noting my rate schedule for the next year. Scanning the numbers was like looking at my first house payment 16 years ago.

Now I was the ticked-off caveman. How dare Progressive raise my rates after another year of a perfect driving record! Examining my options took me to the Geico web site, where I dove in, webbed-feet first and made the switch.

The change was dramatic. Instead of $173 a month I’d be paying closer to $100 per month – for basically the same coverage.

Justice, or maybe revenge, rarely tasted so sweet. I couldn’t get on the phone fast enough to fire Progressive and, hopefully, Geico and I will have a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

We’ll see.

The point of my story, and I do have one, is that information that helped me make up my mind was right there on the Geico web site. Easy to find and easy to understand.

So when I was trolling web for news this morning, and I found a study rating the best car insurance web sites, I couldn’t resist.

What did I find?

Surprisingly, to me anyway, Progressive ranked number one in customer experience. But pulling closer in its rear view mirror was Geico, which was coming up fast.

The study, by the analytical firm Keynote Competitive Research examined the online customer experience and service levels of ten leading auto insurances Web sites, including the Allstate, GEICO, Progressive and State Farm sites. Keynote included 1,500 customers in its study.

Keynote examined how each site performs versus competitors across key business objectives, including customer satisfaction and customer acquisition, plugging in more than 250+ metrics for each site.

The study said that Progressive was ranked as the #1 Web site in the Keynote Customer Experience Rankings with the best overall ranking across the 250 customer experience metrics measured in the study. “Progressive was a consistently top ranked site in terms of product satisfaction; privacy and security; and in the quote and research process, as well as in providing shopping guidance,” the report stated. “GEICO showed the most significant gains in online customer experience over the past year and was the number one ranked site in terms of product satisfaction and overall visual appeal of the site to consumers.”

Progressive also ranked as having the best reliability, an indication the site was highly available and experienced little or no downtime, according to Keynote. State Farm had the industry’s best site responsiveness, an indication of how fast sites were in downloading pages and completing transactions.

Particularly worrisome for the industry is the amount of time that the web sites crashed and went dark. According to the study, ‘almost every site measured reported a major outage; with two major brand name sites reporting over 30 hours of downtime in the 30 day study period. During these outage periods customers were unable to research insurance coverage or begin an online application. Two of the ten auto insurance sites evaluated had major load handling issues, slowing down by up to 60% each day.’”

Even so, if the auto insurance sector is any indication, web service is ramping up, and customers can only benefit. If you wind up in an accident, and here’s hoping you don’t. coping with the aftermath should get a little easier.

Oh, and getting a better quote online is getting easier, too.

Just ask me.

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