TORONTO — Most insurance companies fall short of developing an effective Web presence, according to a study released Wednesday by Toronto-based research company Über analyze.

The 2003 Canadian P & C Insurance

Website Ranking was compiled based on input from insurance executives, brokers, Web exerts and consumers from across Canada and was overseen by Alexandra Campbell, an associate professor of marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business. It ranks 50 top Property and Casualty (P&C) insurance company Web sites according to how well they address the needs identified by consumers and the requirements identified by brokers.

According to the study, 25 per cent of Canadian consumers plan to purchase home and auto insurance online, but only if real-time quotes are available quickly and easily, if information on the insurer’s financial stability is easily accessible, and if companies’ track records in claims settlements are made available.

Chris MacKechnie, the president of Über analyze, said the biggest surprise to come out of the study was the lack of a clear frontrunner pegged to become the Amazon.com or Charles Schwabb of the P&C insurance vertical.

“”I can’t think of another industry where someone hasn’t stepped up to the plate and taken over,”” he said, noting that online home and auto insurance sales will amount to $10-billion a year once the insurance industry catches up with consumers’ online needs and habits.

While most of the organizations admitted that an online strategy was of utmost importance to their business, many were not able to articulate what their strategy actually is.

According to MacKechnie, the top five sites ranked all demonstrated the obvious existence of a Web strategy and found that it was articulated on every page of their sites. These companies are State Farm, Allstate, TD Insurance, Royal & Sun Alliance and Kanetix.

Peter Hanycz, manager of public affairs at State Farm Insurance companies in Scarborough, Ont., said that while he was pleasantly surprised that his company topped the list, he was pretty sure that they would make it to the top five.

“”We have a clear Internet strategy based on our consumers’ needs, and this study validated that we’re moving in the right direction,”” he said.

The bottom five insurance Web sites as identified by the study are Echelon General Insurance, P

Share on LinkedIn Share with Google+