It seems odd to many people that Google has chosen to enter the auto insurance business after at least a decade of other firms providing online quotations in a similar format.
Yet the firm that is best known for being one of the most innovative companies on the planet has decided to leverage its presence in search and infrastructure to provide a car insurance quotation service functioning as an actual insurance agent on behalf of 14 different insurers that will provide data.
One school of thought is that the foray into a very traditional business is one more way to build stronger ties with the automobile industry as Google is preparing to introduce its self-driving car at some point in the near future.
While auto insurance and auto manufacturers would not seem to be very closely linked, it makes sense for Google to partner with the industry in advance of releasing a driver-less car because the owners of those vehicles will certainly need to provide insurance and partners that are already in the insurance business may be strong allies when it comes to designing the rules that will govern how those policies are structured.
One precedent from the tech industry that may shed some light on whether or not there is some synergy in Google’s announcement are the laws in existence governing rules for computing accessibility for people who are blind or deaf or differently-abled. It appears that much of the federal law for computing accessibility followed the standard that Microsoft set for its Windows product, probably because it was the most developed set of standards in existence.
By working with insurance providers in a similar fashion, Google will likely end up as the expert in understanding driver-less cars and their insurance needs, making policy developed in-house an attractive reference for those who end up creating the rules.
For consumers, the Google Compare for Auto Insurance site, which is already operational will take some of the guesswork out of getting an insurance quote. On some of the other sites, there is still a perception that the quote comparisons that are returned are not a true reading of what the market is willing to provide. The challenge for Google is to try and remain neutral and not let any semblance of favoritism creep into the process. A tall order, but one that they are used to fulfilling in their other lines of business.