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A Forrester blog post by Ellen Carney on Google’s potential foray into the US Auto Insurance market generated a lot of interest this week, sparking coverage from numerous Search Engine / Business sites, like:

But will it truly happen?

Google UK Auto Insurance

It is fitting that this piece (written in 2012), 3 Reasons Google Won’t Offer Car Insurance Comparisons in the US Anytime Soon, was authored by one of the founders of CoverHound. Carney’s Forrester article suggests Google may be interested in acquiring this company. In fact, just last month, the President of Google Compare Auto Insurance Services became authorized to transact on behalf of CoverHound. Yes, Google has been serving as an auto insurance aggregator in the UK since 2012. Their Quote Flow is pretty nice, and amusing, as the Brits have a completely different set of insurance jargon. But despite all of the recent clamor over their potential US action, here are 3 things to keep in mind:
  1. They have a lot at stake – Geico and Progressive alone are each estimated at spending more than $50 MM a year in paid search. Google certainly doesn’t want to kill this golden goose.
  2. Auto Insurance is really competitive and very regulated – Geico, Progressive, Esurance, etc., are really good at marketing auto insurance and converting users online. They are also adept at the state–by–state compliance issues that make this field especially challenging.
  3. Google’s relationship with marketers is starting to strain. With the advent of the Knowledge Graph, sites that provide the best result (here's an example) are often not rewarded with either recognition or website traffic.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see Google make a big push into the US market this year, but as Carney mentions, a California test was supposed to happen in December and still hasn’t launched. It will be very interesting to follow Google’s marketing of auto insurance in this country and how its large set of high-paying advertisers respond. What are your thoughts? Leave us a note below in the comments.