In the area of car insurance, a new wave of selling has been brought on by companies like Geico Insurance, and Progressive Corp. that sell primarily online. They have began to challenge the traditional way of selling insurance, agent to customer. Even a long time traditional company like Liberty Mutual Insurance now sells online and over the phone.
In the state of Massachusetts, 1,600 independent insurance agents sell the majority of car insurance, about 66 percent of the market. The bad news is that the market share has recently eroded by ten percent.
The Boston-based company, Plymouth Rock Assurance is attempting to straddle both sides. The company has launched a tool by the name of Prime. Consumers can buy and manage car insurance online, but they can still deal with agents personally. This is an example of an industry attempting to adapt to an evolving marketplace.
Plymouth Rock Assurance was founded by James M. Stone. In the 1970s Stone was a lecturer in Economics at Harvard University. He was appointed Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission by President Jimmy Carter. In 1982 Stone founded the Plymouth Rock Company and has remained its CEO.
While some agents are leery of working with Plymouth Rock, the company states that it is not interested in eliminating insurance agents altogether.
A study by comscore Inc. found that 60 percent of consumers bought their car insurance from agents. In 2014, 20 percent bought their policies online, but 37 percent said they would consider buying their insurance online.