While Rate of Growth has Slowed, Increases are Now Impacting America’s Safest Drivers
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — InsWeb Corp. (Nasdaq: INSW), one of the largest producers of automobile insurance in the U.S., today announced the results of the InsWeb Auto Insurance Index, a quarterly study designed to identify and track general pricing trends of personal auto insurance sold through the Internet. Prices for auto insurance nationwide continued to rise in the third quarter of 2002, representing a 7% increase year over year.
The index grew less than 1% on a sequential basis, however, indicating that prices may be stabilizing for the near-term. Reasons for the industry’s steady rate increases include rising claims costs driven primarily by medical costs, significantly higher vehicle repair costs, rising jury awards and continued fraud and abuse. Additional causes may include lower investment income generated by insurers, mainly due to the dramatic reduction in interest rates and the decline in the stock market.
InsWeb’s data for the third quarter of 2002 also revealed an apparent shift among carrier offerings to consumers in the “Over 30” age group, traditionally considered America’s safest drivers and the industry’s most preferred customers. While these consumers continue to be offered a greater number of 12-month policy quotes and lower than average premiums, data from InsWeb’s marketplace indicates that these age groups experienced the highest increase in premiums in the third quarter as compared to the second quarter of 2002.
Additionally, as in the second quarter of 2002, the majority of quotes viewed by consumers during the third quarter of 2002 were for 6-month policies. Nearly 60% of the roughly 1.3 million quotes viewed were for 6- month policies, as compared to less than 44% during the same period last year.
“The good news for consumers is that the rate of increase has slowed, but conversion to six-month policies continues apace, and now drivers of all ages are feeling the impact of this year’s rate hikes,” said Hussein Enan, Chairman of InsWeb Corporation. “Now more than ever, consumers of all ages need to research offerings from competing providers to ensure that they are getting the best possible rates and terms. Conversion to a 6-month policy can impact an individual policy-holder’s annual costs by up to 40%.”
InsWeb Auto Insurance Index
(A graphical representation is also available at http://www.insweb.com/about/auto-index.htm ).
Calendar Quarter Quarterly Index
Composition of the Index
The nature and size of InsWeb’s online marketplace enables the company to collect a wealth of demographic and product-related characteristics that it believes may be beneficial as broad indicators of pricing and other trends for the auto insurance industry. The index is calculated from quotes viewed at InsWeb by consumers in all states (except those in New Jersey, Massachusetts and North Carolina) for both 6-month policies and 12-month policies; it is a weighted average of the separate indices for 6-month and 12-month policies, respectively. In each of the 11 quarters analyzed to-date, the index is based on at least 0.5 million quotes, with an average of 1.3 million quotes analyzed in each of the quarters of 2002. While the index itself will be calculated on a quarterly basis, the intention is to track and monitor pricing on an annual basis, with quarterly data providing potential early insight into pricing trends, subject to short-term geographic and demographic changes by both carriers and consumers at InsWeb. The information will also be posted on InsWeb’s site at http://www.insweb.com/about/auto-index.htm .
InsWeb enables consumers to compare multiple, actionable quotes for auto, term life, health, homeowners, renters and condominium insurance offerings from many of the nation’s highly rated insurers. The top-rated online insurance marketplace also provides live customer service, interactive tools and independent research. Headquartered in Sacramento, Calif., InsWeb is accessible at www.insweb.com.
While the InsWeb Auto Insurance Index is a broad indicator of pricing activity in the personal auto insurance marketplace, it is not a comprehensive index as it reflects only the pricing activity of carriers that have participated in the InsWeb auto insurance marketplace and the aggregate profile of consumers who shop at InsWeb. From time to time, and often on a quarterly basis, these influencing factors can change quite significantly, and therefore affect the composition of the index. As such, the index may fluctuate widely from quarter to quarter, and it is not InsWeb’s intention to measure and analyze quarter over quarter changes in an in-depth fashion. In addition, prices for auto insurance vary from state to state, as well as within a state, and are heavily dependent on an individual’s risk characteristics and the particular coverage that individual desires. It is impractical, if not impossible to identify all major components of the index and adjust for the changes in those components on a quarterly basis. In addition, the index itself is a function of which quarter is used for the base. As an example, if the index were to be constructed using Q300 as the base instead of Q100, the average annual increase would have been about 11%
NOTE: “INSWEB” is a registered service mark of InsWeb Corporation. All marks above are those of InsWeb Corporation, except for those of insurance insurers, brokers, agents, industry organizations, financial institutions, online partners, service providers, other mentioned companies and educational institutions, which are the marks of their respective entities.