Bed Bath & Beyond, Walgreens and PetSmart are among the retailers selling through Google’s voice-activated devices.
The site allows agents to help outdoor sports and guide businesses purchase coverage for such activities as sea kayaking, tubing and surfing. It is the latest in a string of specialty e-commerce sites the company has launched in such categories as special events, fitness and amateur sports leagues.
K&K Insurance Group Inc., a subsidiary of Aon plc, has assembled its first web site for agents to help outdoor sports and guide businesses purchase policies covering activities such as backpacking, fishing and paddleboarding. The site includes “quote and buy” technology that K&K underwriters can use to help customers who need a bit more assistance in picking a policy or who have higher-than-usual risks that require some finesse by an expert, says Lorena Hatfield, K&K’s marketing resources manager.
The company previously launched e-commerce sites for agents selling policies to amateur sports teams, leagues and camps; dance, martial arts and gymnastics schools; special events; and fitness instructors and studios, Hatfield says. “Those insurance web sites continue to be very successful and we believe that the e-commerce format will be convenient for outfitter and guide coverage as well,” she says. “The number of transactions on our e-commerce web sites increased by roughly 30% from 2012 to 2013 and we’re seeing excellent growth—we plan to exceed 100,000 e-commerce transactions in 2014.”
The new site for insurance sales agents went live on March 1. So far, Hatfield says, “We’re very pleased with the number of transactions from both agents who are renewing coverage online and agents who have purchased coverage for new clients via the web site.”
All of the sites allow customers to save a quote for purchase at a later date, Hatfield says. If one buys immediately, she receives proof of her coverage right away via e-mail. “At times, our clients may need to insure an event on short notice, and the ability to purchase same-day-coverage online can be the key that allows the event to take place,” Hatfield says. A customer may also elect to buy immediately but have the coverage begin at a future date.
K&K operates its sites on Microsoft Corp.’s SharePoint software, which connects to the company’s insurance policy management system, Hatfield says. The SharePoint e-commerce module includes a shopping cart and order management capabilities. K&K previously outsourced site development work, Hatfield says, but it used a combination of in-house staff and consultants to develop the new outdoor sports and guides site. Today it can launch a new site in roughly three months, she says.
“Implementing and improving our web sites is an ongoing and intricate exercise that requires the expertise of underwriting, accounting, policy issuance and web development specialists,” she says. “As a subsidiary of Aon, we are fortunate to have access to excellent technical resources from around the globe.”