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PIA’s Comments on Walmart Insurance Venture Shape Balanced Consumer Article

The press release that PIA put out in response to Walmart’s announcement that it will start promoting auto insurance helped shape a news story in the consumer publication Consumer Affairs...
May 14, 2014

The press release that PIA put out in response to Walmart’s announcement that it will start promoting auto insurance helped shape a news story in the consumer publication Consumer Affairs. The article accurately portrayed the facts, making note of PIA’s skepticism over Walmart’s claims of average annual savings of $1,168 per year. The publication quotes PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker, then it goes on to note:

“While Walmart says its new service allows consumers to shop around for the best rate, Becker says independent agents do the same thing. But he says that when it comes to insurance, consumers should remember that price is just one factor.”

Also from the consumer’s point of view, here’s an interesting post from a car enthusiast site, TorqueNews, all about why the editor prefers dealing with his insurance agent as opposed to those selling by price alone. Here’s an excerpt:

“The people who deliver me my insurance are extremely helpful. I have their cell phone numbers, can text them, call them at home, or e-mail them. They reply instantly. Always. Better yet, they know their stuff…My son is about to turn 15 and my insurance agent and I are already discussing options to protect my family from liability following a crash by that young whipper snapper in the Highlander. Frankly, I would not want to discuss that topic with a lizard.” Read the whole post here.

Meanwhile, PIA of North Dakota commented: “Independent agents who have been in the business for a while shouldn’t get too worried about the recent announcement by Walmart that they plan to sell auto insurance. Remember when Montgomery Ward’s Insurance, GMAC Insurance, Sears [Allstate captives] and even Penny’s wanted to market auto insurance? These were all non-events in the auto insurance business model because the product is complicated and is not a commodity. Service and claims are key factors, which these models were lacking.”

Will Drivers Leave Traditional Insurance Companies for Walmart? (Consumer Affairs 5/7/14)

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