Editors' Cuts

Insurer Deploys Kiosks for Direct Auto Distribution

Chris McMahon
Insurance Experts' Forum, November 11, 2013

Insurance industry analysts frequently talk about the commoditization of insurance products, pointing out the increased number of direct sales online, falling prices and the ballooning advertising budgets that large insurers are using to stand out in a very competitive field. But Nashville-based Direct Auto Insurance is responsible for a new mile marker on the road to commoditization: insurance via vending machine.

Direct Auto Insurance has launched 18 transactional insurance kiosks in supermarkets, malls, gas stations, auto dealerships and other third-party locations, the insurer said.

The kiosks, which the company refers to as “DOTS,” an acronym for Direct on the Spot, first scan a driver’s license and then are said to deliver accurate insurance quotes in a matter of minutes. Customers can pay with cash, credit or debit cards and walk away fully insured, the company said. Users also are offered the opportunity to buy roadside assistance plans, life insurance, emergency protection plans and receive proof of insurance on the spot.

“Our DOTS kiosks represent a monumental leap forward for Direct and the insurance industry, streamlining the path to insurance like no system before,” said Josh Jarrett, VP of product management. “We want to change the way our customers think of their insurance company, and by deploying our kiosks on a large-scale, delivering quality auto insurance in seconds, we aim to meet and exceed their expectations for a fast, simple, and, above all, convenient way to find and pay for insurance.”

The company said the kiosks are equipped with handsets, enabling users to contact a customer service representative to discuss questions; users also may save their insurance quote and go to a Direct Auto Insurance store for additional information. The kiosks also are able to accept monthly payments, enabling people who don’t have a bank to submit cash payments.

If successful, the company intends a multi-state deployment of kiosks in shopping malls, grocery stores, auto dealers, DMVs and other locations, the company said.

“In the insurance industry, the national players often forsake a local presence, and the smaller local firms lack the resources to provide a top-notch customer experience,” said Jack Campbell, COO at Direct Auto Insurance. “Direct, on the other hand, is committed to our local communities while developing technology to expand our omnichannel distribution network and continue to offer superior service. By partnering with a number of local retailers to host our DOTS kiosks, we’re growing that service and expanding our local presence. As we roll out DOTS, we’re continuing to draw on technology to create a more seamless and convenient experience for each of our customers.”

For more on the commoditization of auto insurance, see also: “Which Insurer is Leading the Direct Auto Market and Why?

Chris McMahon is a senior editor for Insurance Networking News.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Chris by using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He also can be reached at chris.mcmahon@sourcemedia.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

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