I have written several posts about the state of life insurance websites today, specifically in regard to the personal data required by many sites and what happens to that data. If you Google “life insurance quotes, you will come up with page upon page of companies offering “Free Quotes,” “Up to 70% Savings, “Lowest Prices on the Internet,” etc. (Disclaimer – it is the insurance companies that set the prices and that price will be the same no matter what agency you purchase from)
First of all, I have to say that shopping for life insurance on the Internet has become the online equivalent of an outside market in many countries – vendors shouting loudly to anyone who appears to have a few dollars (or the equivalent local currency) that their product is the best, least expensive, etc. Of course quotes are free – why would anybody pay for quotes, you ask? Well, you aren’t paying for them with money, but you may very well be paying with your privacy.
Many of the life insurance websites you see online are what we call lead-generation companies. They collect your personal information and sell that information to life insurance agents/brokers for $15-$40, depending on how many agents purchase the information. The more agents that buy your information, the less expensive the “lead” is. In some cases, up to 8 agents/brokers purchase your information. Is that what you wanted to happen when you were looking for life insurance quotes? My guess is, probably not.
But wait, it gets worse. If you are concerned about your privacy, there’s a new scheme I recently heard about that will give you further reason to be concerned. In the example above, let’s say that 8 brokers purchased your information. I found out that some of these lead purchasers are now selling your information to other brokers looking for leads, at a slight mark-up. It has become a profitable business for some who purchase large quantities of leads, because they get a discount for volume purchase. Maybe they paid $10 for the lead that would normally cost $15. Now they turn around and sell it 6-8 times for $15 each and walk away with a tidy profit. If you do the math, you will see that your information is now in many more hands than you would like.
My intention is not to make you so scared that you never go to another life insurance website again. That would be self-defeating, because, as an online life insurance brokerage, we also offer quotes and offer an easy way to apply for a policy. My intention is to get you to really take a good look at the sites you visit before you attempt to get quotes.
Here is my advice for shopping online for life insurance:
I have to say that there are some fine companies out there who do a great job selling life insurance through the Internet. However, most of them also collect your contact information before they will give you a quote. While they may not sell your information to others, they will use your information to re-market to you through email and phone calls, until they either make the sale or you click the “Remove” button on the email.
I believe there are only a handful of companies that offer quotes without collecting your name, address, email address and phone number. Since the day we opened for business on the Internet, LifeInsure.com has allowed thousands of visitors to come to our website and get their quotes anonymously. We only require information when a life insurance application is requested. And, we have never sold or given that information to another person or company (other than the insurance company the person was applying with). We are quite proud of that record.