Last week Insurance-Edge received an interesting press release from Global Data, which highlighted the advantages Amazon has in launching a range of insurance products, in the USA, Europe and elsewhere.
According to a Global Data survey 18 percent of consumers said they would buy home or motor insurance from Amazon. Patricia Davies from the data monitoring company added that Amazon has a `positive reputation and a level of trust.’
There are other signs that the online giant is keen to take a slice of the insurance market in the UK – and indeed across the EU. Last Friday Reuters reported that Amazon were placing job ads, hinting that they were `expanding their palette of insurance services in the future.’
Amazon has also completed a pilot project selling Fiat 500 cars direct to the public, testing out local distributor and supply chains in Italy, as the Daily Mail reported back in summer 2017. That could indicated that Amazon sees potential in selling lease car packages, including insurance, aimed at younger customers.
But there is an undeniable truth of online retail to consider;
When most of us buy on Amazon, we are buying a specific brand, or product, and Amazon DELIVER that product to us. Consumers may well want the security of knowing that any insurance policy is ultimately underwritten by a UK registered insurer. Then again, they may not care, so long as they can insure their car for £50 a year less.
The reality of Amazon’s insurance operation may prove to be similar to the M&S Finance/HSBC deal, where a range of financial services is sold by Marks and Spencer, but in the end, customers are getting loans, credit cards from HSBC, or their energy from say SSE.
The bottom line for many consumers will be this; who am I dealing with if I make a claim on an Amazon insurance policy? Where is that call centre located, who employs the staff, which company assess my damaged vehicle, or deal with my medical treatment and rehab. And ultimately, who pays out on that claim? All strong questions which will need equally convincing answers from the global retail giant.
Insurance isn’t a Harry Potter book, or a pair of Jimmy Choos. It’s complicated, and sadly it sometimes IS a matter of life and death. Without 100 percent sound legal back-stops, local government guarantees on policyholder cash – and data regulation – in each EU territory, Amazon’s insurance services may struggle to meet extremely high customer expectations of slick delivery, 24/7 responses via social media and perfect fulfilment.