By Rolfe Winkler, January 8, 2015
Google is plotting a move into auto insurance in the U.S., including a comparison-shopping site from which users would also be able to buy policies, an industry analyst says.
Forrester Research FORR +0.14% analyst Ellen Carney wrote in a blog post Wednesday that an entity called Google Compare Auto Insurance Services is licensed to sell insurance in 26 states and is authorized to sell policies in at least one state on behalf of six insurers, including MetLife MET +0.38%, Mercury and Viking Insurance of Wisconsin.
Moreover, a Google executive recently won authorization to sell insurance through Google Compare as well as through San Francisco auto-insurance comparison site CoverHound, suggesting the two companies are working together.
Google already provides auto- and travel-insurance quotes in the U.K., as well as mortgage quotes, and even credit cards.
The moves suggest the search giant wants to offer similar services in the U.S., potentially displacing existing middlemen, as it has done in shopping and travel. Google provides its own product-search tools on the Google Shopping website, and increasingly offers specialized flight and hotel booking tools.