Every year, the field of insurtech startups offering online quote comparisons gets more and more crowded. While most are nearly indistinguishable from one another (ten points to whoever knows the difference between Quoteble, Quotewizard and Quotelab), Policygenius has stood out since its launch in 2014 for its range of services, sophisticated website and impressive fundraising ability.

However, a newcomer with its own substantial January fundraising haul has emerged to challenge Policygenius’s throne. Insurify claims to use AI to find the best rates for customers and boasts an expanding range of offerings, including auto, home and life insurance quote comparisons. Contrasting these two quote comparison sites reveals some important trends in digital life insurance purchasing—such as the emphasis on a less invasive and faster process—and sheds light on the features life insurance customers value most.

Policygenius homepagePolicygenius Homepage (Top, Truncated) and Insurify Homepage (Bottom, Truncated)

Since applying for insurance can be involved and require answering sensitive personal health questions, insurers clearly benefit from offering an expedited process that asks for minimal personal information. Among the firms in our Life Insurance Monitor coverage group, we have already seen 11 introduce expedited applications that eliminate medical exams. While quote comparison websites like Policygenius and Insurify do not underwrite policies, they help customers make decisions about cost and direct them to firms that can offer underwriting. Thus, their websites can model good design for websites, or even insurers, aiming to provide quotes quickly and easily.

While Policygenius uses a combination of algorithmic and human-powered research, Insurify touts the power of its AI to compare quotes. The company promotes its RateRank algorithm on its About page, and most writeups of its services mention AI, though nowhere does the company clarify how the RateRank algorithm works or how AI sets Insurify’s capabilities apart from its competitors’. Still, regardless of how its technology works, Insurify offers quote comparisons for an expanding range of products. The company focused exclusively on auto quotes when it launched in 2015, but it expanded to home and life quote comparisons in 2019, beginning to challenge Policygenius’s array of offerings.

Compared to Policygenius—and certainly to life insurance firms—Insurify asks strikingly few questions of quote-seekers. Users input their gender, age, height, weight and smoker status, and then they rate their health from excellent to fair. If they elect to provide additional information, they can input details about their blood pressure and medical history before moving on to specify a term length and coverage amount before getting a quote. Users must then create a profile and enter a name, phone number and email to receive their quotes. They can switch to phone or chat at any time to complete the process if they decide they would rather speak to a customer service representative.

Insurify Life Insurance Comparison JourneyInsurify Life Insurance Comparison Journey – Stage One

Policygenius’s process for obtaining life insurance quotes is notably more involved. Users must enter their gender, age, zip code, citizenship and marital status, followed by their height and weight and whether they have used tobacco products in the last five years. They must use checkboxes to indicate whether they have been treated for any of a number of health conditions and state if they have a family history of certain diseases, have had their license suspended, or have had a ticket or accident within the past five years.  They must then answer further questions about their medical history before selecting a coverage amount and term. Even after they provide all this information, a lightbox appears encouraging them to speak to a representative in order to get more accurate quotes.

The site offers few quotes based only on the information entered online; for more detailed quotes, users must speak to a representative. On the final quote page, regardless of the user’s marital status, a tab appears offering to compare quotes for a spouse.

Policygenius Life Insurance Quote JourneyPolicygenius Life Insurance Quote Journey – Stage One (Truncated)

Though Insurify’s service is faster (maybe that’s what the AI is for?), Policygenius offers quote comparisons on substantially more types of insurance—14 in total. In addition to life, these include disability, health, renters and even jewelry insurance.

The two insurers’ sites distinguish themselves in other ways as well. While both offer dedicated site sections for educational and promotional resources, Insurify refers to its section as a Blog, while Policygenius offers an online Magazine with sections for customer reviews, news items, interviews and a monthly newsletter. Insurify also offers Evia, a feature whose name stands for Expert Virtual Insurance Agent. The capability allows users to search for car insurance by texting in a photo of their license plate.

Ultimately, the key difference between the two companies’ offerings lies in the digital experience. Insurify stands out by offering a simple, direct life application that helps users get quotes as quickly as possible. Policygenius, on the other hand, provides more personally tailored quotes, but for a wider selection of insurance types. Competitors in the space must balance both these competing priorities—personalization and simplicity—while designing their online application processes.

Notably, the similarities between Insurify’s and Policygenius’s sites are also telling. Both try to minimize the data they ask users for overall but maximize the amount they can collect online without having to make users contact the firm. As more firms invest in accelerated underwriting capabilities, they could learn from these companies’ strategies in this area.

Given the hundreds of millions of dollars raining down on insurtechs like Policygenius and Insurify, consumers are clearly hungry for quick, convenient channels to obtain insurance, and the industry is looking to startups to provide solutions. Coronavirus has made the necessity of fast, painless online quote comparisons even clearer, with searches for “life insurance coronavirus” up 400% since March 1. Policygenius has already responded with a new public site page that gives guidance on purchasing life insurance during a pandemic, while Insurify has added an interactive map to its Insights section tracking the spread of the virus.

Whether Policygenius, Insurify or another nascent company wins out in the quote comparison wars, on-demand digital quote comparison should remain in high demand for the foreseeable future.

Policygenius New Public Site Does Life Insurance Cover Coronavirus PagePolicygenius New Public Site Does Life Insurance Cover Coronavirus Page