Walmart Brings One-Stop Shopping to Car Insurance

Walmart Auto Insurance
walmart.com/AP
By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO

NEW YORK -- Walmart (WMT) is bringing one-stop shopping to another area: auto insurance.

The world's largest retailer has teamed up with AutoInsurance.com to let shoppers quickly find and buy insurance policies online in real time to cut down costs.

The service is available immediately in eight states -- Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. It will be available nationwide in the next few months.

Shoppers can go to autoinsurance.com or access the site through Walmart's website at www.walmart.com/autoinsurance.

AutoInsurance.com, a division of Fort Lee, N.J.-based Tranzutary Insurance Solutions, a licensed property and casualty insurance agency, was created after Walmart realized there was an opportunity for a quicker service where shoppers can buy and save on car insurance that provides the final price -- with no bait and switch tactics. Walmart says car insurance is among the biggest monthly expenses for customers, and for some, it can outpace health care costs.

In a Tuesday briefing with the media, Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Walmart U.S., said the Bentonville, Ark.-based discounter will be AutoInsurance.com's exclusive retail partner and receive promotion payments in its role as marketer. AutoInsurance.com will earn a commission every time a policy is sold.

"Our customers too often have to settle for auto insurance policies that aren't the best fit and cost more than they want to spend," Eckert said.

The strategy marks Walmart's latest flirtation with insurance marketing and also highlights how the retailer is trying to use its size to expand beyond food and other staples into a one-stop shopping destination as it seeks to bring in more shoppers to its site and its stores. Walmart plans to promote the insurance shopping service in its stores.

Last month, Walmart introduced a new money transfer service that it says will cut fees for its low-income customers by up to 50 percent compared with similar services elsewhere. That service is being rolled out in partnership with Ria Money Transfer, a subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide (EEFT).

Joshua Kazam, founder of AutoInsurance.com and the founder and chairman of Tranzutary, noted that 90 percent of people compare prices online for products and services like airline tickets, but its survey shows that only one in five comparison-shop for auto insurance because it's a complicated process.

Walmart has had a relationship with Kazam, an entrepreneur, and his partners that dates back several years. For example, in 2009 Kazam and his team partnered with Walmart to bring PetArmor, a generic version of a popular flea and tick preventative treatment, to Walmart customers. Kazam founded Velcera, which created the PetArmor brand and was acquired last year by Perrigo (PRGO). But recently, Walmart has been working with Kazam in improving the experience related to insurance products.

In 2012, Walmart tested a program with Tranzutary to sell prepaid MetLife (MET) insurance policies in 217 stores in Georgia and South Carolina. Then last April, it launched a test program in Pennsylvania where customers who purchased policies from AutoInsurance.com reported annual savings on their insurance of $1,168, on average. At the same time, it displayed kiosks in Illinois where shoppers could pick up a saving card that offered a discount on a new auto insurance policy sold through Esurance.

Walmart decided that focusing on a price comparison service was the way to go.

It works this way: customers log on to the site and provide their name, address, date of birth and contact information. They can also have the site retrieve their current auto insurance policy, allowing AutoInsurance.com to automatically fill in the necessary coverage information for an apples-to-apples comparison. The free service offers customers multiple quotes from some of the leading national insurance carriers like Esurance, Safeco, and Progressive (PGR) within minutes.

Customers can choose to either purchase the policy online immediately, speak with a licensed agent at 800-700-7500 or save the information and purchase later.


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32 Comments

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Ssengel69

You guys must work at the store LMAO

May 01 2014 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James Zucco

WELL THERE IS NO DOUBT WALMART COULD DO INSURANCE BETTER THAN THE OBAMA HEALTHCARE WEB SITE!!!

May 01 2014 at 1:05 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sworth5487

Walmart has no business selling any kind of insurance when it doesn't provide decent wages and insurance to its employees.

May 01 2014 at 12:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hubbs

i worked for wal mart for 10 years , and if this insurance thing is anything like the insurance they offer their associates its gonna suck big time . i i know its auto insurance ...however they have to have a ton of people sign up up for it for it to work at a low cost . and the one poster who said if wal mart ever offers health insurance ...stay away from that for as i said their health insurance sucks . now their dental and life insurance they offer their associates is kinda okay .

April 30 2014 at 7:12 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
jdmcg1

I really don't get this one. The insurance agency in Fort Lee NJ that Walmart is using has annual revenues of 210,000 and 3 employees. Huh? Now, this is a growth opportunity for whoever these dudes are!

April 30 2014 at 6:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dudeingilbert

If NOBODY knows ALl of these companies on this site base a HUGE part of the price on your CREDIT. No exceptions, your CREDIT is more heavily weighted than your drivving record. These companies dont want you if you have no prior insurance and bad credit. This wont work. I am an insurance agent, this is a FACT !

April 30 2014 at 4:15 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dudeingilbert's comment
pllove49

Credit shemedit...people with bad credit/no credit have more and better credit than people with good credit...figure that one...

April 30 2014 at 4:23 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
jcajunque

Walmart is the shopping center for the poor. People who cannot manage a bank account use Walmart for their banking transaction. they pay bills and buy pre-paid banking cards to do their business. Tehy pay high fees to process their checks, government paymetns and so forth. Most of them have trouble managing money because they had no examples of it in their younger days. They repeat the same mistakes that have been made for generations and Walmart is smart enough to take advantage of it.

April 30 2014 at 3:05 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
pllove49

Well....the insurance companies must not be too afraid....how many of their customers have they called with good news that their insurance is going to go down...

April 30 2014 at 2:28 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
SHOOTER!

Here's thu facts: I have been driving something for sixty years. As a retired air force pilot, I was licensed to fly anything. As a retired state trooper, I drove a lot... fast. And then I drove a cab for fifteen years. That's pushing four million miles... with no accidents. But now I am really retired and I drive maybe 25 or 30 miles a week. And still I have to pay seventy bucks a month for basic liability insurance. WallyWorld, here I come!

April 30 2014 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
oakspondman

Lets see how the big ins. companies try to stop this. They all make billions of dollars every year.If they have big losses, they just raise everyones rates.
Plenty of price fixing going on in the industry.

April 30 2014 at 1:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply