I had interesting time trying to get home and content insurance quotes online. Most of Australia’s major insurance companies and brokers have online applications to provide quotes online. The problem is that of the six I tried, five demanded that I use Internet Explorer. Most required IE 5.0 though one wanted me to upgrade to the latest and greatest Internet Explorer 4.0. In most cases I just went to their online contact form and told then I did not want to be told what operating system or browser to use and requested a quote. Those return emails may make interesting reading.
It would not surprise me, that it was one web development company that created a quote application for one insurance company and then sold the application to other insurance companies, the message stating IE was required was remarkable similar and condescending. It would of been a relatively easy sale, company X and Y are providing online quotes, you need to do it or miss out.
The problem is now you have the great majority of insurance companies fighting for 85% of the market. The 15% of internet users who use an operating system other that windows or a web browser other than internet explorer, and these are the tech savvy and with a higher income than the average internet users are only being served by very few insurance companies. The only one I found was www.australianunity.com.au
I am sure the bean counters behind the sites that require IE would argue that that at the time their site would provide quotes to 95% of all customers. But that was then, now if my sample of insurance companies is roughly right and only one in six insurance companies support browsers other than IE. You have 100% of the insurance companies serving 85% of potential customers and 15% (1 in 6) of the insurance companies serving 15% of potential customers (Mac, Linux, Firefox, Opera, etc users). Which mean companies like australianunity.com.au are probably doing twice the business online that the IE only companies are. It is simple mathematics 85% divided by 6 is %15 share + 15% not tapped by the other companies. Compare to 85% divided by 6, %15 share for the IE only companies.
There is also something called the Disabilities Discrimination Act, which makes it illegal to discriminate against disabled users in Australia. Maguire vs SOCOG anyone?. An insurance companies that requires a visually impaired user who chose a Mac or Linux computer because the screen reading software is free is required to purchase a new operating system, new screen reading software and to pay for somebody to install it (at least $1500) just to use the insurance company’ web site, really needs to assess what will happen if somebody makes a complaint.
Also had a few interesting experiences using various insurance companies sites but that is another post.
Ethical blogging note, I chose to link to one insurance company because they are doing the right thing as far as browser choice goes. They are not my insurance company, yet.