Sun Direct to gauge benefits of selling insurance over Net

Sun Direct Insurance is keen to sell insurance on the Internet, but it won't happen until it has evaluated the first stage of its move. The company, which was the first in New Zealand to operate solely over the telephone, sees a move on to the Internet as the natural extension of its business. It plans to launch its site in the last week of September.

Sun Direct Insurance is keen to sell insurance on the Internet, but it won’t happen until it has evaluated the first stage of its move.

The company, which was the first in New Zealand to operate solely over the telephone, sees a move on to the Internet as the natural extension of its business. It plans to launch its site in the last week of September.

Manager Andrew Diver says that during the first stage of the project, people will be able to use the site to obtain premium quotations instantly — just as they use mortgage calculators at some bank sites. If they then want insurance they can telephone Sun Direct.

“Depending on how things go, we would then like to develop it further, into people being able to complete the insurance transaction over the Net, and be emailed their policy documentation. But that’s very much stage two. It will depend on how many hits we get and how quickly it delivers as a buying medium.”

He says selling insurance over the Internet raises many issues, including security.

Although he expects a certain element of “tyre-kicking”, he believes people visiting the site will be genuine.

He says Sun Direct is always looking for new selling channels. He says that overseas, kiosks are starting to become even more popular. “I suppose once we get the Net sorted out, is that the next direction to look at? That may be next, but you never know what’s out there.”

Diver says that when Sun Direct began, it targeted 22-to 55-year olds. He is unsure what demographics to expect from the Net, as he believes there are some misconceptions about what type of people use it.

He says setting up an Internet site is much cheaper than making a television commercial.

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