Wal-Mart in deal with insurance site to sell auto policies

Wal-Mart is extending one-stop shopping to  auto insurance, teaming up with  AutoInsurance.com, which allows consumers to comparison shop for auto insurance.

The venture would let shoppers quickly find and buy insurance policies online in real time to cut down costs.

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

Shoppers would need to log on to AutoInsurance.com or access the site through Wal-Mart's website.

AutoInsurance.com, a division of Fort Lee, NJ-based Tranzutary Insurance Solutions LLC, a licensed property and casualty insurance agency, was started after Wal-Mart realised there was an opportunity for quicker service where shoppers could buy and save on car insurance that provided the final price- with no bait and switch tactics.

According to Wal-Mart car insurance was among the biggest monthly expenses for customers, and for some, it could work out to more than health care costs.

According to Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Wal-Mart US, who spoke at a media briefing yesterday, Wal-Mart would be AutoInsurance.com's exclusive retail partner, The Washington Post reported. 

It would receive promotion payments in for its marketer role. AutoInsurance would earn a commission every time a policy is sold.

Six insurance companies, including Progressive, Travelers and Esurance, are participating on the website. While the list has a few big names, some giants in the field are missing including State Farm and Geico, which, the first- and second-largest auto insurance providers in the country, respectively, according to SNL Financial. Walmart said it hopes to offer more insurers in the future.

According to industry experts, while a comparative tool like this could be useful, it was important to cast a broader net because what was being offered was limited.

In association with Tranzutary Insurance Solutions, which bought the AutoInsurance.com domain name in 2012, Walmart started testing two different ways to enter the auto insurance market last year.

In Illinois, Tranzutary tried a single insurer website, while in Pennsylvania, it offered a platform with several insurers listed side by side.