||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (May 2014)|
"Insurance for the Modern World"
|Key people||Gary Tolman, President and CEO|
|Revenue||$1.028 Billion USD (2012)|
Esurance Insurance Services, Inc. is an American auto insurance provider. The company, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Allstate, sells car insurance direct to consumers online and over the phone offering services to nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population in 40 states. Its primary competitors are other direct personal auto writers such as GEICO and Progressive. Esurance has 849,000 policies-in-force, and also serves as a shopping and comparison site for car insurance in the 10 remaining states that it does not sell. Esurance has more than 2,500 employees in 16 offices nationwide.
Esurance was incorporated in June 1998 as Silicon Sierra, Inc. The company was cofounded by Jean-Bernard Duler, Jeffrey Goodman, Huyen Bui, David Griffin, and Charles Wallace. Its first round of $5.5 million in venture funding was led by Trinity Ventures and Palo Alto Ventures in May 1999 with a second round of funding of $34 million in October 1999 led by Redpoint Ventures and Global Retail Ventures.
Esurance launched its website and started writing personal auto insurance in four states in December 1999, and was one of the early pioneers of online auto insurance. The company website was also one of the first to offer comparison quotes that allowed consumers to compare prices with other leading insurance companies.
In 2004, Esurance was one of the first car insurance companies to offer discounts to same-sex partners. The company continues to support LGBT issues through a variety of corporate sponsorships and events, such as the Trevor Project. The company has also sponsored a number of sporting events and teams, including the US Open tennis tournament, the Golden State Warriors, and the Pac-12 Conference. Esurance also partners with auto glass claims service provider HSG on a “Save a Windshield, Plant a Tree” program that pledges to plant a tree for every Esurance customer who chooses to have their windshield repaired instead of replaced.
In May, 2011, Allstate announced that it had reached a definitive agreement with White Mountains Insurance Group to purchase Esurance and Answer Financial for approximately $1 billion. Allstate's acquisition of Esurance was completed on October 7, 2011. The company's headquarters will remain in San Francisco, CA.
In November 2013, Esurance pioneered online homeowners insurance purchasing by offering their own product in Wisconsin. “Today, only 2 to 3 percent of U.S. homeowners insurance is purchased online,” said Esurance President and CEO Gary Tolman in a press release. “Much like the way Esurance pioneered car insurance online, making it quick and easy to quote and buy, we’ll change how consumers shop for and buy homeowners insurance.” Esurance’s online tool automatically works with property specialists to estimate reconstruction costs related to an individual home’s characteristics as well as the current cost of labor and materials in the homeowner’s neighborhood. Coverage includes the standard homeowners policies of structure protection, personal property protection, family liability protection, water backup coverage and additional living expenses, along with customizable options such as “eco” upgrades to Energy Star rated appliances and electronic data loss recovery. The program offers 12 types of premium discounts for those who provide their own appraisal/inspection report, or for customers who bundle their auto and homeowners policies. According to Steve Lekas, Esurance’s director of Homeowner Product and Actuarial Management, a lack of consistency between carriers catering to a variety of customer needs made it impossible to define homeowners risk efficiently enough without an agent’s help. However, “Consumers are becoming more and more familiar and comfortable shopping and buying online, and it is becoming something that people expect,” Lekas told PC360. “With these changes, the next step is for an insurance company, who really understands how to best help consumers shop and buy insurance online, to build that capability.” Esurance underwrites its own homeowners policies, as it does with auto insurance—the insurer chose to debut the program in Wisconsin because the state domiciles one of its underwriting companies, says Lenkas.
Esurance markets itself as being more environmentally friendly than competitors. The company often cited documents being available online in early company advertising. Esurance has partnered with sports teams for "Go Green" events by giving away reusable grocery bags. About 45% of the company's data is stored on outsourced servers in a LEED certified building.
Early Esurance commercials were animated featuring a pink-haired female spy named Erin Esurance, who posed as an auto-insurance agent. The goal was to juxtapose a widely disliked business, insurance, with a popular superhero archetype. In her first three years, the character was used in over 30 commercials. The character was also used on an episode of Who Wants to be a Superhero?. Esurance stopped prominently using the character in its advertising in June 2010 because the character was unpopular in surveys compared to the average for other corporate mascots such as Microsoft's Clippy, with the exception of her top score in the "sexiness" category. Despite the unpopularity, in an example of Rule 34, pornographic fan art of the character—"some with a remarkable degree of verisimilitude to the real thing", according to CBS News—appeared frequently in results for Internet searches of "Erin Esurance", also likely contributing to the decision. The company rebranded itself, unveiling a new national advertising campaign as well as a new company logo. The ads were set in a faux Esurance office and feature a cast of characters, known as Techies & Feelies.
In December 2011 Esurance announced a new integrated advertising campaign that positioned the company as "Insurance for the Modern World". John Krasinski narrates the commercials, which were directed by Omri Cohen and feature the Grammy Award winning song, “Jam Man,” from Country Music Hall of Fame guitarist Chet Atkins. The campaign is the first collaboration between Esurance and ad agency Leo Burnett Worldwide. As of 2014, the campaign continues, specifically targeting users of an unnamed company that offers insurance quotes in fifteen minutes; various "out of touch" users of said company are featured in short mock interviews, with the upshot at the end noting that Esurance offers insurance in 7½ minutes, half the time as their competitor.
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