Friday, 20 August 2010 16:02

Insurance web sites judged and found wanting


Gomez has turned its attention to the Australian insurance industry and found web performance lacking.

Compuware's Gomez web performance operation reports publicly on a variety of industry sectors. In Australia, it has been limited to banking but the company now has the insurance industry in its sights.

The first benchmark survey for that sector found only a quarter of the 28 sites tested achieved a response time rating of less than two seconds. They were Comminsure, AIG Life, Aviva, Zurich, ING, QBE, and Perpetual.

Well-known brands with below-average performance included GIO (3.403 sec), Allianz (3.809), AMP (4.073), Shannons (4.091) and AXA (6.994). Last place was taken by MetLife with a depressingly slow time of 12.065 seconds.

These times are the average of 48 attempts per day to open the home page, not for more complicated activities such as obtaining a quotation.

Availability was also an issue for the industry. While a dozen companies managed 100% availability (Comminsure, Aviva, ING, Suncorp, InsureMyRide, BudgetDirect, NRMA, SGIC, AAMI, SGIO, GIO and Deutsche Bank), five couldn't even reach 99% (Tower, 98.91; AMP, 98.37; MLC, 98/23; AXA, 97.83; and AIG Life, 97.29).

Consistency was also a problem - see page 2.

There was also significant variation between companies when it came to consistency. AIG Life performed well again (0.276 sec), suggesting its site works well when it does work. Comminsure ranked second on this measure (0.378), and must therefore be regarded as the best performing on the Gomez tests.

"Compuware's inaugural benchmark shows that most Australian insurers need to lift their web performance game," said Rafi Katanasho, Compuware's solutions director for application performance management.

"Insurance purchasing decisions are increasingly made online, and many insurers encourage customers to visit their home pages. But if it takes more than two seconds to get an online response, customers get frustrated, and that's just going to encourage them to look elsewhere," he explained.

"Online customers now expect 100 percent availability, and anything less means a negative experience for hundreds if not thousands of customers and a potential loss in revenue," said Mr Katanasho. "The home pages of insurers with above average response time ratings but below average consistency ratings also have the potential to frustrate customers."


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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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