Google Compare, a website started last year to help consumers shop for car insurance and other financial products, will shut down by the end of March.
The search engine giant initially offered the site to consumers in its home state of California in early 2015. More states were eventually added.
In car insurance, Google Compare provides quotes from insurers including Liberty Mutual, First Chicago Insurance, MetLife, Elephant Auto Insurance, General Insurance, Freedom National, Titan Insurance and Safe Auto.
Some of the biggest carriers, including State Farm, Geico, Allstate and Progressive, haven’t participated.
Google Compare, which has been free to use, receives commissions and fees from participating carriers.
In an email to its partners, Google Compare said that beginning Feb. 23 it would start “ramping down” the site. It will be completely inoperable as of March 23.
“Despite people turning to Google for financial services information, the Google Compare service itself hasn’t driven the success we hoped for,” Google Compare said in the email, which was posted on SearchEngineLand.com.
Google Compare said focusing on “future innovations will enable us to provide fresh, comprehensive answers to Google users, and to provide our financial services partners with the best return on investment.”
Michael Rosenstein, president of First Chicago, said his company gets most of its business from agents and brokers, but he understands the value of having an online presence. Still, Google Compare provided “marginal results” for First Chicago, he said.
Allstate also has a car insurance aggregation website, Answer Financial. It provides quotes from about 30 companies, including Progressive, Farmers and MetLife.
Shortly after Google Compare was introduced, Allstate Chief Executive Tom Wilson downplayed the risks to his company.
“They have been talking about doing that for some time,” Wilson said in February 2015 of Google. “We’re in the marketplace, and it’s not as big a market as you would see in the U.K. and other places” for a variety of reasons. “But I would say we’re there and active.”
In 2015, Answer generated $581 million in premiums for other insurers, according to Allstate’s recently published annual report.
Updated Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 5:26 pm