Featured Startup Pitch: InsuranceLibrary.com wants to make researching and buying insurance a less complicated and confusing proposition for consumers

By Editor May 1, 2013
InsuranceLibrary logo

InsuranceLibrary logoCompany: InsuranceLibrary.com

Website: www.insurancelibrary.com

Founder: Justin Blase, Sam Melamed

Headquarters: St. Paul, Minnesota

Year Founded: 2013

Investors: Bootstrapped

Twitter: @insurlib

Facebook: facebook.com/pages/InsuranceLibrarycom/179524768839546

Google+: plus.google.com/118011387895748081248

Company Overview: InsuranceLibrary.com is the web’s only insurance question and answer website populated solely by licensed insurance agents with the purpose of answering insurance questions and connecting consumers with experts.

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Justin Blase, InsuranceLibraryBy Justin Blase, InsuranceLibrary.com founder

Product Overview

InsuranceLibrary.com is the web’s only insurance question and answer website populated solely by licensed insurance agents. The goal of the site is to provide high quality answers to all of the most commonly asked insurance questions and connect consumers with experts in their specific insurance niche.

Consumers are able to search through thousands of answered questions in the knowledge base or ask their own question to the community of insurance experts.

The site verifies all contributors upon registration to ensure only licensed insurance agents are able to answer questions. This ensures that consumers are receiving accurate information from an expert on this complex topic of insurance. Consumers are not required to create an account to ask questions or browse the knowledge base.

The website is completely free for consumers and insurance agents. In addition to serving as a valuable consumer resource, participating insurance agents are able to benefit from the online exposure in a variety of ways, such as free lead generation opportunities and search engine optimization benefits.

Founder’s Story

I was born and raised in South Dakota and have been creating websites since the first dial up Internet connection was available in rural South Dakota in my early high school years. I built my first website on Geocities in 1996 and from that point on, web development and online audience development became a passion of mine.

My professional experience includes several years of inbound marketing consulting and product development. I have also been building and selling websites for the past few years. Throughout the process of developing, monetizing and selling, I have learned many lessons in regards to successfully identifying online audience opportunities and effectively building an online solution to meet their needs.

Over the years, the most valuable lesson I have learned is that partnering with the right people makes all the difference.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Since the launch of InsuranceLibrary.com in early April, our greatest focus has been on improving the usability of the site and growing our base of insurance agent contributors. Sam Melamed, the co-founder, owns the largest online insurance agent forum and the largest insurance agent LinkedIn group—this provides us access to a very large number of experts in the insurance field. A lot of our focus has been placed on building out additional website features to maximize the value realized by contributing insurance agents to help expand the contributor base around the United States.

Though still in its infancy, InsuranceLibrary.com is off to a very strong start. In less than four weeks since its public launch, the site has already amassed over 1,600 unique expert answers provided by more than 150 licensed insurance agents. Website traffic performance has also exceeded expectations by receiving over 30,000 page views in less than 30 days.

In addition to these strong metrics, we are also excited to report that we have received great feedback from consumers that have been helped by the website, and we have also already seen our first leads generated for agents from their personal contact forms.

Market Opportunity

We primarily serve two markets: consumers in need of insurance information and insurance agents in need of additional online exposure.

From a consumer standpoint, our market opportunity exceeds 100 million. With federal laws mandating auto insurance for all drivers and the introduction of health care reform, the majority of Americans over 18 will need some type of insurance coverage whether they like it or not. Due to the complex nature of insurance in general, this generates a great deal of demand for an insurance knowledge base and professional community of experts to answer insurance questions.

From the insurance agent standpoint, our market opportunity exceeds 400,000 insurance agents. As more and more consumers turn to the web for their insurance needs, agents have realized that they need to be well positioned on the Internet in order to connect with prospective clients and generate new business.

InsuranceLibrary.com caters to both of these opportunities by providing an easy-to-use platform for consumers to have their insurance questions answered, and by allowing insurance agents to answer these questions along with providing their contact information and promoting their personal web properties. This allows insurance agents to establish and enhance their online reputations as experts in their fields, and it also qualifies them individually for consumer contacts.

How We Differentiate From the Competition

The primary competitors in our space are sites like Yahoo! Answers and Answers.com. While these sites have millions of pages of content and are backed by large companies, they don’t do a great job of providing accurate answers to insurance questions.

Due to the complex nature of insurance, it can be hard for consumers to find trustworthy information on other Q&A websites. With all other Q&A websites, there is nothing in place to stop a random 12-year-old from answering a question related to insurance. This can be quite dangerous for a consumer that relies on the web for this type of information.

InsuranceLibrary.com is able to differentiate by verifying all online contributors via their National Producers Number—this ensures that only actively licensed insurance agents are able to provide answers to questions. Additionally, multiple insurance agents are able to answer questions and flag any answer that may be incomplete or inaccurate. Between the agent verification and the community’s focus on answer quality, website visitors can be comfortable knowing they are receiving accurate information from an actively-licensed professional with domain expertise.

Business Model

Currently our main priority is optimizing our platform for both consumers and insurance agents. We plan to introduce monetization to the site at some point down the road via display advertising, partnerships and other opportunities. At this point, our focus remains on ensuring we are providing the best experience possible to our consumer visitors and insurance agent contributors.

Current Needs

We are not currently seeking financing or employees, but we are always on the lookout for business partners that can help us grow our consumer and professional audiences.

InsuranceLibrary.com – www.insurancelibrary.com