NEW YORK — Wal-Mart is bringing one-stop shopping to another area: auto insurance.
The world’s largest retailer has teamed up with AutoInsurance.com to let shoppers quickly find and buy insurance policies online in real time to cut down costs.
The service is available immediately in eight states — Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. It will be available nationwide in the next few months.
Shoppers can log on to AutoInsurance.com or access the site through Wal-Mart’s website at www.Walmart.com/autoinsurance .
AutoInsurance.com, a division of Fort Lee, N.J.-based Tranzutary Insurance Solutions LLC, a licensed property and casualty insurance agency, was created after Wal-Mart realized there was an opportunity for a quicker service where shoppers can buy and save on car insurance that provides the final price— with no bait and switch tactics. Wal-Mart says car insurance is among the biggest monthly expenses for customers, and for some, it can outpace health care costs.
In a briefing with the media on Tuesday, Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Wal-Mart U.S., said the Bentonville, Ark.-based discounter will be AutoInsurance.com’s exclusive retail partner and receive promotion payments in its role as marketer. AutoInsurance will earn a commission every time a policy is sold.
“Our customers too often have to settle for auto insurance policies that aren’t the best fit and cost more than they want to spend,” Eckert said.
The strategy marks Wal-Mart’s latest flirtation with insurance marketing and also highlights how the retailer is trying to use its size to expand beyond food and other staples into a one-stop shopping destination as it seeks to bring in more shoppers to its site and its stores. Wal-Mart plans to promote the insurance shopping service in its stores.
Last month, Wal-Mart introduced a new money transfer service that it says will cut fees for its low-income customers by up to 50 percent compared with similar services elsewhere. That service is being rolled out in partnership with Ria Money Transfer, a subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide Inc.