Progressive has attained top-tier status in the insurance industry by focusing on innovation. Progressive was the first company to offer drive-in claims services, installment payment of premiums, and 24/7 customer service. But some of Progressive's most innovative moves involve its channels of distribution. Whereas most insurance companies distribute their products to consumers via intermediary agents or direct-to-consumer methods, Progressive was one of the first companies to recognize the value in doing both. In the late 1980s, it augmented its agency distribution with a direct toll-free-number channel.
In 1995, Progressive moved into the future by becoming the first major insurer in the world to launch a Web site. In 1997, customers could buy auto insurance policies online in real time.
Today, at Progressive's Web site, customers can do everything from managing their own account information to reporting claims directly. Progressive even offers one-stop concierge claim service.
After viewing the Progressive video, answer the following questions about marketing channels:
1. Apply the concept of the supply chain to Progressive.
2. Using the model of consumer and business channels found in the chapter, sketch out as many channels for Progressive as you can. How does each of these channels meet distinct customer needs?
3. Discuss the various ways that Progressive has had an impact on the insurance industry.
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