The User Experience: Buying Condo Insurance in Manitoba

Your brokerage may offer an amazing digital experience, but are you creating an amazing user experience (UX) for your client?

It’s one thing to have mobile-optimized websites, online quoting, eSignatures and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, but digital investment alone does not guarantee a fantastic UX.

How does your UX stand up to the competition? Testing it is one way to find out – or you could have someone test it for you. With this in mind, I became a ‘secret shopper’ for a day, testing and comparing different experiences of searching for condo insurance in Manitoba.

Below, I document my digital interactions with three brokerages I Googled under the search term “Manitoba condo insurance.”

  Brokerage 1 Brokreage 2 Brokerage 3

Prominent placement on Google

Prominent contact information

Prominent call to action


Fast online quote


Delivered on most promises

Clean design

Easy navigation

Opportunities for Improvement

Difficult mobile navigation

No online quote

Failed to deliver on promised level of service

Unsatisfactory follow-up email

Asked for same info twice

Lengthy quote form


Counterintuitive/difficult quoting questions

Failed to deliver on promised level of service

Brokerage 1 and Usability

Brokerage 1 enjoyed an immense advantage over its competitors, ranking highly in a Google search. The brokerage’s email address and phone number appear front and center when viewing the site on both mobile and desktop.

Unfortunately, when I viewed the desktop version, the call to action to obtain a quote kept blinking in and out of view. On a mobile device, there was no call to action at all – just a slogan and a picture of the brokerage office.

Even though the website is optimized for mobile devices, it is not friendly to the mobile user. I had to find and open the menu, click into individual pages, and scroll to the bottom to find out how to obtain a quote. In other words, I had to do a lot of work.

Finally, the absence of an online quote engine or form was frustrating. This is important, because users in all age groups will seek an online quote – including nearly 60% of those aged 25-34.

How many of those users will abandon a website upon discovering they cannot obtain a price on their own?

SEO isn’t everything. You generate a lot of traffic through high Google hits, but a poor UX can just as quickly redirect that traffic elsewhere.

Sidebar: Google Traffic

+50% of traffic goes to the top 3 organic (non-paid) results

+90% of traffic goes to the first page or results

Brokerage 2 and attention to detail

Brokerage 2 provided a very good experience overall. The website displayed well on both desktop and mobile, with a prominent call to action. The service promise set clear expectations, the quoting process was fast, and a progress meter showed me how much farther I had to go.

Furthermore, a service representative got back to me in the time frame promised, and in the manner in which I
requested (email).

Brokerage 2 could improve its UX with a more consistent use of language and standards, eliminating issues such as:

Inconsistency Impact
Online quote asked the same question twice Users wonder if they understood the question, or become frustrated at double-entry
Several quotes promised, only one provided Users unsure if they missed something
Thank-you page provides specific time frame for broker response, but automated confirmation email simply says “soon” Users uncertain if timeline is firm
Brokerage address in automated email is incorrect, with placeholder information such as “” and “456 Street-name Users question validity, professionalism and reliability of business

Brokerage 3 and overcomplication

Brokerage 3’s website displayed useful information on both mobile and desktop. Unfortunately, the “Click here for a quote” call to action on mobile required me to scroll to see it.

Online quoting was through a web form, not a quoting engine. While not ideal, it is valuable to allow consumers to submit their information whenever is convenient for them. But the UX of the form left much to be desired – dozens of fields on a single page, and no progress meter. Many of the required questions were confusing or impossible to answer, including:

  • Home telephone number (many consumers use only mobile phones)
  • Type of roof shingles (irrelevant to condo insurance)
  • Years with current broker (presumes users are with a broker currently).

“Forms without progress bars often have higher abandonment rates, so providing some type of indicator is important for increasing conversions.”

By re-phrasing certain questions and carefully considering which questions are truly required, this brokerage could make its application form simpler and more intuitive for consumers.

At no point did this brokerage ask for my contact preference (telephone or email), but it did promise a response within one business day. As of this writing (two weeks later), I have yet to receive a response.

The takeaways

Manitoba brokerages clearly understand the need for digital tools. However, brokers should regularly review their website from a customer’s point of view and ideally test their websites and other digital products with end-users to gain the most powerful insights. The UX should be as seamless and easy as possible and user testing will help you get there.

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UX Reading Recommendations

  • Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug
  • The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett
  • Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks by Luke Wroblewski
  • 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design by Jakob Nielsen