Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to: determine which criteria of the car insurance brokers' web sites are important or unimportant; establish how well those criteria are presented on the car insurance brokers' web sites; and find out whether the consumer's final decision to purchase the product is influenced by the web sites' characteristics, the price, etc.
Design/methodology/approach - The evaluation method employed in this study is the extended web assessment method (EWAM), which is an evaluation tool specifically created for the assessment of electronic commerce applications. A double questionnaire survey has been undertaken to collect data from 28 finance advisers in an independent financial advisory firm in the UK.
Findings - The preliminary findings suggest that the majority of the assessed web site criteria fall in the categories of "maintain strategy" and "no immediate improvement necessary" with certain web site features considered as "strategic overkill" or "improvement necessary". It is also found that the web sites are utilised as a tool for shopping around for quotes but the final purchase would be made by most consumers via the telephone.
Research limitations/implications - It is important to mention that an empirical study with a sample of 28 insurance advisers in one financial advisory company can only reflect a limited picture of current practice in the UK car insurance brokers market. Therefore, the findings reported in this paper are tentative and preliminary. To test or confirm relevant findings reported here, further evaluation work with a larger number of assessors having different backgrounds may be necessary.
Practical implications - While the majority of the assessed web site criteria fall in the "maintain strategy" and "no immediate improvement necessary" fields, efforts should be made by practitioners to improve site maps, site search, and insurers' details for quotes.
Originality/value - This paper provides useful information for UK car insurance brokers and web sites developers.