Walmart Makes Deal To Sell Auto Insurance (NYSE:WMT)

Retail giant Walmart has announced a deal to partner with to sell insurance policies to consumers. The partnership would allow customers to comparison shop for auto insurance on’s website, comparing the prices at several insurance companies and contrasting them with the consumer’s current insurance policy. Customers will be able to access the site from and will collect commissions when insurance is sold on its site.

This is the newest service added to Walmart’s arsenal of consumer service offerings. Walmart will actively promote the website in its stores and receive a monthly fee from in return. Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Walmart U.S., said the company is using its size to broaden its offerings for customers and to get an edge on the competition. Walmart’s recent sales have been sluggish as its core customer base, largely low-income people, has struggled to regain a foothold after the most recent recession.

Walmart began testing ways to enter the auto insurance market last year. Together with Tranzutary Insurance Solutions, which bought the domain name in 2012, a platform was developed to list several insurance carriers side by side for easy and simple comparisons. The new service will be available in eight states — Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. Walmart hopes to expand the website to the rest of the country in the next few months.

Six insurance carriers are participating on the website, including Progressive, Travelers and Esurance, which is owned by Allstate. However, State Farm and Geico, which are the first- and second-largest auto insurance providers in the country, are missing from the list. Walmart hopes to offer more carriers in the future.

Because what is being offered is limited, many consumers may use the service as part of a broader search of auto insurance policy costs. J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America, said, “It’s a good place to start, but I would also check around. Like if you go to Expedia, you should probably go look at one of the other ones just to be sure.”