Insurance site bilingual hit
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 2, 2005
Web attracts Hispanics across U.S.
David van den Berg
At first, it was just for his insurance agency.

But, Dave Stafford put an advertisement for his Web site, which offers insurance information to Spanish-speaking customers on Google, and requests for information came in from around the country.

"We started getting hits from everywhere. It's kind of amazing," he said.

The bilingual Web site,, dispenses insurance information and connects consumers with agents who speak Spanish.

"Nobody was trying to help the Spanish language segment, which is the fastest-growing population segment in the country," Stafford said. "Our clientele prefer to do business with somebody who speaks both languages."

Customers using the free site can request car and homeowners insurance quotes.

Stafford plans to add quote request forms for renters, life, and health insurance.

When using the site, customers fill in a form with information about their insurance needs and get connected to agents who speak their chosen language. The customer is able to alternate between English and Spanish without losing any information entered, Stafford said.

Customers can get rate quotes from up to five agents in their ZIP code.

The site launched this year has paid dramatic dividends for The Stafford Agency, which has five Spanish-speaking agents, Stafford said.

"The production here has just about quadrupled since the first of the year when we started," Stafford said. "I'm sure that we're going to have competitors sooner or later."

Agents pay $5for every car insurance lead and $7 for every homeowners insurance lead the Web site provides them.

So far, only one other Valley agency is participating.

Florida and New Jersey are the states generating the most consumer traffic for the site, he said.

Marketing efforts for the Web site have been launched around the country but not in Phoenix, Stafford said.

"We haven't really worked too hard on getting agents in the Valley because the other markets have had so much customer volume," he said.

In Arizona, 700 to 800 consumers have requested information from the Web site this year, which Stafford said is a small percentage of its traffic.

Stafford, who lives in Gilbert, owns the Web site and The Stafford Agency, an insurance office on Lindsay Road, with his wife, Karen. Stafford has "quite a bit" of day-to-day involvement in the Web site, adding that it took about a year to get the site to where he wanted it.

There have been offers to buy the site, Stafford said, but he said he enjoying running it.

"Everything's probably negotiable, but it's just one of those things I think needed to be done, and I'm having a good time with it," he said.