California-based InsWeb Corp. announced results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2004.
Revenues for the first quarter totaled $4.1 million, compared to $7.5 million in the first quarter of 2003. InsWeb’s net loss for the quarter was $2.0 million, or $0.42 per share, compared to a net loss for the first quarter of 2003 of $0.6 million, or $0.10 per share.
Mark Guthrie, president and CEO of InsWeb, commented, “Our revenues of $4.1 million were level with the fourth quarter of 2003. While we increased our revenues per consumer via successful implementation of several initiatives in both our auto and term life products, we continued to feel the effects of higher marketing costs and fewer consumers due to the competitive online advertising environment. We did reduce our overall operating expenses in the quarter, despite higher direct marketing costs, through reduced staffing levels reflecting the current needs of our maturing technology platform and consumer activity inside our agency operations.
“Specifically within our auto product, our initiatives in the areas of the sponsored web link program, a newly shortened online application process and new approach in allowing multiple insurance carriers access to individual consumers has driven our revenue per consumer up to $4.68 in the first quarter, a 43% increase over the first quarter of last year, and a 23% improvement over the fourth quarter.
“Offsetting these improvements are the challenges with auto insurance rates remaining fairly steady and thus fewer consumers shopping for a new auto policy, which is to be expected at this time in the industry cycle. This results in an environment where fewer consumers are being pursued by an increasing number of providers. Thus, our direct marketing cost per consumer in the quarter rose to $2.53, an 86% increase from the prior year’s first quarter and a 76% increase from the fourth quarter 2003.”
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