Periodic examination is a critical feature for assurance but not insurance; accordingly insurance is potentially a lower‐cost alternative to assurance. Unlike assurance, however, whether insurance inspires consumer confidence remains an unexplored empirical question. This paper compares consumer receptiveness to the concepts of assurance and insurance in an e‐commerce setting. Results (n = 360) in a controlled experiment indicate equivalent consumer receptiveness to assurance and insurance; both significantly increase purchasing intention. Results further indicate that consumer preference for CPA versus non‐CPA insurance providers depends on consumers' assurance knowledge. High‐assurance knowledge consumers prefer insurance provided by insurance companies while low‐assurance knowledge consumers prefer insurance provided by CPA firms. Our finding suggests that the CPA profession could potentially leverage its brand name in a service area outside the profession's traditional markets. An extension to our study assesses the feasibility of CPAs providing insurance service solely or in collaboration with insurance companies.

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