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Insurance comparison website Insurancewide.com argued today that industry experts are missing the point in the controversy about comparison websites sparked by the new Direct Line advertising campaign.
“The focus of industry debate about price comparison websites has largely ignored the fact that price is not the only issue when directing customers to the best insurer for their needs,” says James Harrison, chief executive. “The prices displayed in these ‘best buy’ tables are rarely the price the customer ends up paying once they investigate the terms of the policy. Most comparison websites are still operating on this short-sighted basis; it is misleading to the customer and Direct Line is absolutely right to shun them.”
“However, there is no reason why Direct Line should not work with more responsible, more ‘evolved’ comparison websites, providing that those sites demonstrate clearly that the value of an insurance policy isn’t just about the advertised price.
“Insurancewide.com goes so far as to present customers with a shortlist of relevant insurers and brokers and a quote range within which all of those insurers and brokers fall. This way we allow the customer to make an informed decision based on the facts presented. As well as looking at price, we shortlist the insurers based on three deciding factors: the accuracy of the quotation, the insurer’s relevance to the customer in the first place AND the insurer’s previous success rates for similar customer profiles.
“A decent comparison website should also include as many insurers and brokers as possible in its search, otherwise customers are being misled into thinking they are searching the whole market when they are not. Too many comparison websites are currently masquerading as aggregators when in fact they only allow customers to search a small section of the insurance market.“
“True aggregators should be neither brokers nor organisations that are already linked to insurers; they should be independent ‘umbrella’ organisations that return relevant (not merely price-led) results. They should certainly not charge insurers for inclusion in the listings.“