This report summarises the findings of our thematic review focused on the intermediation of general insurance products (private motor, home and travel) by price comparison websites. These have rapidly increased in popularity among consumers and are a key distribution channel for retail general insurance products, especially for private motor insurance. We estimate that one third of the 26.6m motor policies written in 2013 were sold through these sites.
This report is aimed at price comparison websites (PCWs), insurers, brokers, relevant trade associations and consumer bodies. It should also be of interest to other regulators.
We assessed whether PCWs were complying with their regulatory requirements and were providing appropriate information to ensure that consumers can make informed decisions when buying their general insurance policy. This included us assessing whether information was being presented in a way that allowed consumers to compare key product features, total costs and main exclusions and understand the role of the PCW and the service they provide.
We found that PCWs :
We gave the PCWs involved in the review individual feedback and asked them to take action on specific areas where they were falling short of our expectations. In some cases, they are already making positive changes.
We also expect all firms (PCWs and providers) to consider the findings detailed in this report and to take appropriate action, where applicable. The findings may also be relevant for PCWs operating in other financial sectors. We have set out our expectations and the actions for firms in section 4 of the report.
We intend to follow up with the PCWs in the review to ensure that they have addressed the specific issues identified and, where appropriate, we will use the full range of regulatory tools available to us.
We recently published consultation guidance on Annuity comparison websites.
Alongside our findings, PCWs should also consider EIOPA’s January 2014 report on good guidance practices on comparison websites.
The Competition and Markets Authority is investigating the private motor insurance market.
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