Pressure is mounting on aggregators to be more transparent, following weeks of growing tension between direct insurers and comparison sites.
A number of leading insurers have called on the industry to provide clearer information to customers after it emerged there was increasing confusion over the role aggregators play.
An unnamed insurer, told Insurance Times: “Consumers generally believe that they are getting independent advice when the reality is that it is not always the case.
“In actual fact [aggregators] are just businesses trying to make money. It’s perception versus reality.”
One aggregator has been accused of highlighting products carrying greater commission rather than pointing customers in the direction of the cheapest or best deal.
This has raised concerns about whether customers are being treated fairly.
Steve White, head of compliance and training at Biba, said: “We have some concerns over the way in which aggregators are conducting themselves and have previously raised these concerns with the FSA. These concerns focus on whether the customer is being treated fairly and the clarity of information they are being given.”
Hayley Parsons, managing director of Gocompare.com, admitted that there was room for more transparency, but insisted it was an issue that affected the direct insurance market as a whole.
She revealed that Gocompare is currently revising its own terms and conditions to make sure customers are given the correct information.
Parsons added: “We are trying to be as transparent as possible and look as much as we can from a customer point of view. But there is room for improvement from others in the market.”
Directline research, which sparked the war of words between direct insurers and aggregators, revealed that 93% of those who have used aggregators believe they should carry warning statements about their accuracy, as well as explaining that not all possible suppliers are quoted.
Norwich Union has admitted it is reconsidering its relationship with comparison site Confused.com after the aggregator announced it intends to charge insurers for appearing on its panel.
A spokesman for Norwich Union, said: “We have not formulated an opinion on whether we will continue [our relationship with Confused.com]. A decision is currently being debated.”
The site will begin charging insurers between £7,500 and £15,000 a month from 1 July.