The competition regulator wants to find out if problems exist in the sector 

Magnifying glass

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is planning to conduct a review of price comparison websites during its next annual period between 2016 and 2017.

The CMA says it wants to understand whether problems exist in the sector and if so what changes might be needed to make sure it operates competitively and in the best interests of consumers.

A well-placed source told Insurance Times that the CMA was likely to be interested in hidden charges and the lack of transparency on aggregators. 

The last time the CMA looked at aggregators in a big way was during its investigation into the private motor market.

In March 2015 the CMA said all price comparison websites would be subject to a ban on price parity agreements as it published its final order for the motor insurance market.

The ban had initially been proposed for only those aggregators with more than 300,000 sales a year, but it was then extended to all price comparison websites.

The ban means aggregators are no longer be able to restrict insurers and brokers from offering policies cheaper elsewhere, except on their own direct website – known as a wide most favoured nation clause (MFN).