Financial Services Consumer Panel to examine price, renewals and complaints

The Financial Services Consumer Panel is to put greater focus on the general insurance industry in the coming year, panel working group chair Mike Dailly said.

Speaking at a the UK Industry Summit on Consumer Insurance Law and Regulation in London yesterday, Dailly said the panel, which advises the FSA, believes there is more debate needed about how to ensure a healthy, customer-focused general insurance industry.

Among the issues the panel will consider are any evidence of price at the expense of quality, difficulties in renewing policies and increased insurance complaints.

In particular, the panel is concerned about what it sees as the over-concentration on price and whether this is eroding the benefits provided by insurance policies.

Daily said: “Price comparison has become the holy grail of the insurance industry in recent years. Yet there are growing concerns about reducing the benefits available to policyholders, leading to a hollowing-out of insurance policies.

“General insurance enhances people’s lives, yet prices have escalated.  Worryingly, there are growing numbers of people who simply cannot get insurance for flooding or for their vehicles.  With complaints on the rise insurers clearly have some questions to answer on the fairness of insurance policies and current business models.”

The Financial Services Consumer Panel is a statutory body that advises the FSA on the interests and concerns of consumers and reports on the FSA’s performance in meeting its objectives.