Regulator to sift through evidence over online advice

The FSA has pledged to investigate aggregators in response to research published by the Biba.

A spokesman for the regulator said that staff would immediately begin sifting the evidence to establish whether online aggregators were offering advice where they were not qualified to do so.

Earlier this week, Biba published a survey claiming that 94% of consumers believe policies listed on online comparison sites are not explained fully. It called on the FSA to urgently review its Insurance Conduct of Business (ICOB) rules for electronic introductions, following the conclusion of independent research into price comparison websites.

The research raised concerns that current FSA rules are not appropriate because they were finalised prior to the development of price comparison websites.

Some of the key findings of the research include:

• More than half of insurance buyers interviewed do not fully understand the differences between each insurance policy offered via comparison websites

• Only 6% of insurance comparison website users believe that the details of what the policy covers and does not cover are explained fully.

• 84% of insurance buyers said that the details of insurance policies offered via price comparison websites can be confusing

• 93% of consumers expect insurance comparison websites to be regulated in the same way as insurance intermediaries.