Online comparison sites are a threat to insurers

The reaction to BIBA’s recent press release on comparison sites has been massive. Most of it in agreement with our position, but some sections still have their heads in the sand and need to embrace change and co-operate with the rest of the industry.

The fact is this technology is here to stay and many brokers are using it to their advantage. Comparison sites are marketing portals that are, by definition, intermediaries. They are more of a threat to insurers than to brokers as they can influence distribution, if not control it.

I believe that technology presents our distribution with a fantastic opportunity but we must ensure that customers are protected with minimum acceptable standards. At the moment we believe the way many aggregator sites operate can potentially give clients a misleading comparison of the final cover and the assumptions that are made can lead to a higher price and an unsuitable policy.

Electronic trading is now part of our business and personal lives. The opportunities and benefits of electronic trading have never been better whether in the commercial sector with electronic files, bid marketing and product sales or in the personal sector on comparison sites.

The value of brokers, however, is their customer focus in all these areas. Being able to have access to professional advice is invaluable. Getting the right product at the right price with the right regulation is what this is all about.