I am writing to support Biba head of technical services Peter Staddon’s recent statement that there are significant pricing differentials in place and these are not, as the ABI spokesman said, much to do with risk (News, 5 June).
Indeed, in recent discussions I had with one insurer, it is very clear that what drives it more is the ‘route to market’ and this is putting risk very much on the back burner.
I recently sought quotes for household insurance. Using various routes – from an insurer’s broker-dedicated website to our own EDI quoting system and to the same insurer’s direct website, and I found price variations from over £1,300 to just under £400.
There were some differences in cover, but never in a month of Sundays could the risk attaching to them be costed to meet this differential.
In my view, assessing risk is becoming of far less significance than how an insurer perceives its running costs to be across its business channels.
Another insurer told me that it is not intending to support its existing policyholders on a non-electronic policy type in the longer term – with many IT glitches blowing a hole in contract certainty at present I might add. The new style policy is not as good as the existing contract and the insurer has yet to disagree with my contention.
While the emphasis is on the e-trading aspect, part of it – the travel section option – is not e-enabled anyway. If the selection of an insurance policy depends on cover, then we now have IT preventing it from happening, as far as this policy is concerned.
I am very much a small broker so my experiences are limited. However, I have been in business since 1979 – and broking since 1972 – and I have always put my clients interests first – long before the FSA made it a requirement.
I am now more frustrated in doing so with all the regulation heaped on the whole industry than I ever have been.
Name and address withheld