BIBA urges action from FCA on comparison website findings

16th July 2014

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) is  urging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to take firm action to ensure that price comparison websites are complying with the FCA’s regulatory standards and meeting customers’ expectations.

The call follows the FCA’s thematic review, launched today, which shows that comparison websites are failing to meet the FCA’s expectations and that they have failed to implement guidance published in 2011.

BIBA said that it is not surprised by the findings and has long called for the regulator to ensure that customers are receiving the right outcomes.  In its 2014 Manifesto, it outlined a number of issues that need to be addressed, including how information is presented to consumers, the focus on headline price, making sure the consumer is at the heart of a firm’s business and a ban on anti-competitive Most Favoured Nation clauses.

BIBA’s Chief Executive, Steve White, commented: “We are pleased that the FCA has reviewed this important area and we are not surprised by the findings. We now want to see the FCA drive home the recommendations that it made in 2011 and ensure that these are complied with. We are keen to continue to work with the FCA and comparison sites to ensure that customers have appropriate protection.  A level playing field is needed to ensure that consumers receive the same protection wherever they purchase their insurance.”

BIBA’s Executive Director, Graeme Trudgill, said: “Our member insurance brokers have highlighted the issues with comparison websites for a number of years.  We initially raised concerns in 2008 because we identified that there was a gap developing between the pace of technological change and the regulations which were written in 2005. We are pleased that the FCA and the CMA are dealing with these issues.

“Gocompare.com is still the only comparison website to be accepted as an associate member of BIBA. We have developed a positive working relationship with their team as we believe they operate a best practice approach to insurance comparison.”

David Sparkes, BIBA’s Compliance and Training Manager, concluded: “The FCA research showed consumers mistakenly believe Price Comparison Websites are “Product Comparison Websites” as well, which is not the case, so more needs to be done to deliver to customer expectations here.  We have five points outlined in our Manifesto and will continue to push for these to be addressed.”

BIBA has a Find a Broker service for consumers looking for general insurance.  This can be accessed online at www.biba.org.uk or via the helpline on 0870 950 1790.

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Notes to editors

1. For further information please contact:

BIBA press office:
Leighann Forsyth, Head of Communications
020 7397 0223
forsythl@biba.org.uk 
 

2. About British Insurance Brokers' Association

The British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA) is the UK's leading general insurance intermediary organisation representing the interests of insurance brokers, intermediaries and their customers.

BIBA membership includes just under 2,000 regulated firms having merged with the Institute of Insurance Brokers (IIB) in November 2011.

General insurance brokers contribute 1% of GDP to the UK economy and BIBA brokers employ more than 100,000 staff.

53% of all general insurance is sold by an insurance broker and they arrange 81% of all commercial insurance business.

Insurance brokers put the client’s interests first, providing advice, access to suitable insurance protection and risk management.

BIBA helps more than 400,000 people a year to access insurance protection through it’s Find a Broker service, both online and via the telephone.

BIBA is the voice of the industry advising members, the regulators, consumer bodies and other stakeholders on key insurance issues.   BIBA provides unique schemes and facilities, technical advice, guidance on regulation and business support and is helping to raise, and maintain, industry standards.