What you need to know

Price comparison websites play a significant role in the UK insurance market and have done so since their inception more than 15 years ago. However, they have also had a part in price-focused propositions that have resulted in dual-pricing practices and the so-called ‘loyalty penalty’, which affect vulnerable consumers the most. With regulatory intervention being imminent, industry focus is likely to start switching from price to value.

PCWs are an ingrained part of consumer behaviour and provide much-valued benchmarking for pricing and level of cover. But for many consumers, the research and purchasing journey is a box-ticking exercise, rather than an exhaustive process. People allocate a limited amount of time and effort to save money, and therefore convenience tends to be the key aspect they look for in a PCW. In many cases, trusting the right brand to delegate this responsibility to means half the job is done. PCWs are well-positioned to embrace Open Banking technology. They have the potential to become trusted consumer allies in many aspects of financial management. However, the threat of alternative providers (including tech giants) incorporating comparison of prices or features into their existing propositions could drive consumers to new ways of saving money and finding products.

Products covered in this Report

This Report looks at consumers’ use of price comparison websites when looking to research or arrange insurance products, specifically:

  • Motor insurance

  • Home buildings and/or contents insurance

  • Travel insurance

  • Pet insurance

  • Life insurance

  • Gadget insurance (eg smartphones, laptops, etc)

  • Private medical insurance

  • Other insurance products

Mintel’s exclusive consumer research explores the usage of price comparison websites for research and purchase of insurance products. It assesses the brands used, including how many different ones people have visited over the last year, and consumer attitudes towards different brands operating in the market. The Report also looks at how long people expect to spend when researching a policy at renewal through a PCW, as well as the most important factor they look for in a comparison site. It assesses how PCWs fare when compared to insurers in a number of relevant areas, and any features that would convince people to buy directly from an insurer. Lastly, it explores interest in using a PCW run by several alternative firms, and what would motivate consumers to choose one operated by a tech giant.

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