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Home and motor insurance competition not working well in UK

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | October 4, 2019
The FCA has published the interim report of its market study into the pricing of home and motor insurance.
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Britain   UK car
The FCA found that competition is not working well for all consumers in these markets.

Topics: Car home insurance UK

It sets out concerns about how pricing in these markets leads to consumers who do not switch or negotiate with their provider paying high prices for their insurance.

The FCA estimates that around 6 million policyholders pay high prices and are not getting a good deal on their insurance.

If those customers paying high premiums paid the average premium for their risk they could save around £1.2 billion a year.

This affects all types of customers.

The FCA estimates this includes 1 in 3 people who are potentially vulnerable.

Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, commented:

'This market is not working well for all consumers.

While a large number of people shop around, many loyal customers are not getting a good deal.

We believe this affects around 6 million consumers.

'We have set out a package of potential remedies to ensure these markets are truly competitive and address the problems we have uncovered. We expect the industry to work with us as we do so.'

In particular, the FCA found that:

Insurers often sell policies at a discount to new customers and increase premiums when customers renew, targeting increases at those less likely to switch.

Longstanding customers pay more on average, but even some people who switch pay higher prices.

From the FCA’s consumer research, 1 in 3 consumers who paid high premiums showed at least one characteristic of vulnerability, such as having lower financial capability.

For consumers who bought combined contents and building insurance, lower income consumers (below £30,000) pay higher margins than those with higher incomes.

People who pay high premiums are less likely to understand insurance or the impact that renewing has on their premium.

Most firms, when setting a price, include their expectations of whether a customer will switch or pay an increased price.

This is not made clear to the customer.

Firms engage in a range of practices to raise barriers to switching. Many consumers who switch or negotiate their premium can get a good deal.