Customers using the internet to buy general insurance, such as motor and home cover, will benefit from guidance published today (29 December) by the ABI. Over two-thirds of customers are now using the internet to arrange their motor insurance alone.
The good practice guidance is for insurance comparison websites, insurers and brokers selling general insurance online. It aims to ensure that consumers buying insurance over the internet can better identify the right policy for their needs.
The guidance has been developed by the ABI, the British Insurers Brokers Association, the consumers' association Which?, and leading insurance comparison websites.
Key areas covered by the guidance include:
- Policy information. Customers should be able to review key features of their selected policy before they commit to buy.
- Add-ons. It should be made clear what cover is provided as standard, and which features are being sold as any add-ons, such as home emergency cover under household insurance.
- Excess levels. The level of any voluntary or compulsory excess should be prominently displayed and clearly explained.
- Referrals. Customers to whom a quote cannot be offered should be directed to possible alternative sources of help, such as specialist providers.
"Using the internet can enable consumers to get the best policy at the most competitive price. But the ease and speed of going online must be balanced with ensuring that people understand the terms, conditions and cover of the policies they are comparing. These guidelines will help ensure that customers get the best possible deal when buying general insurance products online, and we urge all online insurance providers to adopt them without delay."
Hayley Parsons, Chief Executive Officer of Gocompare.com, said:
"We welcome any initiative that will ultimately enhance the buying experience for the consumer. Comparison sites have added a new level of transparency for the consumer and buying insurance online has never been easier. However, comparison sites are very much dependent on the information that the insurance company provides, so establishing industry standards that all insurers, brokers and comparison sites can adhere to when displaying product information can only be a good thing."
Dan Moore, from Which? said:
"Which? supports measures that will lead to greater transparency and trust, and will therefore benefit consumers. The ABI good practice guide is a step in the right direction, providing the recommendations made are monitored and enforced."