Economy

CMA to investigate aggregator over "strong concerns" on insurer relationships

CMA to investigate aggregator over

United Kingdom watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), announced Tuesday it was opening an investigation into an un-named insurance price comparison website.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA chief executive, said that despite 90 per cent of people were satisfied with the online comparison sites they used, more improvements were needed to help people get better deals.

Energy regulator Ofgem said it was considering a trial that would allow households to enter only their postcode and current supplier into a "digital deal checker" to view the cheapest tariff, and a clickable option on all price comparison websites to ensure customers saw prices in the whole of the market, not just preferred suppliers.

The CMA said price comparison sites are making it easier for consumers to compare prices and forcing businesses to up their game.

For this reason, among the recommendations laid down in the report, the CMA said that all sites should be clear about how they make money, how many deals they're displaying and how they are ordering the results.

And added: 'We have set out ground rules for how sites should behave, as well as being clear on how regulators can ensure people have a better experience online'.

It focused on areas where comparison sites play a big role, such as auto and home insurance, energy, broadband, flights, and credit cards.

"We operates some simple contractual arrangements with home insurers to ensure that our customers always get the lowest available price". However, where sites are not working in people's best interests, the CMA is "taking action".

"The CMA's report has identified a number of areas for us to explore that could help DCTs to work better for consumers".

The organisation has opened a competition law investigation to examine one aggregator's contract with home insurers which it stated "limit insurers' ability to charge a lower price on one platform than on another" with regard to wide price parity/most favoured nation clauses (MFN).

The Competition and Markets Authority said that it was examining how one site had set up its contracts with insurance companies because it suspected that users were being quoted higher prices for home insurance. "It is good to see the CMA investigating this issue further and we welcome their new ground rules which should improve consistency of standards".



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