Some more analysis of the Direct Line spat with confused.com and the other aggregators.
Another avenue that Direct Line have cited as a problem with aggregators is the “jumping quote” syndrome, where you get a quote from the aggregator, only to get a different, higher quote when you try to take out the policy.
In reality there are several reasons why an initial online quote might be modified when you try to take out the policy, none of them are entirely the aggregator’s fault. In fact many of the problems are also faced by brokers, who also have to deal with a panel of insurers with differing rules and requirements.
First off, the questions the aggregator (or indeed broker) initially asks may not be the same as the questions that the insurer wants to ask. There may well be factors that an insurer takes into account that have not been accounted for by the designers of the “one easy form.”
Second, the proposer may have omitted certain information about the risk, whether deliberately or not, that the insurer may be in a position to pick up on more easily than the aggregator could.
Thirdly, it is usual for quotes to be valid for a set period of time, which may well vary. If you come back to the insurer after that time, the quote may have gone.
Fourthly, some quotes assume an online discount which will not apply if you ring in to take out a policy.
Of course Direct Line choose to get out of these difficulties by not making their rates available to aggregators at all, the form on their website, which they have designed is the only one you can fill in for a Direct Line Quote. There would be real problems if their quotes varied in the same way between web form and policy go-ahead.