There’s been a lot in the papers about the spat started by Direct Line, whose wheeled telephones (more of those in another post) have been gracing our screens for many years. As you may have seen, their recent commercials have pulled no punches in exposing perceived shortcomings with the price comparison “aggregator” sites, like confused.com, gocompare and insurancesupermarket.
They’ve suggested that the comparison sites are too focused on price and take no account of added features, such as courtesy cars, or the weird and wonderful extras that Direct Line attach to their policies, whether you want them or not.
This has sparked a full on barney between Direct Line and the aggregators.
First, Direct Line’s blanket TV ads accused Confused, Money Supermarket, Go Compare et al of numerous alleged offences:
- deceiving the public by not being open about how they were funded.
- providing cheap quotes which go up when you try to take out cover.
- not offering extras and add-ons.
- not being honest about who owns them.
- that many people did not realise that not all insurers appeared on the price comaprison sites.
So then the comparators struck back, pointing out Direct Line’s own shortcomings. But Direct Line were on a roll and promptly produced new research claiming they were the cheapest insurer. This research came across as a little suspect from the off, as DL were defined as the cheapest “major insurance provider” on the basis that they “were amongst the three cheapest providers” 257 times out of 1000 quotes.
So MoneySupermarket released figures that showed that in many cases Direct Line wouldn’t even get into the top 10 quotes on their site, and suggested this was the reason that Direct Line hated comparison sites.
In all of this, brokers like us seem to have been ignored, although our record levels of business so far this year would suggest that there is plenty of opportunity for the old sort of “middle man”.
So let’s have a look at this in a bit more detail. Over a few posts I’ll be asking some pertinent questions.
- What about the points raised in this spat between Direct Line and the aggregators?
- And who should you choose, a direct writer, comparison website or broker?
Some of the answers may be surprising!