Car/home insurer to make it easier for you to compare premiums?

29 May 2015

CarCrashIt’s a fact of life, like death or taxes, that your insurer will try and diddle you at insurance renewal time, saving all their best deals for new customers, and those who can be bothered to shop around. Every year. However, one insurer has recently announced a ground-breaking new policy that might make comparisons a little easier for consumers- they will tell you how much you paid last year.

Axa Insurance have announced the “welcome” and “overdue” change in policy, becoming the first insurer to tell customers how much they have spent on their previous year’s motor cover when issuing new quotes for renewal. The insurer will now display the previous year’s premium on all home, car and small business renewals; Axa piloted the publication of existing premiums on car renewal quotes in its direct motor business in March and will now continue.  Renewal letters for home cover will include last year’s comparisons from next month and all direct business customers from July. The changes will also apply to customers of Swiftcover, an Axa subsidiary.

Now, while this might seem a little basic, it is interesting to note that insurers don’t routinely do this already. And while you might know how much you paid last year, particularly if you pay monthly, you might not remember without checking a bank statement from last year. Which is just more faffing around.

What providing you with last year’s figure will do, of course, is enable you to directly compare last year’s price with the current offering, and see precisely how much the cost has gone up by, which may help in gauging whether this year’s premium is totally laughable or not. A 10% increase is a far different prospect than a 70% increase, of course. Alternatively, you might wonder aloud that those people who do not routinely compare premiums with last year are the very mugs that allow your premiums to be kept down…

Yves Masson at Axa said that the car insurance pilot received a positive response, adding: "We believe that being more transparent with the information we provide will help customers make the right purchasing decisions. It’s a key factor in building trust, which has been all too sadly lacking in our industry in the past."

Matt Oliver, car insurance spokesman at Gocompare.com, said that insurers putting last year's premium on renewal documents was "good news for drivers" and "a positive step towards making the insurance industry more transparent and competitive".

He said: "We've been saying for years that loyalty doesn't pay when it comes to insurance, with the best deals typically offered to new customers, not those who renew. If insurers choose to display last year's premium at renewal it doesn't change the fact that, regardless of what premium you're offered, getting online and comparing prices and policy details from other insurers should be your first thought when you see your renewal letter."

It remains to be seen whether other insurers will follow suit, or whether they will wait to see whether Axa impales itself on its owns word first-historically, around two thirds of AXA’s motor customers renew with the insurer each year…

TOPICS:   Insurance

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