The next BIG thing in price comparison

Toby MacLachlan, 27 October 2021

What are price comparison websites?

Everyone is familiar with price comparison websites. They have some of the largest marketing budgets in the UK. There is fierce competition between them and they provide the largest volume of introductions to Insurance brokers of any distribution class.

How do they work?

Price comparison websites work by collecting quote data from customers and firing that data off to a myriad of insurance brokers. The brokers go to the panel of insurers and respond with a price. When a customer wants to buy they click through to the broker’s website and make payment there. During the course of their policy they will interact with the broker but not with the price comparison website.  

What’s the conflict?

Comparison websites and brokers should be working in harmony but they don’t because they have differing aims.

During the policy period the price comparison website wants the customer to return to get a new quote and hopefully earn a new introductory commission from another broker. Conversely, the broker wants the client to stay with them and not go back to the price comparison website.

What if this were to change?

Here is an idea that would revolutionise both the customer experience and the relationship between price comparison websites and their brokers. Customers should never leave the price comparison website. They should still buy a policy from a broker but do this within the price comparison website. When they want to make a change they should go back to the price comparison website; likewise at renewal they should be sent a set of price comparison results.  This would be great for the customer as surveys show that customers often think they are a customer of the price comparison website and not the broker. It would also mean the customer only needing to put their details and payment details into one system. It would also be good for the broker because customers would be more likely to choose brands that offered this service rather than brands that required leaving the price comparison website. It’s a trust and convenience thing.

It’s obviously also good for the price comparison website because they remain in control of the customer throughout their lifetime. The big winners here will be the customers, the price comparison websites, and the brokers that are the first movers in this space. 

Why is it not being done already?

Legacy technology.  Major brokers operate on legacy systems that do not support the necessary APIs for customer self service and payments that this model would require.

Will it happen?

I sincerely hope so. 

How will it happen?

It will be led by the price comparison websites. If they offer this opportunity to those brokers that are technologically able to support it, it would force the other brokers to update their systems and offer this better level of customer service and choice.

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