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UK insurance comparison engine Confused.com has hit out at Direct Line over a recent TV advertising campaign that claims customers buying insurance via a comparison site could be missing out on additional benefits.

Direct Line's recent ad campaign has attempted to deter consumers from using price comparison sites by labelling them as 'middlemen' that add costs and complications for consumers.

Direct Line, part of RBS Group, is one of the few insurance companies that refuses to allow its policies to be sold via price comparison sites.

But Confused.com MD Debra Williams hit back at the firm:

“This looks like an act of desperation from an increasingly uncompetitive Direct Line. It’s a shame it won’t allow its quotes to be compared through independent price comparison sites like Confused.com.

"But there may be a reason – our initial research suggests that nine times out of ten Direct Line’s quotes wouldn’t feature in our top five cheapest prices. And in some cases, Direct Line doesn’t even make the top ten.”

It's hard to disagree with Williams - insurance comparison sites save customers the hassle of phoning round for the best quotes, and have helped many to reduce their premiums - Direct Line's refusal to showcase its policies via comparison sites gives the impression that it doesn't want its prices held up to scrutiny.

In related news, though, The Times reports that Confused.com is planning to charge companies a monthly fee to appear in its listings, prompting concerns that this will affect the accuracy of the listings if some firms refuse to pay up.

Further reading:
Confused.com up for sale?

Graham Charlton

Published 11 June, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (5)

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Donald Thurlow

No wonder you call yourselves Confused, you are not half as confused as I am trying to fill in details for Motor Insurance
When it came to my speeding offence and asked how many points I put in 3 03 and three all rejected, same wuth fine I put in 60 & sixty rejrcted, What am I supposed to do, if you can't tell me in words of one syllable I am giving up, then the page came up with error and I don't feel like putting in all my details again
Don

about 9 years ago

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mr b kitchener

i am 71 years of age and going well i am not really good with computers per say and am finding it very difficult to get a quote from you ,i put in the excact cost of my last bump? but still you keep asking for it am i wasting my time even bothering with you. sorry to be so blunt but there you are.

almost 9 years ago

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Wilf Yates

By going online for comparisons I saved almost£200 against my anual quote from direct line.

over 8 years ago

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Wallace

I have found Direct Line to be cheaper on each of 3 quotes for car and home insurance.

Furthermore, there is always a hassle in loading the infomation on comparison sites which frequently log me off before I have completed, thereby requiring endless repetitition entries.

I agree with a previous respondent that some required answers are repeatedly rejected no matter how they are entered.

Worst of all, they , the comparison sites, do not save on correspondence or 'phone calls because after giving personal detailsyou are contacted by e-mail, 'phone and letter by many of the compared insurers.

It's probably beneficial on balance but could be much more user-friendly. I'm sticking with Direct Line until someone finds me somewhere better.

over 8 years ago

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Anonymous

I have been looking for a new insurer as my insurance was coming up for renewal and the price they gave me was way high £750+ (this is for contents only?) near 3 times what I paid last year. When I questioned this they told me that they had made a mistake with the loading? And changed this amount to £618

I phoned Direct line as on the TV ad I think they said ‘they can be up to 50% cheaper’ and they came in at about £1300 for even less cover? near twice as much again.

Today I went to my bank on a different matter and ended up walking through their insurance in branch. I was able to identify that my premium was being pushed up so much due to the value of items off of the property.

Perhaps my area E2 (Hackney) has had a big increase in street crime so the risk metrics insurers use may have increased, I don't know? and to be fair where I live is pretty safe. Anyway I think my point is as I was able to sit in branch and go through the system adding, removing, increasing and decreasing attributes that made up my insurance. By doing this I was able to reduce the cost to just down to just over £400 an amount that seems more appropriate and get a policy that is really much closer to what I need.

Why did the other insurers I contacted take a one size fits all approach as they could have sold me if they spent more time going through the application in a way that's much more appropriate to the customers needs?

The point that I am making is why don’t price comparison sites and or insurers take the lead and allow people to build custom policies online where they can see the variable price for cover change as they build out the policy? I really believe that the first company to take the lead and build a simple web tool to enable this will mop up.

After all do you want to be covered for up to £75,000 of contents if all you have is worth £20K? Why not change the way people complete forms to adopt sliders that increase and decrease the level of coverage and the price? I have seen this being done using Flex on some travel web site and it provides a useful service.

Just my 2 cents worth ☺

over 7 years ago

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