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?