Research shows FCA changes to renewal letters are failing to make an impact: Bills

07 October 2019, 09:54

Research shows FCA changes to renewal letters are failing to make an impact

Loyalty penalty:  Majority of drivers are not seeing messages introduced over two years ago about the importance of shopping around

  • 10% fewer drivers recall seeing the renewal premium alongside last year’s price than did so when the rules were first introduced in 2017;
  • The number of people checking their renewal letter for changes to the cover being offered has dropped by 10%;
  • 46% of motorists think it should be illegal for insurers to charge existing customers more than new customers for the same cover.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) rules, designed to improve the transparency of car insurance renewals and to encourage shopping around at renewal, are failing to make an impact with drivers, according to new research released today1

Under the FCA’s rules, introduced in April 2017, insurers are compelled to ‘clearly, accurately and prominently’ display the proposed renewal premium alongside the premium paid the year before and, include a message to encourage customers to shop around. 

But despite being in force for over two years, the FCA’s requirements are having little impact on consumers’ awareness of key renewal information and are doing little to engage millions of drivers in the renewal process.  In fact, GoCompare Car Insurance’s annual car insurance renewal survey highlights that consumer engagement has fallen in the last 12 months.        

Consumer statement

2017

2018

2019

I remember seeing last year’s premium alongside this year’s proposed premium

45%

46%

35%

I recall seeing a statement regarding shopping around for insurance in my renewal letter

17%

17%

16%

I recall my renewal letter including a statement to check that cover is still appropriate for my needs                                     

31%

30%

29%

I looked at last year’s premium to see how it has changed                                 

44%

45%

37%

I checked my renewal letter for details of any changes to cover           

30%

22%

20%

As a result, 4.1m drivers auto-renewed this year without checking if they could get a better deal and the average number of years motorists have been with the same insurer has increased to 3.1 years, compared with 2.3 years in 2017. 

Nearly half of the motorists (47%) surveyed said they don’t trust their insurer to reward their loyalty, believing insurers offer better deals to new customers than those renewing cover; 46% of those surveyed thought this practice should be made illegal.

On 4th October, the FCA released the interim report of its market study into the pricing of home and motor insurance and announced a consultation on a series of proposals designed to restrict price rises at renewal and increase switching rates.

Lee Griffin, CEO, and founder of GoCompare Car Insurance commented: “It’s no secret that insurers entice new customers with cheaper introductory offers at the expense of their existing policyholders.  When it comes to car insurance, loyalty can cost you hundreds of pounds - customers switching insurance with us, could typically save up to £239.693.  So, existing policyholders have every right to be wary of their insurer’s renewal quote.

“The number of people allowing their car insurance to automatically renew, without shopping around to see if they could get a better deal, has actually fallen slightly this year, but that is likely to be due to the slow-down in premium inflation after a couple of years of steep increases. 

“While many people shop around if they think their renewal price is uncompetitive, our research shows that a huge number still aren’t actively engaged in the renewal process.  It may be that insurers have made auto-renewal too easy for some customers to change their habits, or that they simply don’t have the confidence to switch.”

Lee continued: “The regulator has taken positive steps to help improve the information given to customers at renewal. But it’s been over two years since the FCA’s rules were introduced and our research suggests that a more comprehensive approach is required to ensure people can easily access the information they need and are aware of the potential savings from shopping around so that they can then make an informed decision.”

One saving to look out for is the £250 free excess protection cover which GoCompare is giving drivers should they be in the position of having to claim. There is more information on excesses and how they work in our new guide, here: https://www.gocompare.com/car-insurance/guide/excess-explained/

-Ends-

For further information please contact:

Anders Nilsson or Louisa Marsden at GoCompare on 01633 654 054 / 01633 655 132

Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845

Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare

Notes to editors

1On 15 August 2019, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 2,001 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panellists.  The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

The previous years’ surveys were conducted on 14 August 2018 (2,006 adults) and on 1 August 2017 (2,008 adults).

2Department for Transport Vehicle Licensing Statistics 2019 Q1 (January to March) at the end of March 2019 there were 31.7m cars licenced for use on the roads in Great Britain.  13% of motorists allowed their car insurance to auto-renew, 13% of 31.7m is 4.1m.

3According to independent research from Consumer intelligence in July 2019, 51% of consumers could save up to £239.69 with GoCompare Car Insurance.   

GoCompare

GoCompare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.

GoCompare does not charge people to use its services, and it does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all product comparisons are unbiased. GoCompare makes its money through fees paid by the providers of products that appear on its various comparison services when a customer buys through the site.

GoCompare does not sell its customers’ data.

When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. GoCompare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest, and has teamed up with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.

GoCompare is the only comparison website to be invited to join the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

For more information visit www.gocompare.com and www.gocomparegroup.com

Contact Information

Louisa Marsden

Senior PR Executive

GoCompare

01633 655 132

louisa.marsden@gocompare.com