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FCA launches thematic review into price comparison sites

Regulator to investigate whether consumers are getting the best deal when taking out general insurance.

The FCA has launched a thematic review into price comparison sites.

The review will focus on motor, travel and home insurance and will involve 14 websites and a number of insurance providers.

The regulator says the review will look at whether websites’ focus on headline price means consumers are failing to get the best deal for their needs.

FCA director of supervision Clive Adamson says: “We need to ask the question, ‘does cheapest equal best?’

“We want to get to a place where consumers buy with the confidence of knowing they have all the relevant facts.”

Areas the FCA plans to look at include how key information is presented by comparison sites, and potential conflicts of interest such as sites being owned by insurance companies.

It says a key concern is people believing they are getting a good deal because they save money initially, but finding at the point of claim they are not covered as comprehensively as they thought.

The regulator will publish the results of the review, and what action it expects price comparison sites and insurers to take, next year.

Master Adviser senior partner Roy McLoughlin says: “There are lessons to be learnt from this review for protection as well as general insurance.

“Comparison sites should flag up to consumers that they may wish to seek independent financial advice before purchasing a product.”

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