2017: The vast majority of UK insurers – have signed up to a new ‘Guiding Principles and Action Points’ (GPAP) framework. This promises to “address some of the issues in the current market that can lead to excessive differences between new customer premiums and subsequent renewal premiums”.
Excuse my hysterical laughter … … …
It was there waiting for me when I arrived home from the gym yesterday – the annual letter, expected but still dreaded. The stirrings of annoyance began even before I’d opened it because I knew that the contents would not delight – they never do. The bold print informed me that my car insurance would cost £250 more than last year. I changed my car six months ago and paid a small additional amount for what remained of the current year’s insurance so I’d expected a rise, but even accounting for the fact that car insurance rises year on year this seemed an unreasonably steep rise Curiously, whilst Money Supermarket reports that car insurance has fallen by 6.6% in the past twelve months, The Guardian reports that premiums have risen by 9% – do they pluck these figures from thin air? I wrote previously about my specific frustration with car insurance: The insanity of the car insurance industry
I logged into Compare the Market.com and got a number of quotes. Surprise, surprise, as a new customer my existing insurer‘s quote was £230 less than the one they had sent me. £230!! This is not an insignificant amount. How can a company have two such wildly different prices for selling the same product to the same person under the same conditions? And what happens to those who are not computer-savvy? Presumably they have to stump up the full cost. It’s nothing short of immoral. When I rang and asked the insurer why the huge difference, she didn’t believe me! It wouldn’t be that much she told me, so I gave her the reference number for the quote and she agreed that I was right, but still couldn’t match it, so she told me to cancel the existing policy and sign up as a new member. I did so but what a waste of my time and hers.
The Media has oft criticised insurers for penalising loyal customers and several newspapers (including The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail) have reported on the unfairness of this. The Spectator‘s headline sums it up very neatly: “The car insurance industry is a disgusting racket” (James Delingpole). But the Government only pays lip service to clamping down on such practice.