Insurers agree to stop sharing prices

 
City A.M. Reporter
SEVEN insurance groups including Aviva and Axa Insurance UK agreed to stop sharing motor policy pricing data using an Experian tool after the UK regulator said it could limit competition.

The tool, Whatif? Private Motor, allowed insurers to access the pricing information supplied by competitors to brokers, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said in a statement yesterday.

“Being able to view competitors’ pricing strategies could potentially have led to the risk of price co-ordination, putting upward pressure on premiums,” said an OFT spokesman.

The insurance groups said they would address the OFT’s concerns by ensuring pricing information was anonymous, aggregated across at least five insurers and already “live” in broker sold policies.

OFT executive director Clive Maxwell said the commitments were a proportionate response to its concerns.

”We used our discretion to limit our investigation's scope in order to reach a quick and effective outcome,” Maxwell said.

“However, we are aware that similar market analysis tools

exist both in motor and other insurance markets and we urge companies using them to ensure that they are complying with competition law.”

Insurers Ageas Insurance, Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society, RBS Insurance Group , Royal Sun Alliance and Zurich Insurance also committed to the proposals, as did IT software and service providers Experian and SSP.

The OFT is now likely to move the focus of its investigations to other forms of insurance, such as home and contents cover, which also use price comparison tools.