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OFT cracks down on potential "price fixing" car insurance tool

Article by Simon Christopher
Posted: 14/1/2011 - Last updated: -
Rating: 5.00 5.00 (3 votes)

Seven motor insurers have been forced to restrict a data-sharing scheme that had led to concerns about price fixing.

The Office of Fair Trading ordered the crackdown on "WhatIf? Private Motor", a service offered by Experian that included details of the quotes that companies had offered brokers.

As the brokers would then use these quotes to set future prices, the system meant the companies effectively had advance notice of planned price rises by rivals, as well as an insight into the criteria each firm used to decide what category of risk a potential customer fell into.

The OFT felt this created a risk that insurers would match one another's price rises, hampering competition. It's now ordered changes meaning that the insurers will only see details that represent an average of five other firms, and they won't be told who these firms are. The system will also be tweaked so that insurers only see price changes that have already taken effect.

Ageas, Aviva, Axa, Liverpool Victoria, Royal Bank of Scotland, RSA and Zurich were the companies that were using the scheme. The OFT has now put on hold an anti-competition investigation into the companies.

PLEASE NOTE: News items are intended for information only and should not be relied upon when making insurance decisions. Due to their nature, some of the information in news stories including any references to taxation, legislation, regulation, or other issues may no longer be current.

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