The unethical practice of price walking

By Martin Schultheiss

Most are familiar now with the FCA’s intention to ban the practice of price walking for general insurance but, with the rules still in consultation, should advisory firms sit back and wait for the proposed ban to come into effect, or be acting with more urgency?

The FCA’s proposal to prevent insurers from price walking will mean that every customer will be offered a new business price at renewal. This would outlaw a practice which has helped providers pocket an extra £1.2bn in fees from six million policyholders it identified in October 2019, as paying high or very high premiums.

Price has always been the dominant factor in any insurance purchase decision and although a low price doesn’t necessarily translate to good value, it’s easy to assume when comparing like for like cover across multiple insurance providers, that the cheapest price may seem like the best option.

However, in the interim of any regulation, Boards and Senior Managers should take some time to consider their customers best interests in relation to how they are comparing these policies. The reality is that what appears to be the cheapest first-year price, may ultimately become a bad deal if not calculated over the lifetime of the policy.

Uinsure has never price walked. This strategy has been under pressure given the nature of a very competitive market, but our practice and offering has remained consistent since our inception in 2007.

It’s an ethical standpoint that we believe is fairer and more transparent for customers, while ensuring a better outcome. Of course, refusing to price walk has occasionally meant that our first-year prices might be slightly higher than those of our competitors, but our fair pricing strategy has meant that prices are consistent and honest with no hidden fees and, therefore, representing fairer value of the lifetime of the policy.

As we move forward, our strategy will remain the same for what we believe is the ultimate benefit of the end customer and this will ensure all of our customers are treated fairly, in return for the trust they put in us.

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