Consumer complains about information not being provided for alternative policies

Insurance Pricing Home insurance

Laila complained her insurer overcharged her for her home insurance after she found similar cover for less online.

What happened

Laila bought her insurance online. She let her policy automatically renew each year until four years later when the cost of the policy increased significantly. She called her insurer to see if it could lower the renewal quote and offer any discount. It was able to increase the excess (the amount she would need to pay towards any claim), which reduced the premium by £70.

Laila accepted the reduced price and the changes, and renewed again.

The following year Laila’s policy increased in price again and this time she decided to look online to see whether she could find her cover for less. She found a policy provided by the same underwriter she was with, but through one of its other brands. The cover met her needs and was similar to her existing policy but cost £230 less for the year.

Laila felt she should have been offered this policy when she called her insurer the previous year to discuss her premium and felt she’d been overcharged for the previous year, so she complained to her insurer. 

Unhappy with the response, she decided to contact our service and make a complaint.

What we said

We asked Laila’s insurer to share the call it had with her about the renewal quote. It was clear from the call that Laila was looking to find her insurance for the cheapest price possible and the insurer did what it could to reduce the cost of her insurance.

The adviser Laila spoke to wasn’t able to access online policies or any details of policies for the other brand she found online, which was underwritten by the same underwriter. So they weren’t able to see or offer the policy Laila found the following year. There also weren’t any other cheaper policies available through it.

We were satisfied the insurer had acted fairly when Laila called to talk about the cost of her insurance and met her needs in this call. Although there was another policy available with the same underwriter, we didn’t think it was reasonable to expect this should have been discussed with Laila in these circumstances. The policy was provided under a different brand name and was only available online so the adviser Laila spoke with would have had no access to this and wouldn’t have been able to see the prices available or that the similar cover was cheaper than what they could offer.

We understood why Laila was concerned that the business might have done something wrong. But didn’t ask her insurer to do anything else with her complaint and we explained why we felt it had acted fairly.