Author Archives: Lewis Miller

Relatively Calm

Although competition remains fierce in the aggregator arena, the rush for volume has slowed as the motor market moves closer to break-even point says Tom Cooper, Executive Director, iGO4.

With Ernst & Young recently suggesting the motor market would be close to break-even point for 2011, the hard market appears to have been exited for a period of relative calm. At present there is no mad rush for volume in these improving conditions, and the small fall of 2.6% could be attributed to the emergence of Aviva’s Quote Me Happy brand — enabling Money Supermarket to establish clear water between itself and the competition — and smaller niche brokers emerging, particularly telematics providers. Competition remains fierce and last quarter the best-priced brand changed more often than it stayed the same. An 18 month trend in best price steadily increasing, has also been reversed, with a 5% drop in the past six months as the motor market moves back towards profit.

Challenging for number one It seems to be a case of ‘as you were’ for the main direct writers on motor, though Octagon, LV, Esure/Sheilas’ Wheels and 1st Central appear to be challenging Admiral’s long-held number one position. In the broker arena the various Kwik Fit brands – especially Express — have come to the fore, followed by Swinton, whose absence from Compare the Market is hurting the latter’s competitive position. Nonetheless, Compare the Market benefi ts from having a high calibre of BGL-administered brands to call upon and the Budget brand itself punches its weight. Thames City, the Hastings brands and those of Igo4, are next in line.

If you wish to read more please view the Post Magazine Article

*Taken from the Post Magazine January 2012

iGO4 partnership with Markerstudy

iGO4 Limited’s inaugural partnership with Markerstudy

New direct brands launched: Zenith Insurance and Zenith Insurance Plus

[Peterborough, 24 November 2011]

iGO4 limited and Markerstudy announce their partnership which has enabled Markerstudy to deliver new direct brands Zenith Insurance and Zenith Insurance Plus. These Motor Insurance brands are scheduled to go live on 24th November 2011.

Clive Fulcher, Head of Direct Products commented: “Markerstudy identified a significant opportunity to complement its current distribution via brokers by creating direct products. With our experience of underwriting non-standard footprints we believe we can extend our reach without changing our underwriting philosophy. To achieve these goals we needed a direct brand and the associated skill set, which is where iGO4 came in.”

Matt Munro, MD, iGO4 Limited said: “iGO4 Limited is delighted to launch its first partnership, having invested heavily in the infrastructure and skill set required to support this and other partnership models. Our experienced team has brought numerous successful insurance propositions to market and this, combined with our tailor made infrastructure will ensure we deliver Markerstudy’s expansion goals.”

The new brands Zenith Insurance and Zenith Insurance Plus offer a standard and an enhanced Motor Insurance proposition, giving customers choice. The products will vary from what is available in the broker market and will be built specifically for the direct business. The real time pricing and other features of the iGO4 model will allow Zenith to test markets and price accordingly. Distribution will be primarily via aggregators, leveraging iGO4’s strong relationships with these sites.

Matt Munro said: “Our partnership with Markerstudy is built on strong foundations, not least the importance they have placed on anti-fraud measures. At iGO4 we want to be at the forefront of introducing insurer protection measures and lead the market on counter fraud and customer validation. These synergies bode well for success.”

Clive Fulcher commented: “Our growth plans are exciting but I must stress that this is incremental business to Markerstudy. Our broker market remains a priority and is not expected to drop below 80% of our overall written business. The overall goal for GWP is £50million within 5 years with a year one aspiration of £10million.”

Mixing Things Up

Softening motor rates, more movement between best-price brands and augmented ancillary income emerge as aggregator themes.

Having witnessed the motormarket coming to its senses over the past 12 months, biting the bullet and putting through the increases required to give it a chance of returning to profitability, rates have actually now softened by just under 3% in the last quarter.

The 12th and latest iGO4 Price Comparison Watch has found best-price decreases for two out of every three of the 500 quotes measured. Furthermore, as competition increases, there has been more movement of best price between brands; 40% of the quotes had a different brand showing as most competitive compared to the last report in July. Noticeably there was a much wider mix of brands coming out on top and a greater number of niche players and telematics providers are pinching top spot when the quote circumstances are right. The battle between direct writers and broker brands continues to be closely fought, with the directs edging things by 56% to 44% this time around.

While Admiral continues to be a leading player, there has been a slight contraction of its dominant position, even on Confused. It’s main challengers in the direct channel are Esure and its sister brand Sheilas’ Wheels. Octagon, LV and 1st Central also stood out alongside the ever competitive Swiftcover, as well as Axa’s direct proposition.

If you wish to read more please view the Post Magazine Article

*Taken from the Post Magazine October 2011

Choppy waters ahead?

In the 10th quarterly price comparisonwatch, Tom Cooper finds no slowdown in quote volumes but converting them into sales represents a growing challenge.

In the latest price comparison watch — the 10th consecutive quarterly study — we have once again seen premium increases that will help the move back towards profitability. Insurers appear to have well and truly got to grips with the aggregator channel and Aviva’s recent decision to ‘officially’ come back into the arena is further proof that, if you want to be a serious player in private motor, you have to
participate on these sites. However, if insurers are beginning to enjoy profitable aggregator strategies, is this at someone else’s expense?
Instinctively one might assume it would be the consumer facing some hefty annual hikes in their premiums. But our analysis shows that, while rises have been experienced across the board, the brunt of this is being borne by particular segments, such as young drivers.

July 2011 – Choppy waters ahead?

  • No signs of a slowdown in growing aggregator quote volumes
  • BUT….. converting quotes into sales represents a growing challenge
  • Aggregators’ competitive footprint narrows as brands concentrate on profitable business
  • Change in underwriting approach looms large on the horizon – how will aggregators respond?

If you wish to read more please view the Post Magazine Article

*Taken from the Post Magazine July 2011

Shaking up the market

Google buying Beat That Quote has given the aggregator market a shake-up, claims Tom Cooper, as the 10 million quotes per month barrier is broken.

OUR quarterly price comparison watch has followed the rise of Beat That Quote with interest and last spring’s commentary indicated it was the fastest growing aggregator on the back of an excellent customer journey and superb IT platform (www.postonline.co.uk/1601100). As such, it has always been the most likely candidate for acquisition. We have also been vocal in expecting Google to make an entry into this space; it had already dipped its toe in the water on life and, given its dominant position in online advertising, this was a natural next step. From the outside, its acquisition of Beat That Quote would appear to represent a perfect match and both sides can be happy with the potential opportunity inherent in the £37.7m deal (www.postonline.co.uk/2032607).

The big question now is, what will Google do with the aggregator? The search engine giant will have to tread carefully to ensure that the credibility of its position as an impartial customer
champion is maintained, with the branding of the proposition an interesting challenge.

April 2011 – Shaking up the market

  • Google purchase of BeatThatQuote shakes up the market
  • Price comparison sites driving even more quotes but conversion rates falling
  • Narrowing of competitive footprint as Brands start to cherry pick business
  • Young driver segment still losing out

If you wish to read more please view the Post Magazine Article

*Taken from the Post Magazine April 2011