- Sue Lewis is the chair of the Financial Services Consumer Panel
- She applauded MoS for raising the pressure on the regulator for change
- Lewis says consumers shouldn’t have to trawl comparison websites
Jeff Prestridge, Financial Mail on Sunday
Call: Sue Lewis, chair of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, wants changes
The Mail on Sunday’s investigation into the dysfunctional insurance market has been praised by the head of the team that ensures the interests of consumers are taken into account in the shaping of City regulation.
Sue Lewis, chair of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, says: ‘I am glad you have raised these important issues because it raises the pressure on the regulator for statutory change.’
Lewis says it is unacceptable that consumers should have to spend ‘hours’ trawling comparison websites to see whether the price of their existing insurance at renewal is value for money.
She blames both insurers and comparison websites for creating a market that does not work in consumers’ best interests – and where price rather than quality of cover is the focus.
Lewis now wants a ‘duty of care’ imposed on insurers by the Financial Conduct Authority.
This would require insurers to ensure existing policyholders are not discriminated against by paying higher premiums than new customers.
Such a duty of care would require legislation but Lewis believes it would be far more effective than current ‘treating customers fairly’ rules which she says ‘do not work’.
She would also like insurers to give customers more information when they are invited to renew a policy.
The panel chair says the new requirement for insurers to tell customers both the cost of their existing cover and the renewal price is ‘hopeless’.
She says insurers should also spell out what a new customer would be charged for the same cover.
By doing this, it might stop the practice of new customers getting cheaper cover than loyal ones.
Finally, Lewis would like insurers to focus on simpler products, making comparisons easier for consumers.