Brand Separation and comparison websites. Do they really provide a mechanism for informed choice?

Mackenzie Ross Insurance broking & risk management

Australians are spoilt for choice when it comes to most things and insurance is no exception. Finding a product and company that suits both your circumstances and budget can feel like trying to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. One way for consumers to find out and compare different products is by the use of comparison websites. But are they all cranked up to what they claim and offer a fair comparison?

IAG own both CGU and NRMA which is the largest insurer of Australians. They also own SWANN, Mutual Community General Insurance, SGIO, SGIC, WFI -Wesfarmers Insurance, Lumley, 70% of Insurance Manufacturers of Australia (RACV) and Coles Insurance.

SUNCORP own SUNCORP, GIO, VERO, AAMI, Shannon’s, APIA, Promina (formerly Royal & Sun Alliance), Just Car, InsureMy Ride, Terri Scheer, Bingle, CIL, Asteron & Tyndall and are the 2nd largest insurer of Australians.

QBE ( formed by BurnsPhilp as North Qld Ins Co Ltd, QI, Q = Qld B= Bankers & Traders, E= Equitable Probate & General Insurance, Australian Eagle, Trade Indemnity Australia, Mercantile Mutual, bits of HIH, Elders and Cuna Mutual in Australia. QBE is the largest Australian insurer in Australia however 69% of their business is overseas business.

YOUi is owned by a South African insurer called Outsurance.

Budget Direct is owned by a South African Insurer called Auto & General. Auto & General Insurance also have Dawes which is owned by Calliden which specialises in the prestige end of the market and won’t even write the business that Auto & General will write so there is no true comparison of insurers, only comparison of brands.

Real, Woolworths and Al Insurance are all owned by South African Insurer called Hollard Insurance Company.

Ever seen the quirky meerkat on TV claiming to Compare the Market? The meerkat is owned by Budget Holdings Limited which would explain why six out of nine car insurance products they compare are offered by Auto & General.

Now let’s look at the other comparison website “iselect”, they claim to provide choice. Only ten out of the 12 brands they compare are written by Auto & General.

Progressive is owned by an American insurer believed to be the largest motor insurer in Chicago.

All of this is called brand separation. When one company has 15 brands like Suncorp do, most consumers will no doubt have some form of Suncorp product.

Whilst a duopoly in the Australian market can never happen, questionable marketing practices that lure people in under false pretences such as “i select” and “comparethemarket” are well and truly out there.

Whilst you all moan about Woolworths and Coles holding such a large market share of the grocery game, have a think about who insures your assets?!?

Next time you want a fair comparison and real advice on the best product that suits your circumstances call McKenzie Ross to assist you in making an informed decision.

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