APRA is quoted in this article as having concerns about price comparison websites, and the impact that exposing pricing errors made by companies to consumers keen to make savings might have.
They have some point to make when cases where a consumer moves to realise a price saving are offset by a sudden price increase due to higher than expected claims relative to a price-point the insurer did not really mean to offer.
However, two points concern me about this issue being attached to the role of price comparison services, (which I suspect is an editorial one on the part of insurancenews.com.au, rather than being an approach taken by APRA):
- I am not sure that the principle of client-first is being properly applied. Consumers may benefit a great deal, and that benefit is our first concern
- If there are pricing errors, what is the right course of action, is it a) to limit price comparison, so that those errors are rarely found or b) identify and correct them?
There are many powerful critiques of price comparison websites available, however. The UK's FCA has identified a number of concerns from the way the comparisons are presented, to sites offering no advice while seeking to create the impression that they do give advice.
Personally I think that price is only one part of the picture. Product quality, financial stability, and the value added by the adviser should all be taken in to account.