Listening to the news this morning I'm sure I was as delighted as all of you will be to hear that the Admiral insurance group is still making a healthy profit despite these trying times. That certainly is a relief.
Anyway, it was during the piece that they read out exactly what the Admiral Insurance group covers and something caught my attention. The following is part of the list;
Admiral - the Group’s first brand, set up in 1993 - mainly targeting those who traditionally pay higher than average premiums, including drivers under-35 and those living in big cities.
Bell - set up originally as Bell Direct in 1997 - its main target market being drivers with zero no claims bonus.
Diamond - created for women in response to a need in the market place for insurance specifically for young women drivers, which is not only good value, but also as hassle free as possible.
elephant.co.uk - is the UK’s first wholly online car insurance service. The brand passes on cost savings generated by being an online brand to customers in the form of lower premiums.
Gladiator Commercial - is the Group’s commercial vehicle insurance broker that was launched in April 1998. The Company acts on behalf of several of the largest commercial vehicle insurers in the UK.
Confused.com - is an intelligent, automated car insurance shopper. Customers input their details once, and receive quotes from all the major car insurance websites.
Balumba.es is the Admiral Group's first European company and launched in November 2006.
Conte.it is the Admiral Group's third European company and was launched in May 2008.
Rastreator.com is our Spanish price comparison site, it was launched in March 2009. Currently it offers online car insurance comparison services.
Did you spot it? No, no - not the soul crushing villainy of the capitalist hydra whose beast spouts many heads but has just one belly...
The price comparison companies. Admiral own both a large share of the many insurance 'brands' and the resources that are meant to help you choose between those brands.
Now, I've scoured those websites and there's something very interesting. Whilst most users will assume they are receiving independent advise they never claim to be independent, they never list which insurance companies they link to and they never make clear that they are part of a constellation of insurance companies that has a direct financial interest in increasing the market share of their companies over the opposition.
Questions: Is this not a conflict of interest? Should they not be obliged to make it clear which insurance companies they compare the prices of and end up recommending? Should they not have a big sign on their sites saying "Warning: you are asking the chef how you should be cooked."