The head of a leading financial product comparison website has called on the government to arm thousands of Australian consumers against “extremely powerful” insurers and banks, it has been reported.
Amidst the clamour for a comprehensive, independent comparison website that would help Aussies find good-value cover, Elisabeth Realfsen, editor of the Norwegian government-backed Finansportalen, said that only “political measures” could address the “lack of information equilibrium between consumers and providers,” news.com.au
Realfsen said she recognised the arguments made by financial services providers against “simplistic comparison sites” for having “too much focus on price and too little focus on quality.”
In a report, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority said the questions asked to consumers on Finansportalen were developed with insurers and their trade organisation.
“The dialogue is based on the questions all the companies separately ask their customers, to be able to calculate prices for insurance,” it said.
Ms Realfsen said: “Finansportalen encourages consumers to compare both quality and price of insurance products before making their choice.”
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC
) recognised the site’s potential to “enhance consumer outcomes” and “drive competition” in its Productivity Commission Inquiry into Data Availability and Use
submission three months ago.
The Insurance Council of Australia
(ICA), on the other hand, opposes such a move, saying that it “rejects calls for a government-run insurance aggregator website and any compulsion to participate,” news.com.au
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