The Comparison Consortium recently announced that it is to join forces with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to develop a new code of practice for online insurance aggregators. The Comparison Consortium was established earlier this year to regulate and represent the online price comparison industry.
 
In recent times, comparison websites have come under criticism from many corners. The FSA has been monitoring comparison websites to ensure that information is conveyed to the public in a clear, fair and not misleading way. Please click here and here for previous blogs on the FSA's monitoring of comparison websites.
 
Despite the efforts of the FSA, Jennifer Rose, formerly of Confused.com and Richard Mason, who is the managing director of Moneyextra.com, have said that there have been wider calls for greater regulation of price comparison websites, particularly in the last 18 months or so. The ABI and British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA) have been calling for greater regulation of price comparison websites with Rose observing "the FSA paid lip service to regulating the industry, but I think it had bigger fish to fry."
 
The Comparison Consortium have ambitions to develop a code of practice for online insurance aggregators and professional guidance for the insurers that use them. The working group, which includes the ABI, also have plans in the pipeline to develop an accreditation scheme for websites that adhere to its code of practice.
 
Rose commented that the "big players" in the market already adhered to the FSA treating customers fairly standards, but that lots of intermediaries are "not ethical".
 
Rose said that overall the objective belying the formation of the Consortium was to "establish a starting base" that would "unite" the industry, and that the "common goal is to serve the customer".
 
The FSA have yet to comment on this development.