Price comparison websites (PCWs) often take the flack when there are complaints about the soft and highly competitive UK motor market, but our research into the Irish motor market at Consumer Intelligence would suggest that they are not the be all and end all. Price competitiveness is thriving in a market in which customers largely get quotes and buy directly from insurance brands.
The average premium across all age groups in Ireland is €1,067 with the lowest premium (Aviva) coming in at €838 and the highest (Bank of Ireland) at €1,339. That isn’t a huge gap from top to bottom across 14 providers, suggesting that the Irish motor market has a healthy competitive edge.
Of those that came in under the average premium, the cheapest (in this order) were Aviva, Post Insurance, Allianz, 123.ie, Chill.ie, FBD, SuperValu and AIG. From the cheapest to the most expensive amongst these players, there is only €182 in it and there is only €2 splitting the cheapest two, Aviva at €838 and Post Insurance at €840.
When we break the data up into age demographics, the nuances within this competitiveness become clear as does the fact providers are being very selective in their chosen sectors.
For example, among the under 30s where the average premium is €1,648, the three cheapest providers are Aviva (€1,030), Post Insurance (€1,068) and 123.ie. (€1,118) — again, very little separating them. It could be assumed that they are pricing to grow but when you consider the quoting behaviour of these providers, it is clear that while they may be pricing for growth, they are very clear about the risk factors they are willing to take on. The ‘no quote’ rate for these providers ranges between 42% and 53%. They are competitive, but it is measured competitiveness.
In the other age groups (30-39, 40-49 and 50+), the competition becomes fiercer. Across these age groups, all providers are just over, just under or at the average premium and the ‘no quote’ rate drops off significantly (3% - 36%).
However, although the Irish motor market may be competitive, it is still significantly more expensive across most age groups compared to the UK.
Between the ages of 30 and 50, the average premium in the UK is £646 in contrast to the £825 (converted for comparison) average in Ireland and the disparity is even more stark in the over 50s market where the UK average of £392 is dwarfed by the Irish average of £709.
The only demographic where this is reversed is in the under 30s where the average quote is £1,414 compared to £1,608 in the UK.
All of this tells us two things. First, PCWs may be a significant driver of price competition in motor but it is not the be all and end all. Other factors can drive just as much keen pricing and Ireland is clear evidence of that. And second, with the differences in pricing so marginal, the need for data and insight to inform pricing changes is as acute in Ireland as it is in the UK, with or without aggregators.
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