Insurance brokers are incensed by a mystery shopping exercise that accuses them of charging customers ‘wallet busting’ prices.
The survey claims rely on a broker rather than a price comparison web site can push up car and home insurance premiums by up to £500 a year.
The difference between the best broker and online deals varied by £310 for car cover, £123 for travel policies and £43 for home insurance.
Brokers, led by the British Insurance Brokers Association, their trade body, are furious with the research and they claim customers should focus on quality of cover rather than price.
“It is unfortunate that this is a negative piece in the wider context of much more positive broker coverage that we often receive,” said a BIBA spokesman.
“We don’t agree with the sentiment of the article so will continue our work with this publication and other national media to raise the profile of brokers and educate the wider public on the benefits of brokers, the complexity of policies, the need for advice and the need to focus on cover and not price alone.
“Brokers can provide explanation and advice for what are often complex issues. A travel policy for example is often promoted as a simple policy but it is anything but with over 20 sections of cover.”
So do insurance brokers damage your wealth?
Often insurance brokers provide the same price comparison service as a web site by offering a personal service to customers.
Customers who can gain the most are high-net worth individuals looking for personalised cover for custom designed homes, collections of art, jewellery and antiques and business customers.
Many brokers focus on offering a personal consultancy service rather than competing on price against the web.
If you are seeking standard car or home insurance, the best cover and cheapest cover may well come from a comparison site, but if you need a more tailored insurance quote, try a broker.