Interest.co.nz has today expanded its range of free financial comparisons to include insurance products, giving readers the opportunity to save hundreds of dollars and improve coverage for their property, car or travel insurance. The website has been operating for nine years and has focussed on providing comparisons for mortgages, savings and term deposits, and credit cards. Publisher David Chaston said: "The site has been in expansion mode since the day it was created and providing insurance news and comparative data aimed at consumers of these products was a no-brainer." "It's just part of a planned expansion program that will see us meeting the needs of readers thirsty for credible financial information to help them make informed buying decisions". The new section is now live at www.interest.co.nz/insurance This insurance service will initially focus on Home, Contents, Cars and Travel and it provides a detailed assessment of most major insurers and their products operating in both the direct and broker markets. It also presents a number of profile-based comparisons of premium rates. Insurance Editor John Grant stresses that price is only one factor in selecting an insurer. "You need to understand what you are buying, and "˜cheap' is not always the best, and the "˜most-expensive' does not necessarily mean the best value". Obtaining the data contained in this extensive extra coverage has been a challenge with limited co-operation from insurers. Only a few companies fully co-operated, but this was not something to block us from mystery-shopping to get the latest information for this service. David Chaston said "We have learnt much from our work with banks and finance companies and building close working relationships, and we hope this will spread to insurers, especially when they see the public interest in what we offer." The site is available for general access as from today at www.interest.co.nz/insurance The Sunday Star Times covered the launch of the insurance comparison service in depth.
Interest.co.nz has just completed what it says is the largest insurance mystery shop ever conducted in New Zealand and the results show an industry where a lack of transparency masks huge variations in prices, said John Grant, previously with financial giant GE, who carried out the survey. The mystery shop also highlighted there could also be very large differences in the premium costs from different insurers offering similar policies, sometimes running into the hundreds of dollars. Some clear patterns emerged in the mystery shop. For example, mutual insurer AMI has some of the sharpest car insurance rates but the mystery shop also showed that an insurer offering attractive premiums for one kind of insurance may be far less competitive when quoting on another kind. Similarly, an insurer offering sharp deals in one place, or to one customer demographic, might not be making such an effort to sell insurance in another place, or to a different group of people.