Aviva's latest UK television campaign features a man in a wig and false moustache being unmasked by an insurance company executive and dragged away by guards. His crime? Posing as a new customer to achieve lower premiums on his home and motor insurance.
Aviva's campaign leads on the fact they don't operate a "loyalty penalty" - where existing customers' premiums increase year-on-year and they are locked out of attractive teaser rates offered to new customers.
Price comparison sites have helped to bring some transparency, but the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) believes consumers are getting a raw deal and they may step-in. The FCA estimates there are 6m people in the UK overpaying by £200 per year on average and the FCA intends to do something about it.
One proposal has included banning auto-renewals on policies so customers are compelled to shop for insurance every year. This would be a profound change for the industry.
If these changes do go through, it could have profound consequences for the UK insurance industry. Price comparison websites (PCWs) stand to benefit from higher rates of switching and share prices of these companies have been rising on the news.
For incumbent insurance companies, lean digital acquisition strategies will become more critical as legacy books could disappear instantly and customers may need to be profitable in year 1. Top-shelf customer experience will become imperative, as policyholders will have to deal with their insurer more regularly.
Some large companies have been able to ignore what the modern customer demands and live off their legacy books. Ending auto-renewal could either force them to change or accelerate their demise.
UK regulators unveiled a range of proposals designed to stamp out the so-called “loyalty penalty” — the practice of charging existing customers far more than newcomers for their motor and home insurance.