by Wally Ripper
Today TAL has announced that it has taken its shareholding in online life insurance comparator Lifebroker from 10% to 100%. Lifebroker provide quotes from different life insurance companies, one of which is TAL. Lifebroker also sits behind a number of other online comparison websites including Compare the Market and You Compare.
Brett Clark, CEO of TAL Life, commented that Lifebroker will complement TAL’s existing offerings in the retail, direct and group insurance markets. TAL already owns Insuranceline which distributes TAL backed insurance products direct to the public.
However the question has to be asked whether customers will be aware that the comparison website they are using is owned by one of the companies being compared. In December 2012 ASIC issued a warning to comparison websites that it would focus on cases where “there was insufficient disclosure relating to website operators who were related to the issuer of the insurance brands being compared”.
Therefore you would expect that Lifebroker, and the other websites it sits behind, will need to clearly disclose the 100% ownership by TAL to potential customers. Choosi has already made such disclosures in relation to the brands it compares, Aussie Direct Insurance, Guardian Insurance and Real Insurance, which belong to Choosi’s owner Hollard Financial Services Pty Ltd.
As Managing Director of Insurance Watch I am proud to report that Insurance Watch (and its licensee Synchron) are both privately owned.
Also, unlike a number of other so called “comparison” websites we actually do compare quotes and benefits online and place policies with all of the insurance companies displayed on our website.