Price comparison site Compare the Market is stepping up its customer service in the face of competition from modern brokers and aggregator apps. Compare the Market has launched an automated service called AutoSergei that tracks when a customer’s policy is about to expire and sends them an alert alongside a few suitable policies and prices.

This means customers avoid purchasing policies after their renewal date, which is typically a lot more expensive. It also mirrors the service offered by Brolly, a broker app that is beginning to challenge the established big four comparison sites. Brolly scans through all of a customer’s emails to find their insurance policies, alerts them when they are expiring, and offers cheaper or better suited options. AutoSergei does not switch automatically, unlike Brolly,

GoCompare previously went down this route in October 2018 when it bought Weflip, a company that automatically switches energy customers to better deals. To date it has not been used in insurance, but that seems likely to change with startups and leading players launching their own versions.

Aggregators have faced increased competition of late, with reverse auction app Honcho offering a similar proposition with a tweaked process. It flips the order so insurers bid for customers, who can accept or reject offers within the app. The big four sites have controlled the market in recent years, but a series of negative news stories following the Competition and Markets Authority investigation into pricing and the emergence of competition could reduce their dominance.

However, the four leading aggregators still enjoy a huge market share across all lines of insurance. GlobalData’s 2018 UK Insurance Consumer Survey found that 97.8% of respondents who purchased motor insurance through an aggregator used one of the big four. This combined with significant marketing spends means they remain well placed despite the first signs of a challenge. But consumers will slowly become used to this sort of service from newer providers, and auto switching and timely renewal updates are a key trend at present. Compare the Market’s introduction of AutoSergei is a clear bid to keep up.

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By GlobalData