Interest.co.nz, the market-leading resource for interest-rate comparatives in New Zealand, has 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. The new section is now live at www.interest.co.nz/insurance.
Publisher David Chaston said: "It's just part of a planned expansion programme that will see us meeting the needs of readers thirsty for credible financial information to help them make informed buying decisions".
The 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".
Interest.co.nz says that obtaining the data contained in the extensive extra coverage has been a challenge with limited co-operation from insurers. Only a few companies fully co-operated. However, this has not blocked the website operator from mystery-shopping to get the latest information for this service.
Interest.co.nz has also 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 Mr Grant. 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.