slams Direct Line’s ‘desperate’ advertising

Price comparison site has hit out at Direct Line’s new advertising campaign, branding the insurer “desperate” and “increasingly uncompetitive”. The Direct Line campaign implies consumers are missing out on additional benefits if they buy insurance via online comparison sites.

It says price comparison sites are “middlemen”, the online equivalent of insurance brokers with commission, jargon and forms. It asks: “Why go to the go-betweens when you could go direct?”

However, says such sites have driven the price of insurance down and alongside price, also compare additional benefits such as courtesy cars, discounts on other services and money-back offers.

Managing director Debra Williams says: “Direct Line’s claims simply don’t stand up to scrutiny. This looks like an act of desperation from an increasingly uncompetitve Direct Line.”

The insurance search engine says the RBS Group, which includes Direct Line, is the only major insurance group that refuses to allow consumers to compare prices against other insurers via independent comparison sites. It further suggests the reason may be because it is uncompetitive. Initial research shows nine times out of ten Direct Line’s quotes would not feature in its cheapest five quotes.

A Direct Lines spokesperson says: “All our advertising is designed to inform consumers of the benefits of being a Direct Lines customer.”

It follows news that Simon Nixon, chief executive of rival comparison site, has bought out his former partner’s share for £126m, paving the way for a floatation of the price comparison site.

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