Press release

Co-op ordered to tell drivers the cost of no-claims bonus protection

Drivers will get better information about the actual price of Co-op Insurance no-claims bonus (NCB) protection, following action by the CMA.

Car keys and papers

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued directions to the insurer insisting that it takes immediate action to provide price information to thousands of affected motorists, to comply with the Private Motor Insurance Market Investigation Order 2015.

From 1 February, on the product affected, Co-op will be charging a fixed rate for all drivers renewing their NCB protection with Co-op Insurance.

Prospective new customers will be given 2 quotes, one including NCB protection and one without, so that they can calculate the actual price of the protection. Customers will also be given the option of telephoning the company in order to get the information.

In addition, Co-op Insurance has been ordered to ensure that, by no later than 1 October 2017, all customers must be able to see the price they will be charged on the company’s website and in written offers and documents.

Adam Land, Senior Director of Remedies, Business and Financial Analysis, said:

It is very disappointing that a major company such as Co-op Insurance has taken so long to provide this vital information to its customers.

Before the Order came into force, the price and benefits of NCB protection were often unclear to drivers. We expect the Co-op to fully comply with the terms of our directions immediately so that motorists can search more easily for the best deal for them and decide whether or not they want this optional cover.

This Order followed the CMA’s market investigation into private motor insurance. Among other things, it requires that private motor insurance providers offer better information on NCB protection by 1 August 2016.

Co-op Insurance was the only one of the major insurers which failed to meet this deadline, and since then the CMA has been working with the company to help ensure that it complies with the law as soon as possible.

Notes for editors

  1. The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. For CMA updates, follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr, LinkedIn and like our Facebook page.
  2. All information on the private motor insurance market investigation is available on the case page. The Order was published in March 2015. Directions are a formal enforcement instrument used to ensure that an Enterprise Act 2002 remedy imposed by the CMA, in this case the Order, is complied with fully. In the Co-op’s case the CMA only set out the steps Co-op must take leading up to full compliance which is required by 1 October 2017. Failure to comply with a direction may lead to action before courts.
  3. Based on figures provided by the Co-op, the CMA estimates that its breach of the Order is affecting 4,000 new business quotes a week plus 1,270 renewals a week. Accordingly, since 1 August 2016, when compliance with the Order was supposed to have been achieved, around 90,000 new business quotes and 30,000 renewals will have been affected.
  4. The CMA has been in close discussion with the Co-op as it has tried to move towards compliance. The CMA has focused on ensuring the best outcomes for the Co-op’s customers in light of the circumstances around its change of IT platforms.
  5. Co-op Insurance has confirmed to the CMA that since 1 August 2016 it has provided to its customers purchasing NCB protection (both new customers or renewals) all the information it is required to other than the Implied Price of NCB Protection (as defined in the Order), and that it has been fully compliant with the Order in respect of all its car insurance products with the exception of its Co-op Insurance Car Insurance brand.
  6. Directions have been used before to ensure compliance with a market remedy, namely the small and medium enterprises banking behavioural undertakings.
  7. Co-op Insurance is a trading name of CIS General Insurance Limited.
  8. Media enquiries should be directed to Simon Belgard (simon.belgard@cma.gsi.gov.uk, 020 3738 6472).
Published 19 January 2017