South African insurance companies are benefiting from the route to market provided by comparison platforms, with consumers enjoying great deals in the process, writes Hippo.co.za CEO Bradley Du Chenne.
The current marketplace for insurers is highly competitive, and this is exacerbated by the stagnant (or, in some cases, decreasing) market size. Comparison platforms, like Hippo.co.za, provide insurers with a route to market that complements their existing distribution channels, while providing consumers with a trusted, transparent way to ensure they’re getting the best deals.
Comparison shopping is here to stay. It’s growing exponentially in several markets, driven by consumer demand. Insurers should consider how best to proactively engage with these comparison sites in a way that supports their business goals.
While some insurers are concerned that comparison will lead to margin erosion and disintermediation, Hippo.co.za provides its partners with access to our vast comparative pricing data on an anonymised basis. This data is gathered and presented in a format that allows partners to run analytics on all of the pricing criteria that our user interface gathers, showing each organisation’s pricing relative to the others for a selected data set. This shows where the partner’s brand ranks based on price while maintaining the other insurers’ anonymity. This insight can then be used to optimise for margins and sales conversions, and can be used for pricing across all distribution channels.
This is a proven approach. It works in geographies where insurance comparison is more established. For example, in the UK it has resulted in insurer margins remaining relatively unchanged compared to what they were before the advent of comparison sites. And not only have insurers in those markets used these pricing insights to build more efficient pricing models, but their policy-acquisition costs and marketing expenditure have also reduced and become more efficient.
It’s also important to point out that Hippo.co.za is not only about price comparison. We pride ourselves on our product feature comparison functionality. The Hippo.co.za call centre also addresses those concerns around price comparisons. If an insurer’s unique selling proposition is built around product and service, for example, they can choose to make their product available to the Hippo.co.za call centre only, which allows the call centre agent to better present the product features. They can also decide which customer segments they would like to attract, and therefore only display a price on the Hippo.co.za interface for those specific segments.
Hippo.co.za also offers various commercial terms options, which include an upfront price per lead, a price per policy, or ongoing commission. It all depends on what the insurer prefers. Similarly, we also offer sales fulfilment to insurers who either don’t have this capability or would prefer to have Hippo.co.za perform this on their behalf.
Hippo.co.za is SA’s leading insurance-comparison site, with over 210,000 monthly website visits. This number is growing exponentially month-on-month as consumers migrate to Hippo.co.za for its convenience and transparency. From those visits, Hippo.co.za passes on about 22,000 personal lines (non-life customers) and 3,500 life insurance customers to our insurance panel partners, once the customers have searched the market and selected a brand and product that they wish to buy.
Those customers are passed on to our panel on commercial terms that are highly attractive when compared to the insurers’ own customer-acquisition costs.
While we at Hippo.co.za are proud of our reputation as a consumer champion, we believe in creating a marketplace where everybody wins. Consumers need to know that they’re getting the best deal (based on more than just price), while insurers need the reassurance that their products are being showcased and compared on a fair and transparent basis, with a clear and convenient route to market.