FSA PPI Tables Confuse Rather than Empower Consumers Says British Insurance

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The long-awaited Financial Services Authority PPI comparison tables only serve to confuse consumers, rather than empower them, warns Simon Burgess from independent provider, British Insurance.

Simon Burgess, MD British Insurance

There are so many product variations with differing exclusions, terms and conditions, it's impossible to be able to collate the data in a way that allows consumers to cut the 'wheat from the chaff' and work out what's really a good deal.

Braintree- Essex The long-awaited Financial Services Authority PPI comparison tables only serve to confuse consumers, rather than empower them, warns Simon Burgess from independent provider, British Insurance.

Designed to enable consumers to shop around for cover and identify products that can meet their needs, the tables were recently launched by the FSA in response to Competition Commission recommendations for more consumer information and greater clarity on costs.

However, Burgess believes the tables do not allow consumers to compare products on a like for like basis. He comments; "There are so many product variations with differing exclusions, terms and conditions, it's impossible to be able to collate the data in a way that allows consumers to cut the 'wheat from the chaff' and work out what's really a good deal."

Consumers logging onto the FSA's comparison table section are asked to input their age, whether they're a UK resident and if they want PPI for a mortgage, personal loan or credit card. There are options for the tables to show products that are available independently from the loan or credit card provider, or include ones that are tied into them.

Burgess continues: "Given the FSA promotes free choice and advises 'a loan or other borrowing should not be refused if you decide not to buy PPI' - why include products that are only available if you take out the mortgage, loan or credit card? Those who do opt to view products that are linked to the provider then have to name up to three they would like to view. The FSA allows you to choose from 48 mortgage , 86 unsecured loan and 60 credit card PPI providers. And this is before the tables are presented. The whole point of this initiative was to enable consumers to purchase PPI separately from the provider, so this is somewhat hypocritical.

"Consumers wanting to limit their options and only view independent products also receive a staggering array of information. A 44 year-old looking to protect a £400 monthly mortgage repayment would be faced with 482 PPI providers in a table, a 35 year-old wanting to protect a loan repayment of £250 per month has 86 products to choose from whilst a 26 year-old with credit card repayments would need to compare 60 providers offering premiums per £100 of benefit."

Burgess concludes: "I welcomed the announcement of the FSA launching this service, but these indecipherable tables will be of no use to consumers at all. How can they possible identify products that meet their needs when there's so much to choose from? Hasn't the FSA heard the saying 'less is more'.

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