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iSelect enters trial with QBE – but the phone rules

iSelect has secured a six-month trial selling QBE Insurance’s home and contents products as part of a broader push into general insurance.

It has also signed agreements with Steadfast’s strata insurance specialist CHU and Hollard-owned residential property underwriting agency Arcadia Insurance.

But QBE has been careful to emphasise that the deal does not extend to including the price of QBE products on iSelect’s aggregator website.

The insurer says the arrangement is about giving customers options to access its products, and comes after iSelect became a member of Insurance Brokers Network Australia (IBNA).

“The trial arrangement… reflects the fact iSelect has recently become a member of IBNA and is to provide a full broker service model to customers via telephone only in relation to QBE’s relevant product offerings,” a QBE spokesman told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“iSelect will utilise its data management skills to target demographics to best match customer needs, through iSelect having in-depth conversations with its customers about what is most important to them, rather than solely competing on price.

“Overseas experience demonstrates that comparison services focus consumers on price instead of product coverage, with the potential to lead to poorer consumer outcomes, and QBE continues to be reluctant to participate in such an aggregator model.”

iSelect CEO and MD Scott Wilson told the company’s AGM last week that the life and general insurance segment has so far underperformed “given the challenges in the broader life insurance market and some near-term issues within our business that we are now addressing”.

“Having said this, our general insurance business is expected to provide some positive momentum later this financial year as we launch a full home and contents offering… and we continue to engage with other major insurers in Australia to join our marketplace.”

An iSelect spokesman says landlord insurance will also be available when the “full home and contents service” is introduced later this year.

The service also provides customers with support from brokers.

“Customers will be able to compare multiple products as well as purchase policies directly via iSelect’s digitally enabled broker model,” the spokesman told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“Comparing online via our website will simply be a first step in our comprehensive needs analysis, with customers encouraged to have an in-depth telephone consultation with one of our highly trained home and contents insurance brokers.

“We will also be incorporating a range of tools and resources to assist customers in correctly valuing their assets and to help minimise the potential of underinsurance.”

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