Huk-Coburg versus Allianz: Are comparison portals the tip of the iceberg in the car competition?

Should you or shouldn’t you. The two largest German car insurers Huk-Coburg and Allianz are using different tactics for the use of comparison portals shortly before the start of the hot car season. Allianz has made a 180-degree turn and attacks Huk directly. Huk remains calm and fully trusts the chosen path.

“If Huk-Coburg is the market leader in the automotive segment, they deserve it, but it doesn’t have to stay that way! This statement by Joachim Müller, Chairman of the Board of Management of Allianz Versicherungs-AG, shows the company’s plans for this autumn. It should be the top position. To this end, Allianz have made a U-turn in their comparison portal strategy. Just like Huk-Coburg, the insurer actually wanted to forego the use of this option, but apparently there was a change of opinion: Verivox will also include Allianz tariffs in its selection in the future.

The reasons for Allianz

Recently, the previously quoted Müller wanted to retain the digital strategy, as he recently confirmed at the 6th Allianz Car-Day.

Nobody knows the reasons for the change in the sales strategy, except Allianz, which is why “Versicherungswirtschft-Heute” asked for it.

“More and more people are using online comparison portals in the information and purchasing process of car insurance. We are responding to this change in customer behavior by placing our digital automotive products with Verivox  since October 1st, 2018. This will enable us to learn more about the needs of our target group. When working with Verivox, we also keep an eye on customers who are accustomed to contact with intermediaries. Upon request, this customer group has the option of choosing an Allianz insurance brokers directly after signing the contract. This means that our exclusive representatives also benefit from the agreement. We will decide what effects this will have on our corporate strategy in dealing with comparisons after the “Abwerberunde”, the Munich-based company writes.

What makes the portals so attractive?

The portals are easy to use, accessible online at any time and fast, which is why they are enjoying constantly increasing popularity with customers. And of course no customer wants to pay unnecessarily much for his car insurance. A study shows that portals can help. “Customers are most likely to find the cheapest car insurance rate on comparison portals and save an average of over 200 euros a year,” is the result of a representative study by the Rosenheim Technical University.

Such reports are more likely to attract more than fewer customers to the portals, which is why Allianz change of course seems understandable, but whether the Munich-based company will use them to further exaggerate its already grumbling insurance brokers is another question.

The market leader goes its way

Huk-Coburg sticks to its digital tactics and does not use the possibilities of the controversial portals which, according to some market competitors, produce high costs and do not always work fairly – currently, the BVK filed once again a warning against Check 24.

“We continue to refrain from participating in comparison portals with our companies. This also applies to HUK24. The main reason for the withdrawal is the cost argument. Our car insurance policies are among the cheapest on the market in terms of price. In order not to endanger this price position, we have decided to dispense with the relatively expensive comparison portals and to no longer be listed there.”

With its idea of the motor vehicle insurance of tomorrow, Huk relies on ecosystems instead of portals. In order to serve customers in the same way as today, the company wants to be more relevant in the future by offering so-called ecosystems. For example, not only car insurance will be offered, but also, for example, car service in partner garages or smartphone apps that help customers find parking spaces or gas stations. The aim is to “remain visible” to the customer.

The abandonment of online portals is not without its problems, despite the existing strategy; after all, “online sales account for around a quarter of business, with a growing share,” as Huk confirms.

However, the company considers itself well prepared for the autumn battle over the contracts: “As usual, we will be represented with very low-priced products in the coming turn of the year. Business during the year has been satisfactory and demonstrates the good positioning of our tariff”.

While Allianz has clearly verbalized its claim to the top position, market leader Huk-Coburg speaks of growth: “As of today, we are offering a new car tariff with a very favorable premium level. Rankings are not important to us, but we want to grow further.” Is Huk-Coburg cheating a little bit here?

The article appeared on 9.10.2018 on Versicherungswirtschaft-Heute, written by Maximilian Volz.