Amazon launches UK insurance portal in latest financial services push

Amazon is launching a portal for buying insurance in the UK and challenging established comparison shopping sites in the latest signs of big tech’s growing ambitions in financial services.

The unveiling of Amazon’s home insurance comparison service on Wednesday comes a week after Apple announced a new high-yielding savings account with Goldman Sachs.

Amazon already offers online payments, co-branded credit cards, gift cards and installment services, including a Buy Now, Pay Later partnership with Barclays in the UK.

In the insurance space, it offers extended warranties for some products purchased through its online store and, in India, auto insurance through a partnership with Acko.

But the launch of an insurance aggregator in the UK could pave the way for a more expansive push into personal finance products in one of its largest non-US markets.

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Jonathan Feifs, Amazon’s general manager for payment products in Europe, said Wednesday’s launch of home and building insurance was “just the beginning”.

“Certainly there are ways to improve other insurance shopping experiences,” he said.

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant is hoping to succeed where rival Google failed at online comparison sites. Google Compare, a tool for comparing car insurance, credit cards and mortgages, was shut down in 2016 after operating for several years in the UK and a year in the US.

Amazon wants its portal to be a direct competitor to sites like Moneysupermarket, Uswitch, Compare the Market and GoCompare, although it currently only has three insurance providers.

It will allow customers to compare and buy home insurance from different providers without leaving the website. The first three partners are Ageas, Co-op and LV, with more suppliers promised “early next year”. The portal will also allow customers to review their providers.

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Amazon will receive a commission from each sale and said customer data collected during the application would be shielded from the company’s other lines of business, including its fast-growing advertising division and its Ring home security cameras.

Feifs said it would only select providers that meet the “Amazon Standard of Cover,” which includes timeframes for claims processing as well as coverage for the most common claims, and that price “is not part of the discussion.” “We are far from taking all comers to the Amazon Insurance Store,” he said.

The UK has long been one of the world’s most active markets for price comparison sites, in contrast to the US, where most insurance is bought directly.

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Online aggregators have generally benefited from the cost of living crisis as customers look for savings. Moneysupermarket shares rose 7.5 percent on Tuesday after reports third-quarter trading beat expectations.

However, the industry is still adapting to new regulations that came into effect earlier this year. These rules prevent “price walking”: a gradual increase in premiums with annual contract renewals, which in the past had encouraged switching.

UK price comparison sites have consolidated over the past two years. British magazine publisher Future completed its £594 million acquisition of GoCompare in February 2021. Two months later, ZPG, owned by Silver Lake, which owns Uswitch and property site Zoopla, acquired Confused.com from Admiral Group for £508m.

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