Damages claim filed against ComparetheMarket on behalf of over 20 million UK consumers of home insurance
London, 1 November 2021 - An opt-out collective claim on behalf of over 20 million UK consumers of home insurance has been filed today by Home Insurance Consumer Action against the companies behind Comparethemarket.com.
The claim follows the Competition and Markets Authority’s finding last year that ComparetheMarket breached competition law in relation to its contracts with certain insurers listing on its website and is based on an allegation that ComparetheMarket’s conduct led to higher prices of home insurance for all UK consumers.
The claim relies on the CMA’s decision of November 2020 which found that price comparison website ComparetheMarket infringed competition law through its use of wide ‘most favoured nation’ (MFN) clauses in its contracts with 32 home insurers. The unlawful wide MFN clauses prevented these home insurers from offering consumers lower prices on other price comparison websites. The CMA concluded that ComparetheMarket’s conduct affected competition between price comparison websites and between home insurers that list on price comparison websites. The CMA also found that consumers who purchased home insurance via a price comparison website were likely to have paid higher prices as a result of ComparetheMarket’s actions.
In the proceedings issued today, Home Insurance Consumer Action claims that ComparetheMarket’s conduct caused all purchasers of home insurance to overpay for their policies, whether those policies were purchased via ComparetheMarket, from another price comparison website or purchased or renewed via other means, such as direct from an insurer. At present, it believes that it is likely that all purchases of home insurance, including renewals, made between 1 October 2015 and 1 June 2020 were affected by ComparetheMarket’s conduct, although the exact scope of the claim is subject to review and analysis of further information as the claim progresses.
ComparetheMarket is currently appealing against the CMA’s decision and the appeal is being heard in the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
Home Insurance Consumer Action, led by Director Kate Wellington, is filing the claim on behalf of consumers today so as to protect class members’ rights to redress whilst the appeal takes place. Home Insurance Consumer Action will ask the Competition Appeal Tribunal to stay its claim pending the outcome of ComparetheMarket’s appeal.
Kate Wellington, Director of Home Insurance Consumer Action Limited, said:
“Price comparison websites should play an important role in allowing consumers to make informed pricing decisions. Unfortunately, ComparetheMarket’s anti-competitive conduct achieved the opposite of this and looks likely to have increased prices of home insurance for over 20 million UK consumers. I am determined that consumers who have overpaid should be refunded and I’m delighted to be leading this claim.”
Nicola Boyle, Partner at law firm Hausfeld, who is leading the Hausfeld team representing Home Insurance Consumer Action Limited, said:
“The Competition and Markets Authority has found that ComparetheMarket infringed competition law and it is right that consumers who have been forced to pay higher prices due to this conduct are effectively compensated.”
To find out more about the claim and keep track of progress, please visit www.homeinsuranceconsumeraction.co.uk.
The case has attracted media attention:
Matt Baldwin, Coast Communications Limited
T: 07930 439739
Notes to editors
- The CMA’s decision was published on 19 November 2020 and ComparetheMarket’s appeal will be heard in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, from today for a period of three weeks. If ComparetheMarket’s appeal of the decision is unsuccessful, Home Insurance Consumer Action’s claim is likely to continue. However, if the appeal is successful on substantive grounds, it is possible that Home Insurance Consumer Action’s claim will not progress. The claim website will be updated with the outcome of the appeal once this is known and any further progress in the claim.
- Home Insurance Consumer Action Limited is a private company limited by guarantee which was established specifically to bring the claim and to seek authorisation as the proposed class representative.
Home Insurance Consumer Action Limited’s sole director and member is Kate Wellington, a qualified solicitor who also serves as the CEO of the Costs Lawyer Standards Board and as an Independent Member of the Professional Standards Committee of the Chartered Insurance Institute. Kate formerly held senior legal roles at the consumer group Which?.
- Home Insurance Consumer Action Limited is represented by global disputes law firm Hausfeld & Co. LLP and Josh Holmes QC of Monckton Chambers, Tristan Jones of Blackstone Chambers, Ciar McAndrew of Monckton Chambers and Antonia Fitzpatrick of Monckton Chambers.
- Economist Mat Hughes, from AlixPartners UK LLP, is instructed by Home Insurance Consumer Action.
- The claim is funded by Augusta Ventures.