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Price comparison websites - changing the insurance market?

16/12/2013

The rapid emergence of price comparison websites such as Compare the Market and Moneysupermarket has had a major effect on the insurance industry's marketing policies, making the value awareness of consumers a huge factor in their choice of firm.

With price sensitivity now an important part of how the market is assessed by consumers, the roles available to marketers have changed. Over the last decade, companies have had to become more sophisticated in how they generate their prices in response to the popularity of aggregator sites.

Some 56 per cent of buyers had used an aggregator in the last two years, while 52 per cent switched or purchased directly through one of these platforms, according to a report from Consumer Futures. But what does this mean from a recruitment perspective? Fundamentally, it's created a high-value market for talented aggregator managers.

Because there are only a small number of industries in which this role exists, given that price comparison sites have only penetrated public consciousness over the last decade or so, it can be difficult for firms to find suitable candidates for this position.

The geographical spread of insurance marketing teams is also an issue, meaning it can often be difficult to convince potential hires to make the move to a different part of the UK.

Research from Datamonitor suggested the aggregator system is likely to mature over the coming years, with 30 per cent of personal lines customers using these sites to select the cheapest option, putting more pressure on recruiters to establish a strong talent line when bringing in personnel to manage this aspect of a business.

As ecommerce becomes a crucial acquisition channel for many insurers, the need to bring in aggregator managers is increasing, but how can firms find the best talent in a limited market?

Taking an active approach will pay dividends - companies need to form links with specialist recruitment firms that can give them access to a broader swathe of potential employees. This is especially true because the majority of aggregator managers are unlikely to be actively looking for work, meaning retained search is the best way to winkle out possible candidates.

Given the unique nature of retained search assignments, it would be wise to work with recruiters who have good experience in the right areas, as they will find it easier to pinpoint the right targets.

Naturally, this also means that insurance organisations will need to put their best foot forward and offer strong pay packages and opportunities for advancement. In some ways, this is a sellers market - with aggregator managers in demand, they can afford to call the shots throughout the recruitment process.

Firms that offer clear up-stream progression are likely to be more popular - this can also reduce turnover levels, ensuring that companies do not need to get involved in difficult recruitment negotiations too often.

Insurance still leads the way with regards to bringing in aggregator managers - other industries where suitable candidates could be found include the utilities sector, telephony and to some extent retail banking.

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