10th September 2014


At the risk of sounding like a broken record ('never stopped you before' say the ones down the back) the latest Switcher Index from Amarach Research for PermanentTSB has some eye-catching headlines and figures. 'Irish consumers are missing out on savings of over €2,000 a year by failing to shop around for better value on their household bills' we are told, while we're also urged to 'not fall back into old 'Celtic Tiger' habits of being complacent about shopping around for better value - and this includes household bills.'

Whilst the research itself is of interest and importance – for example, Irish people are most likely to switch car insurance (36pc), followed by electricity (26pc) and broadband (23pc). And yet, we're least likely to switch health insurance (16pc) and bank account (9pc).

Strangely, though, there's no mention or stats for those wanting to switch life insurance or mortgage protection. These are some of the easiest insurances to switch to and the savings over the life of the policy can be significantly more than other areas.

Consumers could be saving €50 a month by switching life insurance – that's €600 a year, or nearly one-third of the overall figure that the Switcher Index was quoting for all household bills. And yet, life insurance seeems to be the poor cousin when it comes to these types of surveys.

Of course, one could be sceptical and consider that, as most of us signed up to whatever life insurance/mortgage protection was on offer from the bank at the time of buying our house and we haven't bothered to change since, then it wouldn't be in the banks' interest to highlight how easy it is for consumers to switch with these types of products?

"the next time you read a headline-grabbing 'consumer saving' survey, it is worth considering what's being left out and why"
It is ironic though when the survey calls on 'consumers to save hundreds of millions of euro by switching service providers, yet despite this potential, many Irish consumers remain reluctant to switch, particularly in sectors including banking'.

Despite our best attempts for an explanation as to the omission of life insurance from the 'Switcher Index', we've been met with nothing but stony silence. So the next time you read a headline-grabbing 'consumer saving' survey, it is worth considering what's being left out and why.

In the meantime, do your own research, go online, talk to brokers like Low.ie, and find out where the real savings to your monthly outgoings can be made.