GAP Insurance Intervention Evaluation Paper

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Evaluation Paper 18/1: Anevaluation of our guaranteedasset protection insuranceinterventionJuly 2018

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance interventionFCA Evaluation PapersWe welcome views on this Evaluation Paper.You can send them to us by email at or in writing to:Economic and Financial Analysis Department, Strategy & Competition Division, FinancialConduct Authority, 12 Endeavour Square, London, E20 1JN.AuthorsJennifer Brauner, Lawrence Charles, Jasjit Sansoye and Lachlan Vass.The authors work in the Economic and Financial Analysis Department at the FCA.AcknowledgementsWe are grateful to Sumit Agarwal for his academic peer review, advice, and guidance. Wewould like to thank PwC Research for conducting the consumer survey.All our publications are available to download from If you would like toreceive this paper in an alternative format, please call 020 7066 9644 or emailpublications graphics or write to Editorial and Digital team, FinancialConduct Authority, 12 Endeavour Square, London, E20 1JN.

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance interventionContentsExecutive summary11Why we are evaluating our guaranteed asset protection insuranceintervention62Our evaluation approach103Results: Market context analysis174Results: Sales analysis225Results: Price analysis306Results: Consumer survey findings387Results: Overall effects498Lessons learned55

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance interventionExecutive summaryEvaluating the impact of our add-on guaranteed asset protection(GAP) insurance market interventionEvaluations inform our decision-makingEvaluation is part of our Mission’s decision-making framework. Testing the effectivenessof our remedies helps us make better decisions.In April 2018, we published Discussion Paper 18/3 on our proposed framework for postintervention impact evaluations. This is one of the ways we assess the impact of ourinterventions. Post-intervention impact evaluations differ from other approaches as theyfocus on quantifying the impact of our intervention. 1In our 2018/19 Business Plan and the proposed evaluation framework, we said that wewould conduct 3 pilot evaluations to measure the impact of past interventions in a waythat controls for factors that may have influenced the market.An evaluation of our September 2015 add-on2 GAP insurance intervention is part of thispilot.What is GAP insurance?GAP insurance is predominantly sold as an add-on when someone buys a vehicle. Itprovides cover for a financial shortfall that can happen when: a customer’s vehicle is written off or stolen the motor insurance pay-out does not pay back its original value at purchase or theremaining finance value (if the vehicle was bought on finance)Our 2014 market study highlighted concerns about add-on GAPinsuranceIn July 2014, we published the final report from our general insurance add-on productsmarket study. The study found consumer harm in the add-on GAP insurance market. Itestimated total consumer overpayment for add-on GAP insurance of around 76 millionto 121 million a year (out of an estimated market size of 152 million).We found that: vehicle sellers enjoyed a strong point-of-sale competitive advantage, meaning thatthere was little or no pressure on sellers to lower the price a lack of information, including about alternative providers, prevented consumersfrom being able to compare products many consumers did not know that they could buy GAP insurance separately(‘standalone’) elsewhere, often at a lower price1The proposed framework sets out how we intend to use ex post impact evaluation (EPIEs), or postintervention impact evaluations, to assess the impact our interventions have had on consumers, firms andmarkets. Evaluations feed back into our decision-making and how best to use our diagnostic and remedy tools.2Consumers can buy GAP insurance when buying a vehicle (add-on) or separately (standalone).1

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance intervention as with other add-on products, consumers’ focus on the main product (in this case,the vehicle) led to many buying add-on GAP insurance when they may not havewanted and/or needed itWe introduced measures to deal with these concernsTo address this, we intervened in 2015 by: making it mandatory for vehicle sellers to provide sufficient information to consumers requiring a pause in the sale (‘deferred opt-in’), meaning that vehicle sellers can startthe sales process but cannot conclude the GAP insurance sale for 2 clear daysWe believed that having both time and information would enable consumers to decidewhether they need GAP insurance, and to shop around if they do.We expected: improved competition between add-on and standalone sellers better consumer outcomes during the purchasing process, including:–an overall decrease in add-on GAP insurance sales, given our concern aboutconsumers buying, potentially, unsuitable add-on products–more consumers shopping around and buying GAP insurance from standaloneprovidersEvaluation relies on a range of evidenceOur evaluation follows the post-intervention impact evaluation framework’s high-levelapproach and focusses on quantifying the impact of our intervention. We do this withreference to our pre-intervention expectations, which are based on the cost benefitanalysis (CBA) in the GAP insurance Consultation Paper (CP14/29).3Figure 1 summarises our evaluation approach. We use a mix of transaction-level data,consumer survey insights, other publicly available data, and insight from firms and tradebodies to evaluate the impact of our intervention. To understand these data, we conductdescriptive statistical and econometric analysis.43A post-intervention impact evaluation does not consider all aspects of the intervention or re-run a CBA.For example, compliance costs are not a central focus of our analysis, though we do present some high-levelfigures as provided to us by the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA).4We do this to diagnose the relationship between: a data series of interest (eg sales volumes); and arange of factors that affect these data series at the same time. This approach helps us to isolate, given a level ofstatistical confidence, the underlying correlation between many variables and the one of interest.2

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance interventionFigure 1: Our evaluation approachSource: FCAOur intervention has had a positive impact, but less than weexpected before interveningOverall, we find that our GAP insurance intervention has had a positive impact. Wesummarise our main findings in Figure 2.After our intervention, consumers are more engaged decision-makers and shoppingaround has more than doubled. Add-on GAP insurance sales are 16% to 23% lower thanthey would have been without our intervention. Some of the reduction in add-on sales isaccounted for by higher standalone sales, which have increased from 6% to 8% of allGAP insurance sales. The evidence suggests that some consumers decide, on reflection,not to go ahead with the purchase.3

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance interventionFigure 2: Our main resultsSource: FCAOur intervention has helped to reduce considerable harm in the market. We estimate thatthere are around 26 million to 28 million of ongoing consumer benefits a year after ourintervention. This exceeds firms’ total costs of implementing our intervention, including aone-off cost of 5 million to 8 million and an ongoing cost of 1 million a year.Our intervention has achieved its objectives, although not by as much as we expected.Due to our intervention, we expected that: add-on sales would be up to 32.5% lower the share of sales of standalone would increase to up to 40% add-on prices would be up to 17% lower, with the price differential between add-onand standalone narrowingIn particular, the impact on the standalone’s share of total sales and on add-on priceshas been much less pronounced than we expected.Our findings are consistent with recent academic literature on demand-side interventions.The literature indicates that although well-designed demand-side remedies can beeffective, their impacts tend to be modest. That said, even modest impacts can representsignificant gains for consumers.4

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance interventionLessons learnedWe view evaluations as an opportunity to learn from previous interventions and to feedany insights into our current and future work.The main lessons we learned from this evaluation are: This intervention had a far greater impact on sales than prices:–In the case of sold products (goods or services a consumer was unaware of beforethe seller introduced them) with a point-of-sale advantage, we are likely to reducetotal purchases, rather than diverting consumers to the non-point-of-sale market,if we try to break the point-of-sale advantage–Add-on sellers play an important role in introducing the product to buyers, so thestandalone market might be smaller in their absencePre-intervention expectations should be based on a range of evidence. Our consumersurvey overstated the impact of the intervention on switching to the standalonemarket, and underestimated the number of consumers who would make a moreconsidered purchase given the information and time to do so. This evaluation willhelp to provide useful evidence when thinking about similar future interventions.5

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance intervention1 Why we are evaluating ourguaranteed asset protectioninsurance interventionThis section provides an overview of the intervention that we evaluate in this report. Wealso set out the report’s scope and structure.What is guaranteed asset protection (GAP) insurance?GAP insurance is predominantly sold as an add-on when someone buys a vehicle. Itprovides cover for a financial shortfall that can happen when: a customer’s vehicle is written off or stolen the motor insurance pay-out does not pay back its original value at purchase or theremaining finance value (if the vehicle is bought on finance)Figure 1.1 gives an example of how this might work.Figure 1.1: How GAP insurance worksSource: FCAGAP insurance is available for new, used, leased, business-owned and privately-boughtvehicles. Consumers can buy GAP insurance in connection with buying the vehicle (anadd-on buy) or separately (a standalone buy).6

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance interventionOur concerns about add-on GAP insuranceIn July 2014, we published our general insurance add-on products market study finalreport, examining how selling general insurance products as an add-on to a primaryproduct affects competition.The study found significant consumer harm in the add-on GAP insurance market. Weconcluded that consumers received poor value for money from this product.We found that: on average, only 10 in every 100 paid in add-on GAP insurance premiums was paidout in claims (ie an average ‘claims ratio’ of 10%, which was much lower than othergeneral insurance products5) between 2008-20126, of the 5 add-on products considered, GAP insurance accounted for over half of theestimated overpayment of add-on premiums7 consumers often bought add-on GAP insurance without having previously thoughtabout the product or shopped around for alternatives8We set out the following reasons for these findings: vehicle sellers enjoyed a strong point-of-sale competitive advantage, meaning thatthere was little or no pressure on them to lower the price a lack of information, including about alternative providers, prevented consumersfrom being able to compare products many consumers did not know that they could buy GAP insurance separately (as astandalone), often at a significantly lower price, elsewhere similar to other add-on products, consumers’ focus on the main product (in this case,the vehicle) led to many buying add-on GAP insurance when they may not havewanted and/or needed it, with the add-on mechanism weakening consumers’decision-making and engagement9We introduced measures to deal with these concernsIn 2015, we proposed 2 measures for add-on GAP insurance sellers to address theidentified harm:1. Providing written information on GAP insurance (‘prescribed information’). This meansthat add-on GAP insurance sellers (also known as distributors) must provideinformation to potential buyers. This should encourage consumers to shop around,including by advising them that they can buy the product elsewhere.5We used a conservative estimate of a competitive baseline using other general insurance products of30% to 50% for a claims ratio. This was based on the 2012 average claims ratio for general insurance productsof 64%. Guaranteed Asset Protection insurance: a competition remedy, CP14/29, page 565.1General insurance add-ons: Provisional findings of market study and proposed remedies, MS14/1, Table7 76 million to 121 million a year of the estimated total overpayment across five add-on insuranceproducts – travel, personal accident, home emergency, GAP, and gadget – of 108 million to 216 million a year).GAP insurance was c.30% of the estimated add-on market size of the five products considered. General insuranceadd-ons: Provisional findings of market study and proposed remedies, MS14/1, Table 6.1856General insurance add-ons: Provisional findings of market study and proposed remedies, MS14/1, page9General Insurance add-ons: Final report – confirmed findings of the market study, MS14/17

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance intervention2. A pause in the sale (‘deferred opt-in’). This means that add-on GAP insurance sellerscan start the sales process but cannot conclude the GAP insurance sale for a setamount of time (2 clear days)10. This gives consumers time to consider whether theyneed the product at all and to shop around if they do.These measures came into force on 1 September 2015. We believed that these tools(time and information) would enable consumers to better assess whether they neededGAP insurance and to shop around if they did.As a result of our intervention, we expected: improved competition between add-on and standalone sellers of GAP insurance, withstandalone sales increasing relative to add-on sales better consumer outcomes, namely better-informed and more active decision-makingduring the purchasing processAssessing the impact of our GAP insurance interventionAs stated in our Mission, evaluation is a critical part of getting our interventions right.Finding out what impact past interventions have had helps develop a strong evidencebase to guide our decisions.11 These decisions can include which issues to prioritise andhow best to intervene to tackle harm.We published a proposed framework outlining the way we measure the causal impact ofour interventions in April 2018. The framework explains: why we do post-intervention impact evaluations12 how we choose specific interventions to study how we ensure that our evaluations are robust, impartial, and, therefore, credibleThis report follows the proposed approach to post-intervention impact evaluations, and isone of three pilot evaluations. We chose it, in part, because the deferred opt-in elementwas a novel measure to address the harm found in the FCA’s first market study.The aim of this work is to understand:1. the impact of the 2 measures2. whether the intervention met its objectives3. whether our pre-intervention cost benefit analysis (CBA) was able to accuratelycapture the scale of the intervention’s impactWe focus on the main expected changes after our intervention. As set out in theproposed evaluation framework, we do not re-run our pre-intervention CBA.10Consumers can make contact with the vehicle seller to complete the GAP insurance sale the day after itis introduced.11We note that: i) FSMA requires us to have regard to the FCA exercising its functions as transparently aspossible when making policy; and ii) the principles for regulators under Legislative and Regulatory Reform Actrefer to regulators being both transparent and accountable.12report.We refer to post-intervention impact evaluations, or ex post impact evaluations, as ‘evaluations’ in this8

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance interventionReport structureWe structure this report as follows: Section 2 sets out an economic framework for this evaluation Section 3 summarises the market context Sections 4 and 5 show what has happened to GAP insurance sales and prices,respectively, before and after our intervention (with further details of the analysis setout in the Technical Annex) Section 6 looks at possible explanations behind our findings through a consumersurvey (with further details of the analysis set out in Annex 2 and Annex 3) Section 7 comments on how overall outcomes have changed in the market after ourintervention Section 8 concludes with the main lessons that we have learned from this evaluation9

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance intervention2 Our evaluation approachThis section sets out how we evaluate our GAP insurance intervention, including: how we expected our intervention to work the available evidence on compliance the pre-intervention expectations we tested to see how well our intervention hasworked the methods and data that we used to test these pre-intervention expectationsHow we expect our intervention to workFigure 2.1 below sets out a causal chain of our GAP insurance intervention. A causalchain, pathway, or logic model in this context describes the way that an interventionaddresses the identified market failure and reduces harm, leading to costs and benefits.It does this by linking the intended intermediate and final outcomes with the interventioninputs, activities, processes, and theoretical assumptions.Figure 2.1 shows how our 2 measures achieve the intervention’s intended objectives.10

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance interventionFigure 2.1: Causal chain of our 2015 GAP insurance interventionSource: FCAWe have developed the evaluation approach, set out in this section, with reference toFigure 2.1.Evidence suggests that firms have implemented the measuresThe first stage in Figure 2.1 is to consider the evidence on how far firms have broadlycomplied with our intervention (process evaluation).Evidence on compliance is important for supporting the causality in our analysis. But weneed to be careful how we interpret any lack of evidence or widespread non-compliance:11

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance intervention1. No knowledge about compliance: If we had no information on compliance and ourintervention appeared to have had no impact, it might be that nobody complied withour intervention. Our conclusion about the intervention’s efficacy would then be basedon an incomplete evidence base and could be wrong.2. Evidence of widespread non-compliance: Our estimates may understate13 theintervention’s potential impact, which could have been greater if more firms hadcomplied.Our focus has been on establishing an evidence base on compliance so we can concludewhether there is widespread non-compliance. We do not need to know whether there is100% compliance to draw valid conclusions.For the GAP insurance measures, we have considered a range of evidence, including: transaction-level data from firms, capturing dates to understand the deferred opt-inmeasure’s implementation consumer survey insights, capturing both measures (see Section 6) existing work and knowledge within the FCA’s Supervision division informal engagement with firms and trade associationsBased on the available evidence, there does not appear to be widespread non-compliancewith our intervention. We are confident that our findings are not influenced, at least to amaterial extent, by a lack of compliance.We test our intervention against our expectationsTo see how well our intervention has worked, we begin by testing outcomes against ourpre-intervention expectations (see Table 2.1). These are based on Figure 2.1.But this analysis would not isolate the impact of the intervention. This is because weneed to assess how well our intervention has worked relative to what would havehappened without it. This is our counterfactual. For many reasons, it can be hard toidentify a counterfactual so we highlight these instances throughout the report. In thesecases, we provide reasons why we cannot establish a counterfactual, and an analysis ofhow the market has changed over time (ie a non-causal analysis).Having considered the effects above, we assess the benefits of our intervention andcompare them to the costs.There are many other ways to measure the impact of an intervention beyond expressingthe costs and benefits in monetary terms. We base the pre-intervention expectations inTable 2.1 on a series of measurable metrics, such as sales volumes, prices, andconsumers’ survey responses.These metrics are helpful in assessing our intervention’s impact. But they should beconsidered with this market in mind. If, for example, consumers are shopping aroundmore after our intervention, then this is likely to be a positive development. This doesnot mean that, to its extreme, we think that all consumers should shop around in thismarket (or any market). Throughout the report, we present our view of what has13It could overstate the intervention’s impact if the analytical approach did not control for other marketwide changes that may have influenced, for example, add-on GAP insurance sales. We use econometrictechniques to isolate the impact of the intervention from other changes. Hence, we do not consider that this is alikely outcome.12

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance interventionhappened to these metrics. We do this to show whether observed changes after ourintervention are, in our view, positive or negative outcomes.Table 2.1 sets out these pre-intervention expectations. Each row in Table 2.1 sets out: a question that, when answered, will help understand the extent to which ourintervention has worked our pre-intervention expectation, as informed by the CBA where, in this report, we present findings from our analysis to address the questionTable 2.1: Questions to answer and pre-intervention expectations to test#Question toanswerPre-intervention expectationReportsectionwhere wepresentfindingsFor a given number of GAP insurance sales (which wasbased on the total number of car sales), the share ofadd-on GAP insurance sales to total GAP insurancesales falls.This means that the share of standalone GAP insurancesales increases.41Has the share ofadd-on GAPinsurance sales tototal GAP insurancesales decreased?2Our pre-intervention CBA assumed, implicitly, that carsales would remain constant.Our intervention reduces add-on GAP insurance salesHas the share of(all other things being equal).add-on GAPIt does this in two ways:insurance sales tocar sales decreased? some people choose not to buy the product some people switch to standalone GAP insurance 14Hence, the share of add-on GAP insurance sales to carsales falls.The price of add-on GAP insurance either: does not change, or falls15 because of lower demand after ourintervention, partly due to increased competitionfrom the standalone market16We set no pre-intervention expectation about the priceof standalone GAP insurance. Hence, it stays the same.3What has happenedto add-on andstandalone GAPinsurance prices?4This depends on what has happened to: the share of sales between add-on and standaloneWhat has happened17GAP insuranceto the average GAPinsurance market prices in the individual segmentsprice?Based on pre-intervention expectations 1-3, theaverage market price falls.45514There were 600,000 add-on GAP insurance sales a year in our pre-intervention CBA. We estimated that:i) 10% (60,000) sales would be lost due to add-on consumers no longer buying GAP insurance at all; and ii)22.5% (135,000) add-on sales would move to the standalone market (under the ‘no price change’ scenario).Hence, we estimated that 32.5% of add-on GAP insurance sales would no longer take place owing to ourintervention.15Our pre-intervention CBA set out two scenarios for add-on GAP insurance prices: i) no price change; andii) a fall in price of 16.7%.16Even if there are factors such as adverse selection that might lead to, on average, riskier purchasersbuying the product following our intervention.17In this report, we use the mean as our average measure unless we state otherwise.13

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance intervention5What has happenedto consumers’likelihood ofshopping around?More people shop around (our pre-intervention CBAestimated this at around 25% of add-on GAP insuranceconsumers).As a result, more people buy the cheaper standaloneGAP insurance.66What has happenedto consumerengagement andawareness of GAPinsurance after ourintervention?Consumers are more aware of the product and engagemore with the purchasing process than they didbefore.1867What has happenedto consumerunderstanding of theadd-on GAPinsurance product?This was not explicit in the pre-intervention CBA. But itis a matter of interest for the post-intervention analysis.Add-on GAP insurance consumers understand theproduct better than before. Product understanding nolonger differs materially between add-on andstandalone GAP insurance consumers.68What has happenedto consumer surplusafter ourintervention?Consumer surplus19 increases after our intervention,relative to a ‘no intervention’ scenario.In the pre-intervention CBA, we estimated this to be inthe region of 31 million to 54 million a year.79What has happenedto the average addon GAP insuranceclaims ratio?This was not explicit in the pre-intervention CBA. But itis a matter of interest for the post-intervention analysis.The add-on GAP insurance claims ratio increases.This assumes that, all other things being equal, add-onGAP insurance prices have fallen.7What were the costsof complying withthe intervention?Our pre-intervention CBA estimated the one-offcompliance costs to be between 2 million and 5million. This was revised upwards after consultation tofall between 5 million and 20 million, with minimalongoing compliance costs.One-off compliance costs are in line with this revisedfigure. Ongoing compliance costs are minimal.710Source: FCAWe use various methods and data to test these pre-interventionexpectationsThe rest of this section sets out the different methods and data used to test the preintervention expectations in Table 2.1.Table 2.2 summarises the analytical methods we used for each pre-interventionexpectation (ticks indicate method used). We also use qualitative insights fromstakeholder (eg firms, trade bodies) engagement across most of the pre-interventionexpectations. This helps us understand the impact of our intervention from firms’perspective and provides a valuable sense-check of our data analysis.18In our pre-intervention CBA, we considered that around 30% of add-on GAP insurance consumers whodid not shop around pre-intervention would do so post-intervention (based on their answers to a consumersurvey).19Consumer surplus is an economic measure of consumer benefit. It is the difference between the highestprice that a consumer is willing to pay and the price set by a firm for a good or service.14

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance interventionTable 2.2: How we address each pre-intervention expectationPreinterventionexpectation#a) Descriptivestatisticsb) Econometricanalysis of firms’data1 2 3 4 c) Consumer surveyinsights5 6 7 8 9 10 Source: FCAWe explain these methods in further detail below.a) Descriptive statisticsDescriptive statistics provide context on what has happened in the market. They set outoverall trends and changes after our intervention. We can, therefore, see whether ourintervention is associated with changes in the market.We collected GAP insurance transaction-level data from 41 firms (underwriters20 anddistributors21) operating in the GAP insurance market.22 These data covered the periodbetween September 2013 and August 2017 (ie two years either side of the interventiondate).We also requested data on complete wheel protection (CWP) from firms selling23 GAPinsurance. CWP is an add-on product that covers tyre and alloy wheel repair costs. Wedid this to help build our counterfactual.Our Technical Annex sets out further details about the data that we collected from firmsand how we have used them.We summarise these data using summary statistics, charts, and tables throughout thereport. When doing this, we present any currency-based data (eg prices, economicvariables such as income) following an adjustment for inflation (ie in real terms).2420Underwriters take on the insurance risk and meet the obligations of paying out if a consumer makes asuccessful GAP insurance claim.21Distributors provide GAP insurance either directly to consumers (ie standalone) or to the final retail seller(eg a vehicle dealership).22We did not request data from vehicle dealers, but we know which dealers sold GAP insurance in ourdata. The Technical Annex outlines our approach in further detail.23Firms distributing or underwriting CWP policies.24When diagnosing how changes in price levels affect the consumption of a product or service, it is commonpractice to strip out the effects of general inflation and express price changes in ‘real terms’. That is, changes in15

EP 18/1: An evaluation of our guaranteed asset protection insurance interventionb) Econometric analysis of firms’ dataEconometric analysis helps us diagnose whether th

GAP insurance is available for new, used, leased, business-owned and privately-bought vehicles. Consumers can buy GAP insurance in connection with buying the vehicle (an add-on buy) or separately (a standalone buy). 1 Why we are evaluating our guaranteed asset protection insurance intervention

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