Aussies demanding canberra set up a independent comparison website to help them find goodvalue cover

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THE head of the worlds leading finance product comparison website has urged Australian politicians to equip consumers with tools to combat extremely powerful insurers and banks.

Elisabeth Realfsen, editor of the Norwegian government-backed Finansportalen, said only political measures could counter a lack of information equilibrium between consumers and providers.

Her comments come as thousands of Australians who face rising premiums demand Canberra intervene by setting up a comprehensive, independent comparison website to help them find good-value cover.

Ms Realfsen said she recognised financial services providers objections to simplistic commercial comparison sites for having too much focus on price and too little focus on quality.

According to a report by European authorities, the questions consumers are asked on Finansportalen were put together with insurers and their trade organisation.

The dialogue is based on the questions all the companies separately ask their customers, to be able to calculate prices for insurance, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority said.

Ms Realfsen said: Finansportalen encourages consumers to compare both quality and price of insurance products before making their choice.

The sites potential to enhance consumer outcomes was called out three months ago by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in a submission to a Productivity Commission inquiry into data availability and use.

Still, the lobby group for the countrys $28 billion-a-year home and car cover industry, doesnt want a bar of it.

News Corp Australia asked the Insurance Council of Australia if it was willing to have a discussion with the Federal Government about a public sector-run comparison service.

The ICA responded by referring News Corp Australia to a previous statement, which said it rejects calls for a government-run insurance aggregator website and any compulsion to participate.

Meanwhile, about 17,000 people have joined a campaign for group-discounted car and home insurance. The Big Insurance Switch, run by One Big Switch, began last month as new research showed home insurance premiums had risen 38 per cent in four years.

To sign the petition and for more information on the Big Insurance Switch go to this site

There is no obligation to take up any offer. News Corp Australia and One Big Switch will earn a commission from any accepted deals. News Corp is a shareholder of One Big Switch.