Test & seal of approval of insurances verbraucherzentralen nrw criticizes

If it were up to the insurance companies to advertise their own products, then every insurance company would have been the winner in several studies and tests at the same time. In other words, the consumer gets the feeling of a rather inflationary use of the coveted seals.

The North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Center is now blowing the same horn. She is harshly critical of most of the seals of approval that insurers adorn their products with. The precise accusations: on the one hand, market researchers are too lax in their testing, and predicates such as "test winner" or "top provider" are generally awarded too easily; on the other hand, transparency in the awarding of the distinction is by no means always a given. Reason enough to take a look at this topic and take a look behind the scenes.

In principle: Quality and test seals are used by a large proportion of all consumers as a criterion for assessing an offer. So they enjoy a high value and are among the most important confidence-building measures of the insurance companies. In the eyes of the consumer, test seals provide information that the quality of the offer has been tested by an independent institution and found to be good.

For insurers, awards are worth cash

And this is exactly where the problem lies: tricks and – let's say half-secret – strategies are used again and again to get the coveted seals. In a recent test, the Consumer Center of North Rhine-Westphalia randomly examined a total of 20 awarded test and quality seals from various institutions, including very well-known such as okotest or Stiftung Warentest.

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In order to be able to assess the quality of the seals, the references of the respective insurance companies in particular were closely scrutinized. Some sobering facts came to light in the process.

A good example: The survey shows that four different insurance companies are currently advertising the title "Fairest Motor Insurer 2014," although such an award should really only be given to one provider. Deeper research on this title revealed that the business magazine "Focus Money" – initiator of the award – used a subjective assessment of vehicle owners as a basis and, with a predominantly positive assessment on the part of the respondents, awarded the top rating without further conditions. And further: even if respondents only had a "good impression" of their insurer, the insurer could still enjoy the "fair insurer" award afterwards.

20 insurances – 550 awards

In this context, Focus Money itself criticizes, according to its own statement, "assessments that would be driven by the radiance of a brand" and refers to the insurance offers of the ADAC, which, despite the manipulations that became known, still received the rating "Fairer Insurer" at the awarding of the in-house car award.

And also the total conclusion of the test of the consumer center North-Rhine/Westphalia turned out then expectedly soberly: The 20 insurers examined adorn themselves altogether with no less than 550 awards – u. a. "Top insurer", "test winner", etc. What significance should a test or quality seal still have for the consumer under these circumstances??

Much better it does not look there also with the last test of the magazine okotest. A total of 27 home insurance policies were tested here. The result: 6 insurers took first place, while all the other 21 companies received the "2" award. Space" rejoice. Such a result is hard to beat in terms of meaningfulness!

Hence the advice of the consumer advice center NRW

Consumers can continue to use test and quality seals as a guide in the jungle of different offers, but they should always question them critically and, as a final decision criterion, always objectively compare the offer in question with those of other providers. Instead of a boastful title, consumers should also pay attention to important rate features when comparing car insurance policies.