IE has received the latest update from the CMA, on the tricky matter of the merger between the two biggest motorcycle insurance brands in the UK.
Oddly enough, it was once accepted that Norwich Union – the old name for Aviva – could have about 70% of the ENTIRE TWO WHEELER market with their Rider policy in the 1970-1990s. That legendary policy assessed the primary risk of the motorcycle on the engine capacity, which was of course, utterly ludicrous as a Yamaha RD250 owner was generally far riskier than a BMW R100S rider. How they made money on it remains a mystery.
Times change and it will be interesting to see how Carole Nash now differentiates itself as a brand from Bennetts, which has firmly aligned itself with sportbike and weekend leisure riders. The Bike Social channel online, plus British Superbikes support over many years has proved a strong affinity marketing tool for Bennetts and employing many ex-Bauer bike journos adds that air of credibility to their content. In an era when motorcycle events and shows don’t exist and many will probably never return, any brand needs a diverse, multi-channel approach to connect with the many diferent tribes within the two-wheeled world.
The thing that you cannot substitute, or fudge, in this insurance niche is an authentic voice – bikers can spot marketing shinola in your enthusiast generated content at 100 metres. The ace card for Carole Nash is the McKenzie and Hodgson brand, for that has undeniable kudos as two former racing champions act as ambassadors. Great for sportbike owners, not so great for cruiser, tourer or commuter bikes perhaps, but still a brilliant conversational way to sell insurance, plus extra services.
As for the Swinton brand, forget it. It’s as dead as the UK High Street soon will be, cheers Boris.
Here’s the word from the CMA;
The CMA has accepted a proposal from Ardonagh to fully unwind its recent £26 million purchase of Bennetts to resolve competition concerns.
Ardonagh Group Limited (Ardonagh), which operates the Carole Nash and Swinton brands, completed the purchase of Bennetts Motorcycling Services Limited (Bennetts) in August 2020.
Following an initial Phase 1 investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) was concerned that the merger of Ardonagh and Bennetts, which are the 2 leading distributors of motorcycle insurance to private customers in the UK, could result in a worse deal for customers.
In order to address these concerns, Ardonagh has now offered to sell Bennetts – effectively reversing the deal completely.
The CMA has accepted that this offer should, in principle, be capable of remedying the competition concerns it has identified and will now consider the detailed aspects of the proposed remedy. If the proposed remedy is accepted, Ardonagh would have a fixed period of time to sell Bennetts to a purchaser approved by the CMA.
The CMA has an initial deadline of 25 November 2020 to take its final decision on whether to accept the proposed remedy and will consult publicly on the detailed aspects of the offer in the coming weeks.
The full text of the CMA decision will be published shortly on the Ardonagh/Bennetts merger inquiry case page.