British motor insurance rates held steady in the first quarter compared with the previous quarter, as January price cuts balanced out a recent rise in insurance premium tax, a survey showed on Monday.
The cost of an average comprehensive motor premium held at 671 pounds ($953.09), according to the latest index from price comparison website Confused.com and insurance broker and consultancy Willis Towers Watson.
“Insurers regularly cut prices in January, which has a knock-on effect for the remainder of the quarter,” said Steve Fletcher, head of data services at Confused.com, which is owned by Admiral.
“Insurance prices have been rising at a steady pace for the last 24 months, and the last few months are unlikely to be indicators of a period of stagnation,” Fletcher added.
The cost of a comprehensive policy rose 13.2 percent last year, the index showed. A jump in insurance premium tax in the fourth quarter, to 9.5 from 6 percent, was passed onto customers, insurers say. The tax has since been raised again, to 10 percent.
FTSE 100 companies Admiral and Direct Line are among the leading players in the competitive motor insurance market, where analysts say it is hard to make a profit.