Technology and Transparency

Uber. Airbnb. Facebook. Skype. Technology is creating transparency. And online businesses are pushing the innovation barrier. Head of, Derek Wilson provides insights into online comparison platforms in South Africa.


  1. What was the thinking behind launching, SA’s first online comparison website in 2007, especially as Africa was not as advanced as the US and UK in terms of web technologies?


Comparison websites really started becoming well known during the dotcom bubble around 2000 in price sensitive markets such as the UK. Internet penetration and adoption helped this new acquisition channel for brand owners to grow quickly, to the point where the majority of insurance sold in the UK is through a comparison website. South Africa was always destined to become Internet enabled and we will see this developing even more in future years and months. Establishing the brand back in 2007 has given fruition to a household name and create a great user base of consumers who know to shop around before just going with the insurer that “shouts the loudest”. also compares other products such as Medical Aids, Personal Loans and even Funeral and Life Insurance, which means consumers can save more in this competitive economy.


  1. In terms of the online aggregators/comparison websites in SA, how has the market grown over the last few years?


Consumers are becoming more Internet enabled due to technological upgrades of devices such as smart phones and computers. They are also upgrading personal assets like cars and home contents as they move into higher income brackets. At the same time, more and more brands are promoting their products and services online. For this reason, more people are starting to use the Internet to compare prices and benefits of different products and services, which has resulted in a growth in the online market.


  1. What are the implications for the insurance and financial industries who partner with online quote comparison websites? Is there a threat of them having to reduce premiums and rates?


The main threat is that in an  ever-competitive environment, they will most likely lose market share if they do not feature their brand and products on Ensuring that their marketing and distribution channel management includes an aggregator like means they can more cost effectively acquire new customers than, for example, running a TV or radio campaign. The direct cost of acquisition from these media channels will certainly be much higher than acquiring new customers via


  1. How does make money or profit? charges an introductory fee to the brand the consumer chooses. In no way are the search results, rankings or the price the consumer pays influenced by this. Our platform is free to use and, unlike a broker, does not charge an additional fee to the consumer.


  1. What are your greatest milestones achieved since establishment in 2002? is currently SA’s leading insurance and personal financial comparison site, with over 140,000 visitors each month and growing fast.


  1. Your products are mainly focused on insurance and financial services. Is there a growth opportunity in terms of other products and services? is always improving the number of brands to choose from across our insurance and financial products. We provide consumers who use the service regularly a range of products and services in order to improve their financial position and we intend on continuing the expansion of our offerings to consumers.


  1. Discussions on compulsory car insurance for South African motorists has been on the table for while, especially after the R98-billion funding shortfall of the Road Accident Fund (RAF) earlier this year. What is Hippo’s take on the matter in order to assist consumers who cannot necessarily afford insurance premiums? is here to help consumers find the right product at the right price. We would encourage consumers to not simply go with the insurer that shouts the loudest in their advertising, but to rather get at least 3 quotes before buying. With, Car Insurance buyers can get up to 17 Car Insurance quotes instantly from a range of brands, saving them the time and hassle, since Hippo does all the hard work for them.


  1. What are the biggest trends you have seen in your analysis of people comparing online on the website?


We are seeing a move towards more second hand Car Insurance comparisons, since consumers are quite stretched financially at the moment. Our stats have also shown that a greater number of consumers are comparing products such as Personal Loans and Life Insurance.


  1. What is the future of online aggregators/comparison websites in the African market?


As more consumers grow their financial wealth and family status, they will need to ensure they are getting the best deal. Online comparison websites such as still have a great growth potential as technology evolves in South Africa and Africa at large.


  1. What are the benefits to consumers using an online quote comparison website vs. going to a broker who sources different quotes?


Online comparison websites such as are a new and alternative way to buy insurance, all the while putting the consumer in control. This means that the consumer is now empowered to make decisions on their own. is free to use and does not charge any commission so customers can save on, for example, traditional broker fees.


Established in 2007, is South Africa’s leading comparison website that helps consumers save money by comparing a range of SA providers across financial products such as Car Insurance, Home Insurance, Life Insurance, Medical Aid and more. is free to use and saves consumers the time and hassle of shopping around for the best deal since the website instantly retrieves real-time quotes from different providers using the latest technology. One in two people could save hundreds of Rands per month* on their Car Insurance alone by using to compare before they buy or switch to a new provider. makes money by simply charging its partners a fee when a customer chooses to find out more about their products. The results consumers see, and the order in which they are presented, are in no way influenced by the fee charges its partners or any other factors other than the price of the product being compared. 


For more information, visit us on, connect with on LinkedIn,, like us on Facebook,, and follow us on Twitter @Hippo_co_za and YouTube,


Hippo Comparative Services (Pty) Ltd is an authorised financial services provider (FSP number: 16357).


*Based on 2015 independent market research conducted by Kaufman Levin Associates.

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