Blog: The Flat Pack – Affinity insurance deals that failed to catch on


Ikea has long been touted as a good candidate for an insurance affinity tie-up given its brand and store footfall.

So this week's news that it has started selling child and pregnancy policies - with a trial of home insurance products planned for the coming weeks - is not totally surprising.

But the furniture store should not crack open the Absolut vodka and sit down for a celebratory plate of meatballs just yet, because for every major successful affinity deal there are those that fall short.

As such, here are a few insurance affinity deals that either never materialised or failed to live up to expectation. Or as we are calling them in honour of Ikea - The Flat Pack.

In 2005 Jerry McDonald, president of Avon UK, said the business was "a sleeping giant", which may introduce motor insurance and credit cards into its product range.

Mr McDonald added the diversification would exploit the female focus of Avon, mentioning that for car insurance, in a pre-gender ruling world, premiums reflected the generally good claims records of women drivers.

But sadly, the offering never materialised.

With the likes of Confused, Compare the Market, Moneysupermarket and Go Compare making hay, there was a proliferation of failed aggregator launches during the tail end of the last decade.

From Saga's Confident Cover to Tesco Compare, these businesses simply failed to break the stranglehold of the big four and were shut down as a consequence.

However, one of the most interesting stories involved a white label tie up between Beat That Quote and Argos, called Argos Compare.

When it was launched in 2009, Argos Compare claimed to be the only aggregator offering cashback on both home and car insurance. John Paleomylites, Beat That Quote founder, commented: "Argos' entry into the market, with its enhanced consumer offer, signals a new era in choice and value for price comparison services and we are proud to be providing the platform and content."

However, it fell foul of the regulator at the beginning of 2012 with a statement from the retail giant noting: "Following revised guidance by the Financial Services Authority regarding the regulation of UK price comparison websites, Argos has placed under review and the site is currently unavailable to new business. We are working to resolve the situation as soon as possible."

The resolution was to put the site to bed once and for all.


In 2005 Morrisons was strongly tipped to follow its major rivals Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda into the insurance fray.

A year after it acquired Safeway - which had a financial services offering that it discontinued - a spokesman said: "We are focusing on our core business at the moment, as we are mainly a food grocer retailer. Safeway had looked at financial services but we handed back its banking agreement to Abbey when we bought it.

"We are not looking at this as an integral part of the strategy and we will not have anything to talk about for at least six months. However, we would never rule it out completely and we are keeping an eye on the market. Once we are satisfied that the Safeway stores are fully integrated we may look at our options again."

Three years later there were more rumblings that a tie-up could be in the offing for 2009. To date Morrisons still does not offer motor, household or travel insurance.


Looking to mirror the success of rival Boots, Superdrug teamed up with Insure & Go to pilot travel insurance in 2003. It then reached a full roll out in 2005 to the retailer's 730 high street stores.

At the time, Insure & Go was very bullish about the potential, increasing its workforce by 40% to take advantage of the opportunity, with founder Perry Wilson commenting: "If just one person a week takes out cover in each store, that is already a few million pounds. We will target the run-of-the-mill person."

However, the relationship turned frosty at the beginning of 2006 when Superdrug withdrew its product literature from its shelves to make way for a revamped layout - without informing its insurance partner. The chemist no longer sells insurance.

 So there are four affinity deals that to date have fallen flat. Do you have any other examaples?

If so comment below.

  • LinkedIn  
  • Save this article
  • Print this page  

You need to sign in to use this feature. If you don’t have an Insurance Post account, please register for a trial.

Sign in
You are currently on corporate access.

To use this feature you will need an individual account. If you have one already please sign in.

Sign in.

Alternatively you can request an indvidual account here: