Fleet trade body the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has welcomed the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s review of general practices in the insurance market, while also calling for SME fleet insurance to be scrutinised.

The FCA said on Wednesday it would conduct a sweeping examination of insurance for assets from cars to houses, with a focus on insurers’ conducts, assessment practices, and fair and transparent pricing.

“Our initial work has identified a number of areas of potential consumer harm,” said FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey. “We want to make sure that general insurance markets deliver competitive and fair prices for all consumers.”

Welcoming the FCA’s intent, the BVRLA called for its members’ SME customer base to be taken into consideration in the review, taking cue from the FCA’s recent decision to open up the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to small businesses.

“We would … like to see the scope of work expanded to include small and medium-sized businesses as they too are vulnerable when it comes to suffering the effects of unfair and discriminatory insurance pricing,” said BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney.”

“[The FOS remit expansion] is a great indicator that the regulator is keen to also protect the interests of small businesses.

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“BVRLA members are increasingly raising their concerns about unfair pricing practices where their premiums have drastically increased with little or no explanation – we believe we need greater transparency and competition in the motor insurance market.”

The FCA review’s announcement came just days after the watchdog fined insurer Liberty over its mishandling of complaints from mobile phone insurance customers.

The watchdog recorded 252,043 complains over motor and transport insurance in the first half of 2018, up 10% from H2 2017 and 4.4% 241,319 year-on-year.

The FCA is seeking views on general insurance until January 31. It plans to publish a preliminary report in the summer, and the full report by the end of next year.