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I'm founding a startup in Switzerland and we need insurance in case we break things. I asked for various quotations from various insurance companies in order to buy the best suited for me. I talked for ~ 5 minutes with each representative (what type of work do we do, what will our estimated income be, etc.).

In the end, I received various quotations and the most expensive one was 70% more expensive than our cheapest one for the same services.

The expensive company sent me an email and I replied saying that they were the most expensive. The representative replied wanting to know the cheapest company's quotation.

Is it ethical to share it? To me, there nothing secret by the fact that everyone could've asked the same quotation. Furthermore I suppose it can only make the market more "fluid".

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    In the US I was told by the company attorney not to share commercial terms. – paparazzo Sep 18 '17 at 16:54
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    B2C? This seems more Business-to-Business not Business-to-Consumer. – cdkMoose Sep 18 '17 at 17:14
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Certainly where I am (UK) this wouldn't be an unusual request and there wouldn't be a problem with it ethically or legally unless there were specific mentions of confidentiality on the quote (and that would be exceptionally rare - especially in a B2C context)

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    In any competitive bidding process it is unethical to share the bids with others who are bidding. – DJClayworth Sep 19 '17 at 2:05
  • When I did a lot of supplier contracting in the UK, I DID view it as unethical to share bid information, and the suppliers knew it, so the question was rarely asked. – PeteCon Sep 19 '17 at 3:22
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Is it ethical to share it?

I don't see any problem in sharing that information. They may be asking you this in order to give you a more competitive offer for their services.

There could be problems by sharing that information if you happened to sign some sort of agreement with the other insurance companies, but if that is not the case I would not worry about it.

Besides, most companies do these sorts of things often, by Benchmarking their competitors in order for them to set a reasonable price. So it is up to you if you decide to share that information, in the best case you will get a better counter offer from them.

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Is it ethical to share it? To me, there nothing secret by the fact that everyone could've asked the same quotation. Furthermore I suppose it can only make the market more "fluid"

Unless something confidential was contained in the quote, and unless there was some language between you and the other party agreeing not to share the information, there is nothing unethical in doing so.

It's common practice in business to tell a potential vendor "Company X has quoted Y. Can you beat it?" and backing it up with supporting data.

And if this new vendor beats the prior quote, you might even go back to Company X and see if they can do better. What is good for one is good for all.

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In any competitive bid process it is unethical to share bid information with others who are bidding.

In extreme cases it may be illegal.

The logic behind this is very simple. If you let company A know what company B has bid, then company A can bid one dollar less and secure the contract. B is then excluded, no matter how low their bid, which is unfair to them. Company A has no need to make a low initial bid, because all they have to do is slightly underbid company B. You might be costing yourself money, since company A could have bid lower if they hadn't known what the lowest other bid was.

You are being massively unfair to the company that had the lowest initial bid, because you are denying them business by giving information to the other company that they don't have.

Let me emphasize this again:

People can and have been prosecuted for doing this with large government contracts. With a small private sector bid like this illegality is not a problem.

The correct response to being asked for information on other bids is to tell that company to tell you the lowest they would bid for your business.

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