Kwik Fit is one of the first names that crops up when you think of MOT testing, servicing and tyres. They have built up over 600 centres, most of which are open 7/7. The first was opened in the year 1971. The Group is today part of Japan’s Itochu Corporation. Kwik Fit Insurance Services (KFIS) that started out in 1995 has now become independent, now as a trading name of Ageas Retail Ltd. This deal went through in 2010. In recent years this relationship has been rocky. You may recall Ageas filing a High Court dispute. The owner also hasn’t made a good impression with staff noting the recent announcement that they are closing the Uddingston office.
LV (Liverpool Victoria) is one of the UK’s largest insurers. They now have more than 5.7 million customers, of which 1.1 million are members (this is a mutual organisation). A range of markets are promoted through www.lv.com. Of central importance in the range is car insurance. For market share in this niche they are the 3rd largest group (#1 DLG, 2# Aviva). Other trading brands include ABC Insurance and Highway. From checking each of these sites you can only apply through a partnered broker (they link out to BIBA to run a search). Around 50% of all sales are actually generated through brokers. Through the direct arm you’ll be welcomed with an impressive motor policy.
It has always been tricky for Privilege to stand out with Direct Line and Churchill being attached to the DLG roster. There is certainly a significant gulf between the main company (10 million customers) and this one that served 600,000 customers last year. Perhaps you’d expect more from a high profile insurer that started out over 20 years ago in 1994. DLG headlines the targeting of customers here who mainly buy through PCWs. It would so appear that TV advertising has been overlooked for this project. This hasn’t always been the case though. You may recall the now vintage posh ads featuring Joanna Lumley and Nigel Havers that attracted flack for their offensive views of the upper class.
Quote Me Happy (branded as Quotemehappy.com) was launched by Aviva in the summer of 2011. This is an online-only insurer that delivers car and home cover. This brand has benefited from TV advertising over the years, but their key route to business has flowed through Compare the Market, Confused, GoCompare and MoneySuperMarket. From checking their Facebook page they have around 12,000 fans and so it does look like things are going well, although Aviva’s main page tally has surpassed 848,000. The Quote Me Happy car insurance policy is as noted built for the web (similar to Swiftcover). In removing customer support, savings are made that they state are passed on to the customer.
Octagon Insurance Services was formed in 2009. This is a trading name of One Quote Direct Insurance Services Ltd that is part of Europa Group Ltd that is in turn a division of Brentstar Holdings Ltd. They often reference 2005 as their starting year, that is in relation to Europa’s expansion into the motor market. Octagon’s business status is headed as them acting as an intermediary. We’d consider them however to be a direct insurer. The reason being that Horizon underwrites the policy and they are part of the same group. Their current structure would be due to the insurer’s location in Gibraltar (they also need to be licensed in the UK).
Churchill was established back in 1989 by Martin Long who alongside Peter Wood had also created Direct Line as a division of The Royal Bank of Scotland. Martin Long had later moved on to form this company that RBS would later acquire for £1.1 billion. Following the financial crisis the bank was of course ordered to sell the insurance division that was done so after being rebranded as the Direct Line Group. As well as the core brand and this one in focus at www.churchill.com, DLG also operates as Privilege, whilst there is also Green Flag for roadside assistance. There is no doubting the importance of this household brand, famed for its nodding dog mascot.
AXA is one of the world’s leading insurers, serving over 103 million customers across 64 countries. Their name was introduced in 1985, but their timeline stretches as far back as 1817. This French financial services giant has for much of their history been locked in a fierce rivalry with Germany’s Allianz. Each remain evenly matched today. Here in the UK, AXA’s user base is headed as 10 million. This could have dropped down now though since they have recently sold off some of their operations. This includes their investment products that were sold on to Standard Life and their life insurance through SunLife has been sold to the Phoenix Group. These deals went through in October 2016.
The Admiral Group operates through the main Admiral arm (@ www.admiral.com) and then they have other established brands including Bell, Diamond and Elephant, as well as Confused.com. The Group is the 4th largest insurer in the UK. They have only been active since 1993, but this hasn’t stopped this Welsh business from thriving. Through their local and overseas projects they have racked up 4 million customers. Some people may wonder whether they are a broker or direct insurer since for underwriting they did reference using: “A consortium of insurers led by Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) Plc”. They do underwrite, but Munich Re take a share, covering 40% their UK business. Update: They now head “A Consortium of insurers led by Admiral Insurance (Gibraltar) Ltd”.
Aviva is the UK’s largest general insurer and one of the premier names for investments and savings. They serve 33 million customers across their 16 catered countries. In the car insurance space they have been the 2nd largest insurer over the years just outside of The Direct Line Group. As the case with DLG’s main Direct Line brand, they choose to exclude themselves from comparison sites for their central company as available through www.aviva.co.uk. There are however other owned brands that are listed that includes General Accident and Quote Me Happy. At the same time, around half of their business funnels through brokers who will have likely been found by users on comparison searches.
Swiftcover was formed in 2005 and they have been part of the AXA family since 2007. The AXA Group that is one of the world’s leading insurers also operates locally under the AXA name. Swiftcover’s sole intention was to become an efficient internet-only service. This has been achieved well at www.swiftcover.com. As soon as you join up you’ll be able to quickly print off your certificate. Any policy changes can then be made with ease for free. Of course, if this is for instance an address change then your premium would change that they quickly update for you. As well as insuring cars, they also extend to breakdown cover, plus home and van.