We know the motor insurance market is changing fast, and that different brands are reacting in very different ways in anticipation of the huge changes afoot with the FCA’s new rules around general insurance pricing practices.  

We’ve seen strategies ranging from confident cats following their strategy and riding out market changes, to pigs chasing volume and snuffling out new markets, to crowd-following sheep doing what the competitors are doing – to agile ferrets thinking ahead and picking out areas of expertise and opportunity.  

But how are those different strategies paying off, and changing the motor-farmyard hierarchy?   

Here are the highlights from Consumer Intelligence’s Insurance Behaviour Tracker from October 2020 to March 2021.  

Aviva fight back for market share  

Aviva has come roaring to the top of the table for momentum.   

Personal lines distribution has been a recent focus for Aviva, and the growth reflects its successful launch on Price Comparison Websites. They now top the momentum chart, outstripping the competition at 1.65% - well above second placed players RAC recording 0.94% market share increase.  

In its half year results, Aviva stated its personal lines GWP was stable at £1.2bn which retail sales increased by 5%, adding, “While we continued our disciplined approach to pricing and underwriting in a challenging motor insurance rating environment, we increased market share, benefitting from the successful launch of the Aviva brand on price comparison websites for motor and home.”  

Aviva’s online-only brand QuoteMeHappy grew too, but by less, posting a 0.3% market share gain which made it the 12th fastest growing brand.  

Top 10 brands for momentum (market share increase) 

 

Brand 

Oct 20 – Mar 21 

1 

Aviva 

1.65% 

2 

RAC 

0.94% 

3 

LV 

0.79% 

4 

AA 

0.78% 

5 

1st Central Standard 

0.75% 

6 

Churchill 

0.73% 

7 

Hastings Direct 

0.65% 

8 

Admiral 

0.58% 

9 

AXA 

0.44% 

10 

esure 

0.42% 

 There’s change at the top 

In terms of overall market share, the top the top 5 continue to jostle for position.  

LV now takes position 1 due to its overall faster rate of growth spurred by rate cuts and a retention rate some 14 points higher than the market average.   

Direct Line stays at number 2, and all Aviva’s efforts are paying off. It is now the third biggest motor insurance brand in the UK, up from fifth just six months before.  

Meanwhile, AXA and RAC have been pushed out of the top 10 by Tesco and esure.  

Top ten brands for overall market share 

 

Brand 

Oct 20 – Mar 21 

1 

LV 

9.2% 

2 

Direct Line 

8.2% 

3 

Aviva 

7.5% 

4 

Admiral 

7.5% 

5 

Hastings Direct 

7.1% 

6 

Churchill 

6.0% 

7 

AA 

4.5% 

8 

Saga 

3.9% 

9 

Tesco 

2.9% 

10 

esure 

2.8% 

 

 

Brand 

Apr 20 – Sep 20 

1 

Admiral 

9.5% 

2 

LV 

8.5% 

3 

Direct Line 

8.3% 

4 

Hastings 

8.3% 

5 

Aviva 

6.8% 

6 

Churchill 

5.7% 

7 

AA 

4.3% 

8 

Saga 

3.4% 

9 

AXA 

3.1% 

10 

RAC 

3.0% 

 Direct Line Group still have the most people on cover – and Aviva are bigger than LV 

With back-up support to its Direct Line brand from Churchill and Privilege, Direct Line Group are unsurprisingly still the ones with the most people on cover, with a combined 14.9% market share.  

Likewise with back-up from its QuoteMeHappy and General Accident brands, Aviva has a 11% market share – actually making it bigger than market share headliner LV.  

Covid Care halo effect could be waning 

While LV’s strong Covid customer care could still be playing into its retention rates, we could also be seeing the beginning of the end of the ‘halo’ effect for those who really went into bat for customers through the crisis…  

Admiral were the clear winners here and the first movers, winning kudos and loyalty as the only UK brand to offer Covid rebates. In the last half of the year that earned them the number 1 place in the retention charts at a market-beating 80.3%, which has dropped slightly to the still well-above-average 71.1%, earning it 5th place today.  

Six of the top 10 brands for overall growth had retention rates above the market average of 60.5% 

Top ten brands for retention 

 

Brand 

Oct 20 – Mar 21 

1 

NFU Mutual 

78.2% 

2 

Hastings Direct 

75.6% 

3 

LV 

74.9% 

4 

Direct Line 

74.7% 

5 

Admiral 

71.1% 

6 

Sheilas’ Wheels 

69.6% 

7 

esure 

68.2% 

8 

Saga 

67.1% 

9 

RAC 

66.1% 

10 

Aviva 

64.7% 

 

1st Central Standard ascends  

In terms of rate of growth, it’s impossible to ignore the massive 127.8% from growth champions 1st Central Standard.  

But they’re not the only determined growers in the pack... Other smaller brands making big plays include Sainsbury’s, M&S, and One Call.  

Top ten for rate of change (momentum) 

 

Brand 

Oct 20 – Mar 21 

1 

1st Central 

127.8% 

2 

RAC 

53.2% 

3 

RIAS 

33.3% 

4 

Aviva 

28.1% 

5 

Halifax 

25.9% 

6 

One Call 

21.4% 

7 

AA 

20.9% 

8 

M&S 

19.5% 

9 

AXA 

19.1% 

10 

Sainsburys 

18.3% 

Turning it around 

If there’s anything here that shows the fluctuation and change in the market, it’s the big switch some brands have gone from shrinking books to rapidly growing ones.  

Notable in this group are RIAS, recording 33.3% growth against the -17.9% shrinkage April-September 2020, Halifax, 25.9% growth (April-September 2020: -29.1%), and Swinton, who don’t make the top ten but should be noted for 15.7% growth versus the -8.3% shrinkage of its customer numbers between April and September 2020.  

esure could be the second one to watch…  

Lower down the charts but a new top ten entrant (in all but rate of change, where they missed it by a whisker at number 11), is esure.  

They get position number 10 for momentum and market share, and with sister brand Sheila’s Wheels included would actually beat both Saga and Tesco with a 4.3% market share. Both brands are also new entrants and strong performers on retention, coming in 6th and 7th place.  


Understand consumer behaviour throughout the renewal process

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Insurance Behaviour Tracker (IBT) is the most comprehensive insurance focused consumer survey in the market. It provides insight and understanding of consumer behaviour throughout the renewal process, giving you a view of market trends, and brand performance. This will enable you to make informed decisions to allow you to build robust marketing and business plans and track results.

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