Everyone might be staying home, but UK home insurance brands haven’t been staying put…  

There’s been some battling of the titans and some jostling in the top ten charts as the big brands dig in - and some of the new kids on the block make an impressive grab for growth.  

Here are some of the highlights from our latest Insurance Behaviour Tracker:  

Direct Line Group pips Aviva to the market share post  

Data shows Aviva at the top of the pile for market share, with a 7.4% slice of the home insurance pie, or 8.8% as a group when QuoteMeHappy is factored in.  

However, although Direct Line comes in nominally second with 7.0%, support from Churchill at number 9 and Privilege down at number 20, at a corporate level Direct Line Group has an impressive 12.2% market share 

Top 10 brands for market share gain

 

Brand 

Apr 20 – Sep-20 

1 

Aviva 

7.4% 

2 

Direct Line 

7.0% 

3 

LV 

6.0% 

4 

Admiral 

6.0% 

5 

Halifax 

4.8% 

6 

AXA 

4.4% 

7 

Tesco 

3.9% 

8 

Churchill 

3.8% 

9 

Saga 

3.6% 

10 

Policy Expert 

3.1% 

 

Top 10 brands for own book growth 

 

Brand 

Apr 20 – Sep 20 

1 

Sainsburys 

0.73% 

2 

AXA 

0.70% 

3 

Policy Expert 

0.66% 

4 

Direct Line 

0.65% 

5 

Tesco 

0.58% 

6 

Halifax 

0.51% 

7 

More Than 

0.43% 

8 

One Call 

0.31% 

9 

Saga 

0.27% 

10 

RIAS 

0.22% 

 

Direct Line as a brand is also strong on momentum. It grew its customer base by 10.2%, which translated to a 0.65% gain of market share.
 

In contrast, it is worth noting that Aviva did not increase its market share in the same periodIts book was shrinking in the period from October to March, and the stability in the latest

period marked an improvement. It will be interesting to see whether its increased presence on PCWs will deliver growth this year.   

Meanwhile, LV clung onto the number 3 market share spot, despite losing 0.3% market share, a book that shrunk by 5% and slightly below average retention rates.  


Policy Expert make the Top 10 for the first 
time 

The other big news in market share is the entry of Policy Expert into the top 10.  

Its something of a meteoric rise for a brand that sold its first policy just 10 years ago. It prides itself on ‘disrupting’ the market with its digital journeys, two-year fixed price policies, and looking after its customers with ‘unparalleled’ customer satisfaction.   

Looking at the stats, those claims might not be too far off the mark, as Policy Expert’s market share success seems to be winning combination of new acquisitions – growing its book by more than a quarter (26.7%) - and strong renewal performance, topping even Direct Line. 

 

 Top 10 for retention 

 

Brand 

Apr 20 – Sep 20 

1 

NFU Mutual 

90.7% 

2 

Nationwide 

82.0% 

3 

Policy Expert 

76.7% 

4 

Direct Line 

76.3% 

5 

Santander 

74.7% 

6 

Barclays 

73.6% 

7 

Aviva 

73.5% 

8 

Saga 

72.8% 

9 

Natwest 

72.1% 

10 

AXA 

70.1% 

One Call become one to watch 

The top 10 list of book builders for the last quarter doesn’t include ANY of the bigger brands. It’s the smaller players on the biggest acquisition curve…  

Top 10 brands for growth 

 

Brands 

Apr 20 – Sep 20 

1 

One Call 

57.6% 

2 

Sainsburys 

35.2% 

3 

Policy Expert 

26.7% 

4 

M&S 

24.3% 

5 

More Than 

19.7% 

6 

AXA 

19.0% 

7 

British Gas 

18.5% 

8 

RIAS 

17.8% 

9 

Tesco 

17.3% 

10 

Post Office 

16.7% 

It’s another challenger, One Callwho come out on top, having grown their book of business by more than half again with a pretty staggering 57.6% increase in their customer base from April – September. It puts it 22 percentage points ahead of the next biggest grower, and means that, for the last year now, its book has grown faster than any other brand.  

One Call’s dual efforts to court new customers and charm old ones have earned it 0.9% market share, seeing it rise above some pretty well-known competitors. It’s still 28th by size – not huge, but most definitely hungry.   

Other hustlers currently out for customers include non-insurance brands M&S and Post Office, and also RIAS - all moving from significantly shrinking books to gratifyingly growing ones in the second half of the year.  

Sainsbury’s momentum continues 

Special credit has got to be given to Sainsbury’s Bank – throwing real weight behind growth across the board 

They came in as the second biggest for home insurance, and top of the overall momentum chart here increasing its market share by 0.73%. They only just miss the top 10 for market share itself, coming in at number 12 with a 2.8% stake.   

It’s also worth mentioning Halifax, with momentum at 0.51%, an 11.9% increase in their book of business, and a 4.8% market share as a result – number 5 on our first chart.  

AXA are number 2 for momentum, growing their market share by 0.70% to 4.4%, and More Than grew their customer base by 19.7% to take a 2.8% share of the market and position 13 – lucky for some.  

Retention and momentum gap calls for attention  

The retention and momentum charts for home insurance look very different. For the brands strong on retention but low on momentum, that could be a warning sign 

The new FCA rules banning price walking and protecting vulnerable customers – which includes those likely to just auto-renew – could mean the brands relying on their back book find themselves all at sea in the coming months. 

All brands are going to have to rethink their relationship with customers and recalibrate how much of their budgets go on acquisition vs retention. Rates may have to be reduced for that back book, and the short fall made up elsewhere.  

Some unexpected stragglers… 

There’s no denying that there’s some big names NOT featuring in the top 10 or even 20, of our home insurance charts.  

Hastings is clearly focusing their attention on motor dropping back on home, while Swinton is down to position 27 for market share, and brands like Lloyds Bank and L&G are sliding.  

The big are getting bigger in motor – but home is all to play for 

In our motor charts, we saw seven of ten largest brands also featuring in the top ten for momentum.  

In home, it’s a different story.  

The big boys aren’t all growing their customer base.  

Two of the three biggest brands either stayed the same or had their books shrink (Direct Line being the exception).  

The growers in home are the small, nimble brands chomping at the bit and snapping at the heels – and that means it’s pretty exciting times, as far as insurance goes.  

Let’s see what the next six months brings.  

 


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