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Who owns your insurer?

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August 8, 2007
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Important Note: this blog post was originally written in 2007 and has been updated regularly ever since because of the ever-changing nature of the insurance market and ownership of brands. The most recent update is January 2016, and all information should be correct as at that date, but will remain subject to change and may well become outdated before the next update.

Some time ago, we wrote a blog post about a spat between Direct Line and Confused, in which the owners of the little wheeled telephones accused the comparison websites of a host of misdemeanours.

One of the complaints that Direct Line made about the aggregators was about the ownership of the comparison sites, suggesting, we suppose, that perhaps the price comparison sites might be biased in favour of their owners.

What many people don’t realise is that many of the competing brands of insurance advertising on your TV screens every day are all owned by a relatively few companies, and very little mention is made of the links between them.

Direct Line have been very quick to point out the following ownership issues with the aggregators, but after reading the whole of this post, you might decide that they have been lobbing stones from their own glass dwelling. owned by Admiral. Yes, that Admiral. They also own, Bell Direct and Diamond, the womens car insurance specialist, and Gladiator for commercial vehicle insurance.
GoCompare are “independent” but since early 2015 has been part of the esure group.
Compare the Market is owned by Budget. This one is a bit naughty, as all of the brands quoted are Budget group companies – but they don’t make that obvious – they also own Dial Direct, “Local Broker“, ibuyeco, Quote Mart, and Junction who run the insurance arms of the M&S Bank, RAC Insurance, Post Office, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Halifax, and Santander.
MoneySupermarket  is independent and a FTSE listed company, however moneysupermarket bought the independent advice site  MoneySavingExpert, which in September 2012.

So much for the main price comparison sites, what about some of the other big insurance brands?

Esure group, owner of GoCompare, also owns Sheilas’ Wheels, First Alternative, Esure Broker and Sheilas’ Wheels Broker

Lloyds Banking group owns Halifax Insurance and Lloyds Insurance

Ageas Insurance owns Auto Direct, Castle Cover, Cover Direct, Done Deal, IAS, Kwik-Fit Insurance Services, Express Insurance Services and over 50s insurance specialists RIAS. It also owns a majority share of Tesco Underwriting, the Tesco car and home insurance offering, and is the insurer sitting behind John Lewis Motor and Virgin Money motor insurance

Markerstudy Group owns Markerstudy Insurance,  insurers Chaucer Motor, Zenith Insurance, Auto Windscreens, Lancaster Insurance Brokers, The Insurance Factory, Zenith Direct, Chaucer Direct, BDML Insurance, Sureterm Direct, The Policy Shop, Supercover, and Masterquote

Aviva is one of the well-known insurers who only deal direct, or do they? Aviva owns the General Accident brand.

Allen and Allen Group owns insurer Mulsanne Insurance, plus brands Broker King, Insure It All, Quote A Car, My Motor Quote, Insure Your Motor, 4 Young Drivers, Girl Motor, Hyperformance, and ESInsure

Saga owns the Gibralter-registered Acromas Insurance Company Limited and underwrites for brands including Saga Services Limited, AA Insurance Services Limited and AA Ireland Limited, and owns brands Direct Choice, Taylor Price and motorbike broker Bennetts.

Royal & SunAlliance owns More Than, sits behind John Lewis home insurance and owns the Echoice brand

Liberty Mutual Insurance Company owns Hughes Insurance Brokers

Autonet Insurance owns Carnet Insurance and is behind UIA Trade Union Insurance for motor

Groupama owns Carole Nash
AXA owns Swiftcover

MMA owns Swinton, its4me and Bullseye

Zurich owns Endsleigh
Fresh Insurance owns Ladybird, First Insurance and Autosaint
Hastings Insurance owns Hastings Direct, People’s Choice and Insure Pink

Sabre Insurance owns the Go Girl brand, insure2drive, and Drive Smart
There are more like this, but finally, we come to…

RBS Group – the Royal Bank of Scotland Group includes our old friends Direct Line, plus Churchill, Privilege, NIG, Green Flag, and all of the below trading names!

Registered U K Insurance Limited 06/08/1974
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Trading Royal London Home Insurance 12/12/2011
Trading Royal London Motor Insurance 12/12/2011
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Trading Royalties Insurance 11/01/2012
Trading Sainsbury’s Car Insurance 11/01/2012
Trading Sainsbury’s Home Insurance 31/01/2012
Trading Sainsbury’s Premier Car Insurance 11/01/2012
Trading Sainsbury’s Premier Cover Home Insurance 31/01/2012
Trading The National Insurance and Guarantee Corporation 12/12/2011
Trading The One Account Home Insurance 11/01/2012
Trading Ulster Bank Home Insurance 11/01/2012
Trading Virgin One Home Insurance 11/01/2012
Trading Virgin Pet Insurance 11/01/2012
Trading Yourcar Insurance

Of course, we’re sure none of those brand affinity deals count as middle men, at least to Direct Line’s way of thinking. And I’m sure Direct Line think that everyone must know that they are part of a larger insurance group, otherwise they wouldn’t have made such a big fuss over the ownership of the price comparison sites. And we’re sure that none of the RBS Group would ever use a price comparison site, much less run one, given the arguments put forward so forcefully by Direct Line.

That must be another company that started up the now-defunct, then, registering the domain name and taking out a trademark. And it must be a different RBS Insurance “whose brands include Direct Line and Churchill, is understood to have invested millions of pounds in the venture”. Sure enough, when tescocompare launched with a whole load of RBS Group brands offering quote comparisons “that you can’t get anywhere else” (although no Direct Line, of course) along with a large quota of HBOS companies. The service has since ceased trading.

All this makes me very grateful to work for a family owned specialist car insurance company – my life would be very confusing if I had to reconcile multiple sets of brand values that were pulling in different and mutually contradictory directions!
But for the customer – beware and make sure that when you ring round you are actually getting quotes from more than one company. And if you call us on 0330 123 1232 (or 0800 369 8590 free from a landline), we’ll impartially check our panel of over 40 insurance schemes.

12 responses to “Who owns your insurer?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    >Does Adrian Flux still own Herts Insurance Consulants because it’s not obvious from their website??

  2. Dave Wilson says:

    >Hi there,

    Yes we do own HIC, but we don’t exactly keep it a secret – I’ve mentioned them several times on this blog, and news about Herts is published here too. I also post to the Herts blog.

    There are limits to how far we can interlink between the sites without it looking like we’re trying to spam the search engines.

    It’s perhaps worth pointing out that as HIC is run as an entirely separate entity and have their own relationships with underwriters, they have access to different schemes than we do – so if you want a classic or modified car quote, it’s well worth giving both companies a ring – Flux on 08000 83 88 33 and HIC on 08451 291 291. This may not be the case when an insurer buys a broker – there will probably be pressure to pick that company’s scheme over others that might be available, with the result that the customer’s interests are sidelined.

    I’ve got no problem with any of these insurers owning as many companies as they like, but for one of those companies to launch a nationwide TV campaign on the back of the ownership of a competitor is a little bit rich.

  3. Insurance Blog says:

    >It will be interesting to see how
    will hit the market. They are going to be bringing on big brands, not available on other comparison sites.

    Tesco Compare
    goes live tomorrow!

  4. Steve says:

    >Direct line have been on moneysupermarket (landlords insurance) section recently!

  5. Discount Landlord Insurance says:

    >A very informative blog on the insurance market – which clearly identified the background and situation of all the big insurance comparison websites. WELL DONE.

  6. Anonymous says:


    direct line:- "You wont find us on any price comparison sites!"

  7. marcwilson says:

    I’m confused (.com?)

    Who owns Diamond: AIG, or Admiral?

  8. Adi says:

    Good article, a mention of Ageas and their white label brands would be a good addition

  9. Arujuna says:

    Great information. Just in time for my home insurance renewal. Gives me a very good idea now.

  10. Catherine O'Driscoll, CHC says:

    The next question is who (as in human being) owns the companies that own the insurance companies?

    • The Secret Scouser says:

      companies are entities in themselves. the answer you’re looking for is either a) the shareholders or b) our reptilian overlords

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