Fee and commission income (2003): £1374m.

Pre-tax profit (2003): £21.5m

Address: Millstream, Maidenhead Road

Windsor SL4 5GD

Tel: 0870 544 8866

Fax: 01252 700 913

Website: www.theaa.com

History: The AA first sold motor insurance as a service to members in 1907 - 23 years before British motorists were legally obliged to have it. In the 1950s and 1960s, a number of cut-price insurance companies that had sprung up ceased trading, with serious consequences for policyholders.

Motorists turned to the AA for help and AA Insurance Services was formed in 1967.

Today, the AA is the UK's biggest car and home insurance broker, with some 1.6 million customers. The AA has approximately 2,300 customer services staff at its four main locations - Newcastle upon Tyne, Cardiff, Basingstoke and its headquarters at Southwood, Farnborough.

Chief officer: Clare Salmon, managing director

Biography: Clare Salmon is managing director of AA Financial Services, with responsibility for home and motor insurance, travel and car-checking products and its consumer lending business, which is a joint venture with HBOS. Salmon was previously sales and marketing director of the AA, accountable for business strategy, e-commerce, marketing communications and new product development. She was responsible for the repositioning of the AA under the "Just AAsk" slogan.

In 2000, Salmon joined Centrica as marketing director of home and road services. Centrica had acquired the AA in 1999. Prior to this she was European marketing director of Avis. Before this she spent eight years at Prudential Corporation, latterly as UK consumer marketing director.

She joined Prudential from Boston Consulting Group, having spent four years working as a strategic management consultant.

Major shareholders: Centrica*

Main lines of business: Motor, home, travel.

*On 1 July 2004, Centrica plc announced it had agreed the sale of the AA to CVC Capital Partners and Permira. Subject to regulatory approval, the sale will be completed in autumn 2004.