Direct writer Churchill has received the accolade of best car and home insurance provider in the Consumer Finance Awards.

The award was based on a poll of more than 4,500 readers of the Guardian and Observer. They are the first consumer finance awards organised by a national newspaper.

Churchill chairman Martin Long said: "The award was based on such issues as friendliness of staff, quality of literature and flexibility of cover. I am particularly pleased that the quality of our service is continually recognised – on this occasion by customers, the most important people."

Churchill has grown to 1.4m policyholders since established by Long in 1989.