Co-operative Insurance (CIS) has won about 55,000 new motor policyholders in the first quarter of the year, it revealed this week.

New motor business has risen by 64% compared to the same period in 1999, boosting CIS's book from just under 700,000 at the end of 1999 to some 750,000 now.

The insurer attributes much of this jump to the relatively low premium increases that it introduced last year.

CIS put motor insurance up by an average of 7.5% compared to the market average of 20%.

But the low premiums are also partly due to the discounts the insurer offers policyholders.

CIS, which is a mutual insurer, has a customer retention rate of 93% on motor policies.

CIS motor insurance manager Derek Wood, said: "CIS has made a huge commitment to technology with, for example, our salesforce carrying laptops for instant quotations and illustrations. There is no substitute for customer service and we will continue to put our customers first."