Direct Line has outstripped rival insurers in terms of favourable press coverage for the third month running, according to an independent analysis by Press Watch.

The direct writer leads the November table of 98 insurance companies after yet another month of impressive editorial in the national business press. This follows its success in claiming the top spot in September and October.

Direct Line achieved its high score of 51 on the basis of 23 mentions thanks to a combination of high-volume coverage and favourable comment.

The insurer's policies were named best buy by The Observer and The Times promoted its products for offering cheaper deals than travel agents. Second place in the table was grabbed by CGU, which moved up from last month's fourth spot. CGU was also boosted when the Financial Times described it as "a class act".

Another direct insurer, Churchill, celebrating its new partnership with NIG, claimed third place, up two. Best performing insurer in the table was NatWest, which jumped from 123rd in October to tenth this month.

This stunning leap was described by Press Watch as a triumph for quality over volume when, in a mystery shopper survey, it beat J Sainsbury as best and cheapest insurer.

Zurich tumbled 83 places, from seventh in October to 90th in November, after it was named as "least flexible insurer with the highest cost" by a mystery shopper survey in the Daily Telegraph.