Using its Aequos database, Defaqto analyses the spread of direct writers for private car insurance and how Barclays buildings and content insurance compares in the high street market
The rise of the direct writers has been well documented and visible, but industry statistics have pointed in recent years to a levelling-off of the amount of insurance sold over the phone and internet. In search of further growth, more ambitious direct players have recently been spreading their wings in other traditional areas of business. The biggest proponents of this have been Churchill and the Royal Bank of Scotland/Direct Line group. In recent years Churchill has become the underwriter of two of the largest home service brand names - Prudential and Pearl, and also now underwrites both Alliance & Leicester and Nationwide Building Society's motor insurance.
Direct Line and its sister company UK Insurance also underwrite motor insurance for a range of brand names including Tesco and Prudential-owned Egg.
In terms of comprehensive motor there is a surprising range of cover on offer from the direct writers, with AMP Pearl's policy leading the pack. Eleven of the products in this chart are underwritten by Churchill or the Direct Line group of companies.
Key features of the AMP Pearl product include:
At the start of the year Barclays Bank launched Home Protection Plan - a new buildings and contents policy available to both the bank's customers and the general public. It is underwritten by Gresham Insurance Company and is not available online - quotes are provided over the telephone.
We have compared the new policy against those on offer from a range of high street banks.
The buildings cover has an automatic £300,000 sum insured which should be adequate for most customers. Because the sum insured is fixed, there is no index-linking, which would only be an issue for customers with estimated rebuild costs very close to this amount.
Key features of the Barclays buildings policy include:
Compared to the buildings policy, the contents policy offers significantly lower levels of cover than the policies on offer from other major banks. Although the Barclays policy has an automatic sum insured of £50,000, which is adequate for most customers, the low levels of many of the inner limits mean it lags significantly behind the rest of the market.
Key features of the Barclays contents policy include:
Drawbacks of the policy include: