Hastings Direct has thrown down a challenge to high street brokers by offering some of the keenest quotes in the motor market, writes Mike Cooper.

Independent monitoring of pan-industry motor quotes has recently shown that the Sussex-based independent intermediary, which employes more than 500 staff, offers some of the market's lowest prices.

Claire Day, Hastings spokeswoman, said its success is due to its sensitivity to customer demand. "We monitor our competitors, both direct and indirect writers, very closely and adjust our prices in response to the market. We find high street brokers cannot match this flexibility," she said.

Hastings prides itself on the quality of its customer service and has invested heavily in training its staff.

Another reason for Hastings' success is that it carefully chooses its business partners, said Day. The intermediary is seeking to add to its current panel of insurers – which includes its parent company Chiyoda, one of Japan's biggest insurers.