However, insurers lag behind other markets when it comes to consumer perceptions

Direct Line is the highest ranked insurer in the YouGov Buzz Index 2019, which ranks companies based on consumer views of their brand.

YouGov asked survey respondents whether they had heard positive or negative things about the brand, with negative responses subtracted from the positive ones.

Direct Line received a buzz score of 5.0, just ahead of LV= in second (4.4) and Direct Line Group-owned Churchill in third (3.0).

Here are the top five results for the insurance sector:

 RankBrand2019 Buzz Score 
 1 Direct Line  5.0 
LV=  4.4 
Churchill  3.0 
Aviva  2.9 
Admiral  2.7 

Direct Line’s 2019 performance represents a one point improvement on its score of 4.0 for 2018, when it also topped the list of the UK’s best viewed insurers. LV= similarly held on to second spot for another year in a row, while Churchill’s third-placed finish was the result of a 0.3 point improvement after it finished fifth in 2018.

Direct Line’s latest score was, however, some way behind other leading brands in the UK, with Netflix leading the way with a table-topping score of 21.4.

In fact, Direct Line’s 5.0 score was not enough for the insurer to even break into the overall top 10, with PayPal’s score of 10.2, more than double that achieved by Direct Line, securing the online payment company 10th spot in the UK listings.

Financial standing

According to its 2019 quarter three trading update, motor remains the core of Direct Line Group’s business. In the nine months to September 2019, motor GWP totalled approximately £1.3bn, compared with £333.9m in its rescue and other personal lines.

Gross written premium (GWP) across Direct Line Group’s motor products amounts to £457.8m for Q3 in 2019 – a 0.3% increase on Q3 results last year. The insurer attributed this to better new business trading, especially the success of its Churchill brand on price comparison websites.

Penny James, Direct Line Group chief executive, said: “My new executive team and I are building a platform that combines our strengths of customer and brand with technology, and is a simpler, leaner and more agile business to deliver the real potential we see, unlocking value for shareholders.”