Chubb is still top dog in the Broker Service Survey, but RSA-backed Oak Underwriting is snapping at its heels

total score table

Top three pull away from the pack


High net worth trio Chubb, Oak Underwriting and Hiscox kept a stranglehold on the top three positions in this year’s personal lines broker survey. The top three pulled ahead in 2012, widening the gap between themselves and the rest.

Chubb takes its familiar first place, having dominated the top spot since 2009. But Oak, which stepped up one position into second, dislodging Hiscox into third, could soon be challenging for the top spot after being bought by RSA in May last year.

At the time, RSA personal lines broker managing director Steve Kingshott made no secret of his ambition to make Oak the market-leading high net worth insurer.

Oak made the biggest gain in its Total Score of all the insurers, putting it just 0.02 rating points behind Chubb. Oak topped the list for three of the seven service criteria that make up the Total Score ranking this year. These included Underwriting Expertise and Flexibility, which was rated by brokers as the most important service of all.

But Oak failed to topple Chubb from its top positions in either of the claims service criteria - Claims: Fairness of Settlement, and Claims: Speed of Settlement. Fairness of settlement is rated the second most important area of service by survey respondents.

Zurich had a stellar year in the survey, moving up five places to number seven, and making it the fastest climber. The biggest decline was recorded by Legal & General, dropping six places into 15th position, which it shares with AXA.

Chubb has consistently performed in the personal lines broker survey over the past four years

The larger general insurers tend to score lower in the survey, owing to the challenge of maintaining a consistent, high level of service across the broad range of personal lines policies that they offer through brokers. Certain big insurers had a strong year, however.

Behind Oak, the biggest gains in Total Score were made, in ascending order, by Sabre, Zurich, RSA, Allianz, Aviva and Towergate. Only Plum Underwriting recorded a decline in its Total Score, after making impressive gains last time.

The market average rating for Total Score increased year-on-year to 3.68, up from 3.52 in 2011.

Both Ageas and Groupama fell back in the 2012 survey for personal lines, but watch this space next year for how Ageas’s acquisition of Groupama Insurance Co Ltd plays out with brokers.

High-risk motor insurer Sabre made the biggest strides in Total Score behind Oak, rising by 0.34 points and moving up one place to 17, swapping with Equity Red Star at the bottom of the table.

Top three pull away from the pack

1. Chubb

Chubb is seemingly unbeatable for service, having come out on top in the personal lines survey ratings every year for the past four. The battle for the top positions is between Chubb, Oak Underwriting and Hiscox, which dominate the top three in every service category.

Chubb held its number one spot for both of the claims categories - Claims: Fairness of Settlement, and Claims: Speed of Settlement - cementing its reputation among brokers for having the market’s premier claims service.

For Underwriting Expertise and Flexibility - the most important service dimension, according to brokers - Chubb moved up one place in the ranking.

But it lost ground to its rivals for Ease of Access to Decision-Makers, and Policy Documentation: Clarity of Wording. In both cases, Oak and Hiscox put in a strong performance to push Chubb into third position.

In the case of E-trading Options for Brokers, Chubb slipped into eighth place in 2012; but it was above the average.

SCORE: 4.36

2. Oak Underwriting

Oak’s reputation for personal lines service took an upward swing in the 2012 survey, jumping to first place for three of the service dimensions, making significant strides in the scoring for each.

But it failed to shake Chubb or Hiscox off the top spots for claims speed or fairness of settlement, which are among the top five most important areas of service for brokers.

SCORE: 4.34

3. Hiscox

Hiscox was shunted down to third place in this year’s rankings by close rival Oak Underwriting. It retained its position from last year in four of the service rankings, and gained ground in one. But the extent of improvement in scores made by Oak put it one step ahead.

Hiscox fell four places to 15th position for E-trading Options for Brokers.

SCORE: 4.29



The Broker Service Survey 2012 for Personal Lines gathered responses from 329 personal lines brokers during the period from early March to mid-July.

Brokers rate insurers with which they have placed business during the previous 12 months.

On a scale of one to five, where one is very poor and five is excellent, insurers are rated for seven different areas of service: Ease of Access to Decision-Makers, Underwriting Expertise and Flexibility, Claims: Fairness of Settlement, Claims: Speed of Settlement, Policy Documentation: Clarity of Wording, Policy Documentation: Speed of Delivery, and Quality of Cover.

The average of these scores is taken as the Total Score. Additionally, insurers are also rated on E-trading Options for Brokers, but this is not included in the Total Score.

Insurers receiving more than 50 responses are included in this year’s rankings, compared with scores for the same insurers in 2011.