Royal & SunAlliance and Norwich Union are the nation's favourite insurance companies. The two came first and second in the amount of favourable media comment they attracted during December, according to media analysts PressWatch.

They knocked Direct Line off the top spot after a four-month reign. In November RSA was only eighth but it enjoyed a run of healthy reports in the run-up to Christmas.

The Daily Mail described RSA as "the only insurer to fully comply with trading standards." Meanwhile, The Sunday Telegraph described its policies as "particularly good value".

Both RSA and Norwich Union (17th in the November report) scored well in a Which? report. Cornhill and Eagle Star were placed fourth and fifth respectively overall.

Cornhill was praised in the News of the World for providing cheaper insurance for the over-50s.

Travel agent Lunn Poly stayed bottom. Its holiday insurance was criticised for being up to three times more expensive than similar packages offered by direct insurers.