Sector insight (interactive): home insurance

Price and shopping around, rather than brand, are key factors for consumers, writes Jane Bainbridge.

Direct Line Group companies dominate adspend
Direct Line Group companies dominate adspend


Price. Price-comparison websites mean policies are easily comparable and consumers can search for the best deals. About 30% of adult internet users have bought their policy via this type of site.

Levels of insurance. About seven out of 10 adults have a home-insurance policy, with more having cover for contents than buildings (66% compared with 51%).

Claims. The number of domestic property claims fell 27% (2006-2011), but the average cost of a claim increased over the same period.

Home ownership. Buying home-insurance products is strongly tied to being a homeowner and rises sharply among those over 35 years of age.

Brands. Well-known brand names are a low priority for those with home insurance; people look for a good level of cover and low prices ahead of brand name.

Shopping around. Among those who shop around for insurance, the number of quotes compared is typically between three and five.

Source: Mintel

Top 10 domestic-property insurance parent groups by gross written premiums, 2011 (%)

Data is based on FSA annual returns. Standard & Poor's/Mintel do not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of the information, and are not responsible for any errors or omissions

Source: Standard & Poor's SynThesys Non-Life database/Mintel

Channel used when obtaining home-insurance quotations, August 2012 (%)

Base: 968 adults aged 18+ who shopped around or took a new home insurance policy at their last renewal.

Main Players

Kerry Chilvers - marketing director, Direct Line

Chilvers has been with the Direct Line Group since graduation. She is responsible for brand strategy and communications for Direct Line and Green Flag.

Amanda Walker, marketing director, Churchill

In 2011, Walker joined Direct Line Group, having spent most of her earlier career working for Kraft in Australia and Heinz in the UK. She also leads marketing for the Privilege brand.

Catherine Kehoe, marketing director, Lloyds Banking Group

Kehoe looks after LBG's portfolio brands, including its insurance business. She has been at Lloyds since 2007, having also worked at Yell, BT and Royal & Sun Alliance.

Heather Smith, marketing director, UK and Ireland, Aviva

Smith joined Norwich Union Healthcare (now Aviva) in 1991 as it set up in the private healthcare market. In 2005, she moved to the general insurance business, and has been in her current role for two years.

Peter Markey, chief marketing officer, RSA Insurance

Markey has held his CMO role since 2011, having been marketing director for its More Th>n brand. His career has included stints at Onetel, the AA and British Gas.

Cheryl Toner, group marketing and communications director, AXA

Toner joined AXA's strategy team in 2006, and has been in her current role since 2009. Prior to AXA, she worked at Lloyds TSB, Inchcape and Michelin Tyres.

Winners and losers in the home insurance sector

Ageas Group. The majority owner of Tesco Underwriting, the group has moved into sixth position in the rankings after a 56% rise in gross written premiums (GWP) in 2011.

Legal & General. Legal & General's GWP increased 10% (2010-2011) and it launched its 'interactive house' website in June last year to help consumers identify underinsured areas.

RBS Group. Between 2010 and 2011, RBS Group's GWP dropped 16%. However, it rebranded as Direct Line Group in February 2012 and, despite the fall, it remains in the top position. Direct Line Group companies - Direct Line and Churchill - dominate adspend.

AXA. In brand personality research, AXA came out least well, being seen as boring and tired, especially among younger consumers. This could be because the brand often targets older consumers.

Source: Mintel