Although different forms of risk-sharing goes way back before biblical times, the UK is responsible for inventing modern insurance companies and today the UK insurance industry is huge, the fourth largest in the world.
In this guide, we look at insurance companies’ investment and climate policies, their more shady political activities, and at their responses to COVID-19.
Insurance underwriters, brokers and comparison sites
There are two types of company that sell car insurance, underwriters and brokers.
The underwriter is the actual insurance company, that pays out on the claims. While they do often sell directly to the public, many also sell through brokers such as the AA, which take commission.
If you are buying through a broker, you should be able to find out the underwriter from the ‘Key Facts’ document which must be provided when you’re considering buying a policy. Comparison websites will also sometimes tell you.
Most people buy through price comparison websites, and we plan to publish a guide to these soon. They can be used in conjunction with our ethical ratings to help make a sensible choice all round. Be aware that the price comparison sites take substantial commission from the companies.
To complicate matters, underwriters sometimes have their own underwriters, as they may re-insure a specific risk via a different underwriter.
We are only covering underwriters in this guide because there are too many brokers to cover, hundreds in the UK.