Ethical home insurance companies
In this guide we look at home insurance companies’ investment and climate policies, their more shady tax arrangements and weapons connections.
With one brand scoring zero, and two Best Buys in the guide, there are clear differences between the least and most ethical providers, with many of the companies we reviewed clumping in the middle of our score table.
Buying ethical home insurance
An important but underrated way of shaping the world is by choosing an ethical insurance provider.
While on the surface their main activity is to safeguard your property or vehicles against the risk of loss or damage, their main impact on the world arises from, it could be argued, their insurance and investment choices and exclusions.
What's the difference between underwriters and brokers?
There are two main types of company that sell 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, John Lewis or Policy Expert, which take commission.
We cover underwriters in this guide because these are the companies that hold the assets and which, therefore, create policy on whether to make ethical investment decisions. They can also create policy on whether or not to insure coal plants and other controversial projects. We have included two brokers that have underwriter companies in their family trees: Naturesave, underwritten by sister company Ecclesiastical, and Saga whose in-house insurer is Acromas.
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. If your broker or website won't say who is underwriting a policy proposal, try another broker.
To complicate matters, brokers can sell policies from a variety of underwriters. And underwriters selling directly to the public can sometimes use different underwriters for other specific policies and risks. To be included in this guide, a company must have an underwriter somewhere in the company group.
By way of example, Naturesave offers policies from companies including Aviva, Allianz and Ecclesiastical. It is owned by Benefact Group which owns Ecclesiastical too. A change of underwriting approach and ownership at Naturesave since we last reviewed home insurance providers means that we now have a clear Best Buy for some types of insurance.