Defaqto: 3/5 stars and 5/5 stars
Markerstudy Insurance Services – three stars
Zenith Insurance – three stars
Geoffrey Insurance – five stars
Note: Not all Defaqto products with the same star ratings have the same covers and terms.
TrustPilot: 1.3/5 stars to 4.8/5 stars
Markerstudy Group brands generally enjoy favourable ratings and reviews on TrustPilot.
Markerstudy Insurance Services – 1.3 stars
Zenith Insurance – 3.8 stars
Geoffrey Insurance – 4.8 stars
Lancaster Insurance – 4.6 stars
Insurance Factory – 4.5 stars
The group offers a number of car insurance services, including several niche products such as classic car insurance.
The company says it specialises in car insurance and claims an extensive knowledge, offering a wide range of specialist products such as young driver insurance, and cover for high-performance motors, expensive imports, kit cars and horseboxes – among many others.
Markerstudy works with more than 1,000 UK brokers and intermediaries.
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Markerstudy Group was established in 2001 by Kevin Spencer – a former managing director of Lloyd's broker Edgar Hamilton and Wellard. Spencer is Markerstudy Group chief executive and majority shareholder, while the second-largest shareholder is Gary Humphrey, group underwriting director.
Since its formation Markerstudy Group has made several acquisitions, and now owns several brands across the insurance spectrum.
In 2019, Markerstudy announced the planned acquisition of Co-operative Group's insurance business. Under the deal, Markerstudy will pay £185m to enter into a 13-year agreement to sell its insurance services to Co-op members.
With Co-operative Insurance Services about to be added to the list of brands, here’s the motor insurance arm of Markerstudy Group:
Markerstudy Insurance Services – the parent brand offers car insurance: private, commercial, fleet and taxi
Zenith Insurance – offers private car and van insurance
Geoffrey Insurance – offers private car, van and pet insurance
Lancaster Insurance – classic car insurance
The Insurance Factory – private car, van, taxi, and specialist insurance: motorhome and minibus
Mobilers – mobile catering insurance
Equesure – offers equine insurance for horse and rider, and also for horseboxes and horse trailers
Markerstudy – either itself or through its affiliates – offers three types of car insurance.
Third party only
Third party, fire and theft
Several Markerstudy Group brands offer the option to insure additional vehicles on the same policy. And while temporary insurance and a black box telematics scheme are yet to be among the services offered, there are some niche products available as listed below.
Lancaster Insurance has specialised in arranging classic car insurance since 1984. The company works with a range of specialist underwriters to provide highly bespoke insurance products, and as of May 2019 the company provided cover for 88,000 classic cars, including 40% of the MG Bs currently driving on UK roads.
Taxi insurance rates can be high due to the amount of time and mileage spent on busy roads. The Insurance Factory, through its affiliate The Taxi Insurer, can offer cover for self-employed taxi owners, as well as companies operating taxi fleets.
Longer trips in a bigger vehicle – plus, perhaps, Continental travel – can be expensive. The Insurance Factory sister company Motorhome Protect offers competitively priced cover for large, brand new motorhomes as well as retro camper classics.
Liability cover for taking multiple passengers can be pricey, but the Insurance Factory offers competitive prices for public and private hire, and for frequent or just occasional use, and from individual policies through to fleets of vehicles.
The obvious added risk for any vehicle with catering or cooking facilities on board is that of fire. Mobilers offers insurance for catering vehicles and trailers such as chip and burger vans ice cream vans among many others.
Markerstudy has a number of car insurance brokers under the blanket company. Some are more highly rated by experts and customers than others. As an example of one of the best-regarded car insurance companies, the five-star rated Geoffrey Insurance comprehensive policy offers the following package as standard:
24-hour UK-based claims line
Cover for loss or damage by accident or vandalism
Damage to glass
Driving abroad – up to 90 days of cover
Uninsured driver promise – if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver your excess will be refunded and no-claims discount unaffected
Child seat cover – up to £300 to replace fitted child seats
Courtesy car – subject to availability
Legal expenses – up to £100,000 of legal protection each year
Markerstudy Group’s various brands offer a range of optional extras that can be added to your policy for an additional premium.
While Geoffrey Insurance offers up to £100,000 in legal cover per year as standard on all its policies, Zenith Insurance offers the same value of cover as an optional extra.
Geoffrey Insurance offers cover of up to £30,000 in personal accident cover for £24 a year.
Geoffrey Insurance offers a “guaranteed hire vehicle” and “guaranteed hire car plus” option. The first guarantees a small “class-A” vehicle, while the plus option guarantees a 4-door family saloon car.
Zenith Insurance also offers a guaranteed replacement car option.
Both Geoffrey and Zenith Insurance offer the optional extra to provide cover for lost, stolen or damaged keys.
RAC Breakdown Services provides several levels of roadside assistance for both Geoffrey Insurance and Zenith Insurance, with annual premiums starting at around £25.
Markerstudy Group has plenty of reach given its number of acquisitions over the near-20 years of its existence. From standard private car insurance to arranging cover for multi-vehicle movie sets – its range of motor insurance cover is extensive.
And while it is proud of its niche services, the company also owns one of the best regarded standard car insurers in Geoffrey Insurance, with five-star ratings from Defaqto and Moneyfacts.
In short then, Markerstudy Group is best at:
Broad reach within the motor insurance sector
Niche motor insurance, such as classic car insurance
Standard private car insurance rated as five stars
Markerstudy’s takeover of Co-operative Insurance Services has been stalled by the coronavirus outbreak in 2020, but Gary Humphrey said in a blog post on 9 October 2020 that success was “within touching distance”.
Earlier in September 2020, Unite, the trade union, and MP Tony Lloyd launched an early-day motion in the House of Commons calling on Co-operative Group to rethink its decision.
The Financial Ombudsman Service received 173 car insurance complaints Markerstudy in the first half of 2020. That gave Markerstudy 3.4% of complaints but the company had more than 6% of the market share, so it received a much smaller proportion of complaints than might be expected for its size. To put complaints in context, 67 firms had 10 or more complaints each and those totalled 4,550 complaints. Nearly 200 firms had fewer than 10 each, sharing just 479 complaints between them.