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 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.