Defaqto: 5/5 stars
Defaqto awarded U K Insurances brands plenty of five-star ratings.
Direct Line – five stars for the standard and Select Premier comprehensive plans, and also for the DrivePlus black box telematics plan
Churchill – five stars for the standard comprehensive and DriveSure telematics plans
Privilege – five stars for the standard and Car Insurance Plus comprehensive plans, and also for its DriveXpert telematics plan
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
U K Insurance brands received the following ratings on TrustPilot.
Direct Line – 4.2 stars
Churchill – 4.4 stars
Privilege – 3.6 stars
In addition to Direct Line, U K Insurance also owns the Churchill and Privilege brands, selling products covering cars, breakdown, life, home and contents and other types of insurance policy.
The company also underwrites car insurance policies for many other established names, including high street banks, insurance brokers and the financial services units of several car manufacturers.
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U K Insurance was established in 1974 as Ultra Keen Recovery – a broker of insurance services and agent to the car recovery business and distributers and wholesalers of motor vehicles. In 1987 the company changed its name to Ultra Keen Insurance.
In November 1999, U K Insurance was acquired by the Direct Line Group, which was then a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Following the financial crisis, in 2009 RBS – directed by the European Commission as a condition of the company’s receipt of state aid – sold its insurance business.
By 2012, Direct Line Group was a standalone entity and began trading its shares on the London Stock Exchange, having separated its operations from RBS Insurance. While the trading face of the group remains Direct Line Group, based in Bromley in Kent, U K Insurance – based in Leeds – provides all underwriting for the group.
U K Insurance owns the following brands:
Direct Line – insurance broker launched by Sir Peter Wood in 1985, offers car and van insurance plus home, business, life, pet, landlord and travel cover
Churchill – insurance company founded in 1989 by Martin Long, sells car, home, travel and pet insurance
Privilege – motor and home insurance targeted at customers through price comparison websites
Green Flag – roadside rescue and breakdown recovery service
NIG – commercial insurer: works with a network of more than 2,000 UK brokers to provide business insurance to small and medium sized enterprises
UK Insurance’s three best known brands all offer highly-rated car insurance policies, with many benefits that come as standard. In summary, U K Insurance is best for:
Operating three trusted and five-star rated car insurance brands: Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege
A national breakdown service: Green Flag
Five-star rated telematics plans to help lower car insurance costs for young drivers
In October 2020, the Direct Line Group Community Fund distributed the final £1m tranche of a £3.5m support package to over 200 charities helping distribute emergency essentials, food, shelter, mental health services and online educational access.
In July 2020, the company announced the acquisition of Brolly, a London-based digital insurance innovator.
U K Insurance also underwrites insurance for the following well-known companies:
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle
The Financial Ombudsman Service received 471 car insurance complaints about UK Insurance in the first half of 2020. This was the second highest number of complaints but that would be expected of the second biggest car insurer in the UK. Crucially UK insurance had just over 9% of complaints but nearly 14% of the market, so had far fewer complaints than might be expected given its size. To put that 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.