Second only to the banking industry, insurance is one of the largest financial markets in the world. Although the companies that operate in the UK act largely upon the same guidelines as those based elsewhere, the government funded NHS means that medical policies (one of the main insurance policies in the US) are not viewed as being as important as they are overseas.
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Generally, the main insurance markets in the UK are for policies for cars, homes, life and pets – although there are providers who will offer cover on almost anything that is legally allowed. The business of insuring drivers is perhaps the most fiercely contested, as any vehicle is required by UK law to be covered before it is allowed on the road.
Despite the market still being dominated by the traditional industry leaders Aviva, AXA and Admiral, there has been a recent move towards online-only providers – which has been facilitated by the huge savings that these skeleton operations are able to pass on to the customers. Original pioneers of this strategy were Direct Line (who were the UK’s first call-centre only policy provider in the 1980s), though Swiftcover and eCar are now equally as powerful.
The future of the insurance industry looks as though it may be dictated by price comparison websites, through which the British public are increasingly dependent on for negotiating deals for cover. GoCompare.com, MoneySupermarket.com and CompareTheMarket.com are currently considered to be the three most prominent brands in price comparison.