According to the Association of British Insurers, the UK insurance industry is the largest in Europe and the third largest in the world. How did the UK insurance market grow into such a powerhouse?
The history of modern insurance in the UK dates back to The Great Fire of London in 1666, which especially marks the beginning of property insurance since the fire affected many homes, public buildings, and commercial properties. Following the fire, a new law was passed that allowed organizations to indemnify for losses due to fire. The next year, Phoenix was created as the world’s first insurance company. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the UK had the highest level of insurance density in Europe. Since then, there have been many insurance milestones and key events that came out of the UK insurance market.
One feature of the UK domestic market that was replicated by other insurers as time moved on is the composite structure. British insurers in the 1800s specialized in one line of business, but by the end of the century these businesses were offering a lot wider range of coverage. As the demand for insurance increased, large insurers saw the advantage of offering customers a wider range of coverage beyond the typical fire and life insurance products, including burglary, vehicles, workers compensation, and personal accident. In the early 1900s, a wave of mergers and acquisitions initiated British insurers becoming far bigger and more diverse.
Lloyd’s of London, the international insurance market that still exists today, began in the 17th century as a coffeehouse. It was frequently patronized by merchants, bankers, and insurance underwriters. After a while, Lloyd’s became known as the place to find insurance underwriters, especially for marine insurance. Although marine insurance was developed in the Mediterranean, it became popularized in the UK thanks to Lloyd’s.
In the internet age, information was more available than ever before on all the various insurance companies including pricing, what they covered, etc. The first price comparison platform was developed in the UK that allowed users to easily shop for the best insurance deal without having to spend so much time surfing the web. Price comparison websites, or PWAs, are still popular and have expanded into many other industries outside of insurance.
Usage based insurance policies are becoming more and more popular, especially with car insurances with pay per drive coverage or that provide discounts based on your driving. The telematics devices that make tracking your driving history possible were developed in the UK. Octo Telematics was founded in London of April 2002 and is the first company to provide ad hoc telematics solutions for the insurance and automotive market. This includes a pioneering satellite-based vehicle anti-theft system.
As the insurance industry continues to grow and become more diverse, the UK insurance market is still home to some of the most interesting and innovative companies.
Bought By Many
Bought By Many started in 2012 by starting groups for people with specific insurance needs and negotiating deals with established insurers. However, in 2017 they began launching their own unique products. They’ve designed pet insurance for cats and dogs, travel insurance for people with medical conditions, and public liability coverage for small businesses. The service is free and respects individual financial needs.
Brolly is a free mobile app powered by AI that helps consumers manage their insurance by uploading policy documents and buying new policies within seconds. The app provides helpful insights and tips to find out which insurance coverage you need and how to optimize your portfolio. Their goal is to make sure you don’t waste time shopping around, losing track of your documents, spending more than you should, or buying the wrong coverage.
Simply Business caters to small businesses and provides business insurance tailored to each businesses’ specific needs. The company also provides landlord insurance that covers a range of incidences involving tenants. After answering a few questions, you can view quotes from different insurers within minutes.
So-sure is another specific service that provides phone insurance and allows its users and their friends to connect and receive money back annually. So-sure is a part of the new insurance concept of “social insurance.” As long as you and your friends don’t break or lose your phone, you can receive up to 80% of your money back annually.