French company AXA has revealed it will launch a direct car insurance brand, aimed at more affluent consumers, which will roll out this winter.
AXA already operates in the direct insurance market through its Swiftcover brand, which uses brand ambassador Iggy Pop to target young men. However, AXA UK group marketing director Olivier Mariée said the upcoming venture will focus on ‘more discerning' consumers.
Several financial-services groups, including Allianz, have also recently forged plans to take their corporate brands directly to consumers.
Last month, Zurich rolled out its direct insurance business, Zurich Connect, backed by an ad campaign.
In January, Nationwide Building Society also entered the insurance market with a joint-venture with insurer LV=. Robin Bailey, insurance director at Nationwide, said it would avoid using ‘budget' ads.
Chris Watney, the head of brand for Churchill and Privilege at RBS Insurance, agreed that there is an opportunity for more premium entrants to the market.
‘The high-end of the motor insurance market has traditionally been the preserve of specialist brokers, so there is definitely room for direct brands to come in and shake things up,' he said.
According to Tom Knox, chief executive of ad agency DLKW, brands are attempting to recreate the success of RBS-owned Direct Line. ‘Insurance is difficult to market,' he said. ‘Direct Line became known as a price brand but added a sense of service. It proved that consumers are willing to pay a premium if they are handled properly.'