I have always insured my car via a broker, but due to recent experience I have gone to the underwriters direct. My previous insurer used a premium rate number, and when advising of my current ongoing claim, I was given the underwriters direct phone number (Chaucer) and told to contact them. I spoke to a person not a machine at Chaucer who gave me her direct line number, is directly contactable and is handling the claim and advises me of the current situation.
So impressed with the service from Chaucer and on obtaining a new vehicle I tried to change the detail, on my existing policy, with my broker (unsuccessfully - they could only offer me a brand new car policy with a different insurance company and an admin fee attached until my ongoing claim is finalised) As I wished to retain Chaucer as my underwriter, I decided to try Chaucer Direct for my new car insurance policy (proved to be cheaper for the same cover!).
Again the service from Chaucer (free phone number) was good and the person who dealt with me was efficient/friendly and put me at my ease through the process of obtaining a new car insurance policy.