Before applying actuarial techniques to determine different subportfolios and adjusted insurance premiums for contracts that belong to a more or less heterogeneous portfolio, e.g. using credibility theory, it is worthwhile performing a statistical analysis on the relevant factors influencing the risk in the portfolio. Also the distributional behaviour of the Portfolio should be examined. In this paper such a programme is presented for car insurance data using logistic regression, correspondence analysis, and statistical techniques from survival analysis. The specific mechanisms governing large claims in such portfolios will also be described. This work is based on a representative sample from Belgian car insurance data from 1989.