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Direct Line to the life market

Direct Line, the company that has revolutionised the sale of car and home insurance by providing cover over the phone, this week launched a new arm aiming to do the same for life insurance.

The company is offering income protection plans for a range of options including life cover, disability and critical illness. Clients can choose between replacement income, payment of a lump sum or repayment of an outstanding debt.

Premiums for fixed-term cover of £50,000 over 15 years will be £8.88 a month for a 30-year-old male smoker, falling to £5.85 a month for a female non-smoker of the same age.

Mortgage protection cover of £50,000 over 15 years will cost £8.72 a month to a male non-smoker aged 40, or £6.34 to a woman of the same age.

Family income cover, providing a monthly income for a family of a person who dies, would cost a 40-year-old £14.13 a month over a 15-year term, providing income of £10,000 a year. The income would continue to be paid over the remainder of the policy's term after the policyholder's death.

Russell Devitt, chief executive of Direct Line Life, said it would be able to offer a cheaper deal on protection products than most other providers.

"It is time for change in the life industry. We intend to put customers first by giving them what they genuinely want - good rates, convenience, simplicity and choice, plus no commissions."