Ryanair enters insurance market

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Ryanair launched itself into the motor and home insurance markets yesterday, continuing on its quest to find ever more products to sell on to the 42 million passengers who travel on its planes each year.

Equity Insurance Group, known as Cox Insurance until it was bought out by its management last year, is to underwrite the business for the budget airline, giving it the potential to grow its customer base exponentially. The insurance products will be aggressively marketed on the group's website, on Ryanair's planes, as well as inside its inflight magazines.

Neil Utley, Equity's chief executive, said he had been particularly attracted to the deal due to the benign risk profile of Ryanair passengers. He said: "Ryanair's mainstream passengers tend to be slightly older. Our expectations for this deal are very high because of the sheer size of the customer base."

Mr Utley said the insurance would be competitively priced and would be tied in with several promotions in the months ahead. For its launch,Equity is giving away a Renault Mégane Coupé Cabriolet to one of the first insurance customers.

Ryanair already offers travel insurance and credit cards alongside its flights, as part of its strategy to find other income streams.

Equity is the UK's fifth largest motor insurer and also owns a sizeable brokerage business. Ryanair joins the likes of Chevrolet, Skipton Building Society and Legal & General, which already have similar contracts with the group.