N&P considers own insurance company

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The Independent Online
NATIONAL & PROVINCIAL Building Society is considering setting up its own company to offer contents and building insurance to borrowers.

The move follows recent government proposals lifting the ban on building societies owning their own general insurance companies.

Michael Pendle, director of general insurance, said: 'The new legislation widens the options that we have, but the direction management team has not yet made a final decision.'

The society said it would consider setting up a strategic partnership with one of the insurance companies on its panel of insurers, which includes Guardian, formerly GRE, Eagle Star, Royal and Commercial Union, or it would set up its own company.

At present, building societies offer borrowers insurance policies from either a single insurer or from a panel.

Earlier this month, the Treasury announced it would allow building societies to own insurance companies offering building, contents and mortgage protection insurance.

N&P also announced a range of new contents and building insurance policies which it claims will be cheaper for most people.

The society said it could offer cheaper insurance because it had negotiated special deals with its insurance panel. It added that it would not indulge in 'cherry picking' - excluding high-risk cases to keep costs down.

The ability of building societies to offer contents and building insurance from their own companies is expected to increase the fierce price competition driven by the success of the direct insurers such as Direct Line.