Over-the-counter policy plans

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Sun Alliance, one of the largest UK composite insurers, is to test market an income protection policy over Post Office counters, writes Nic Cicutti. The joint deal, announced yesterday, could eventually be rolled across virtually all the UK's 19,000 Post Offices, which serve almost 30 million customers a week.

The product aims to insure policyholders against loss of income through accident or illness, with optional protection against unemployment. Monthly premiums will start at pounds 6.

It will be available in a trial launch later this month at counters in 1,250 offices in the Midlands over a six-month period.

If the six-month trial is successful, the Bill Payment Cover policy will be extended nation-wide. The new policy is part of the Post Office's plan to become a distributor of insurance products. It is already expanding its services into foreign currency exchange, travel insurance and cash transfer. Through Girobank, owned by Alliance & Leicester, it also offers a banking operation to clients.