Direct insurer Admiral this week became the latest in a string of insurers to offer car insurance over the web.

The insurer's new site,, has been written by the company's in-house technology team and will be promoted in a £5m marketing campaign.

Admiral expects the site to account for 50% of its business by the year 2005. However, Admiral claims the site's development will not dent plans to increase its workforce.

In January this year, the insurer said it would increase staff numbers by 600 over three years and raise premium income by £67m.

Communications manager Louisa Scadden said: “This does not change anything. We are still carrying on with our expansion plans. We will need people to cover enquiries, handle claims and everything else.”

Chief executive Henry Engelhardt said: “We have worked hard to develop this new concept and are confident that it will be a great success. Combined with our track record of expense ratios that are well below 20%, we believe that will help to make Admiral even more efficient.”