AXA chief executive Peter Hubbard is joining with the ABI to lobby the EC over its new e-commerce Directive for financial services.

Hubbard's fear is that the Directive would add bureaucracy and increase costs to the insurance industry.

When the The Distance Selling of Financial Services Directive has been published in the EC's Official Journal - expected soon - it must then be incorporated into UK law.

Distance selling regulation gives protection to consumers who shop by phone, mail order, via the internet or through digital television.

This Directive follows the Consumer Protection (Distant Selling) Regulation, which came into force on

31 October 2000 and did not affect financial services.

Lawyer Lindsey Scutt, of law firm Taylor Wessing, said she did not think the new Directive would cause problems for insurers.

"Most of the information required to be given is the sort of information that most insurance providers would expect to give to consumers in any case," she said.

"Assuming that the UK regulations bear a close resemblance to the draft Directive, they should not prove too problematic for most suppliers of financial services."