Axa has plans to launch a virtual supermarket, stacked with diverse financial products, including motor and household insurance.

The move was let slip by Axa Sun Life chief executive Mark Wood in a newspaper interview.

He said the guiding philosophy behind the internet venture would be to allow customers to choose the best value products from a range of providers, not only Axa's.

"It is the difference between Sainsbury's and a communist shop," he explained.

An Axa spokesman said precise details of the internet site are still sketchy since it is still investigating potential product providers.

But he added: "We do expect to be launching a web business solution later this year.

"Insurance is likely to be one of the options and we may well consider other elements."

Other insurers are believed to be considering similar moves.

Allied Zurich is said to be working on an internet site hosted by a stunningly beautiful insurance saleswoman.