Online bank Egg dropped Axa as its affinity partner this week and switched its accident sickness and redundancy account to its former parent company, Prudential.

This is the third big-name company to axe the French insurer in the past few months, following similar decisions by over 50s specialist Saga and the bank Bradford & Bingley.

Under a new five-year deal, Prudential will offer accident, sickness and redundancy cover to Egg's 500,000 credit-card-holders and bank's personal loan customers.

Prudential's head of product marketing Nigel Bruce refused to say how much premium income Egg was currently generating on creditor insurance, but said Prudential expected to be writing £40m per year by the time the contract came up for renewal.

Bruce said the insurer hoped to use the Egg account as a springboard to attack the affinity market.

He said: “This deal marks Prudential's ambition to get into creditor insurance, but also to establish partnerships as a key method of distribution.”

The affinity deal is the third in as many months that Axa has lost to rival insurers.

In June, Bradford & Bingley switched its 80,000-policyholder travel account from Axa to Zurich.

Similarly, last month niche intermediary Saga switched its £50m-plus account from Axa to Groupama.

Alan Cook, chief executive of Prudential Insurance Service, said: “This deal marks a major strategic move into both corporate partnerships and the creditor market, which present strong growth opportunities for Prudential General Insurance.”

To enter the affinity deal with Egg, Prudential has formed a joint venture with specialist creditor insurer Pinnacle. Pinnacle will underwrite 25% of the book, and also provide back-up on technical servicing and claims.

The deal will give Prudential and Pinnacle access to new Boots loyalty and credit-card customers, an account that Egg administered.