A new aggregator, known as First Central, is set to launch next month, Insurance Times has learned.

The project is backed by Steve Acott, former chief executive of Zenith Insurance, and is believed to be going live on 1 July. Peter Creed, former head of pricing at Zenith, will run the business.

Guardian Holdings, parent of Link and Zenith, is expected to provide a number of branded products for the venture.

One of First Central’s initial products is thought to be motorcycle insurance.

The news comes amid a flurry of activity in the fast-growing aggregator sector.

Tesco Personal Finance’s rumoured launch of an aggregator is now thought to be delayed from its original launch date of 29 July.

Moneysupermarket.com is set to float for a sum in the region of £1bn, while Confused.com, valued at £700m, has been subject to intense speculation that it will be sold by parent company, Admiral, in advance of Tesco’s launch.

Insurers, meanwhile continue to demonstrate their commitment to the aggregator channel, with esure granting fledgling Gocompare.com a marketing loan of £30m (see box).

At present, 69% of online shoppers use a comparison or aggregator site in their search for a motor or home insurance policy, according to user experience consultancy, Foolproof.

Esure loans £30m to aggregator Gocompare

Aggregator Gocompare.com has secured a loan, worth up to £30m, from insurer esure.

A portion of the credit line, issued for marketing purposes, has already been used to finance a new TV advertising campaign.

A spokesman for esure said: “We like their approach. One of the criticisms of aggregators is they focus the consumers mind on price. But Gocompare offer that bit extra.”

Rumours had linked the aggregator, founded in November last year, with a takeover by the insurer. But Gocompare chief executive Hayley Parsons denied this. “The last thing I would give up is our independence,” she said.

“There is tremendous room for growth in this market. I want us to become a top four aggregator within five years.”
Parsons added that it was unlikely that the company would use up all the agreed sum.

In the event that Gocompare is unable to repay the loan, any outstanding
balance will be converted into shares, to be held by esure.