The first in a new breed of virtual insurers, Dutch company Ineas, is planning an assault on the UK market within the next two years.

Ineas is a direct insurer that sells homeowners', liability and car insurance to customers in Holland, exclusively over the web.

It is currently rolling these products out in Germany, Belgium and France. Once this phase of expansion has been completed, Ineas will seek to sell insurance in the UK.

Ineas' marketing manager Annemie Averill said: "We will come to the UK. We are continuing our European expansion and want to speed up our internationalisation process.

"I think the UK is going to be an interesting but competitive market because direct writing and direct insurance is much more common in the UK than other European countries."

Ineas operates from three offices: Amsterdam in Holland, Cologne in Germany and Annecy in France.

The Dutch insurer currently has a workforce of just 30. It keeps costs low by outsourcing the bulk of its operations including claims, IT and communications and marketing.

When Ineas does arrive in the UK, it will not require an FSA licence to trade here.

The company's EU licence means Ineas will only need membership of the Motor Insurers' Bureau to cover policyholders who are involved in accidents with uninsured drivers or hit-and-run incidents.