Paymentshield's £300m GWP home book lifts insurer into property top five

HBOS General Insurance has scooped one of the UK's biggest home insurance accounts with a deal to underwrite Paymentshield's estimated £300m GWP home and payment protection book.

The insurer replaces Hamilton Insurance, a subsidiary of HFC Bank, as sole underwriter of the account. HFC Bank was recently bought by HSBC.

A market analyst said: "This deal should put HBOS among the top five property underwriters in the UK. It is a huge account with a lot of potential for growth."

Paymentshield is the biggest insurance provider to the IFA sector, with more than 50% of the market. Analysts suggest the company will write more than 600,000 policies next year.

HBOS is expected to run the account through its St Andrew's subsidiary with claims and administration handled in-house.

Paymentshield was recently subject to a management buy-out backed by HBOS's corporate banking arm. In the year ended April 2004 it reported a profit of £6.5m on turnover of £70m.

Winning the Paymentshield's £300m underwriting account will push HBOS's underwriting to over £1bn.

Both HBOS and Paymentshield declined to comment.