Insurer to grow direct commercial business to £50m GWP by 2010

Hiscox UK is gearing up to strengthen its direct insurance operations by expanding its commercial direct portfolio in 2007.

The insurer intends to add further products to its direct business insurance offering, which currently includes professional indemnity and office cover.

It aims to grow its direct commercial business to £50m GWP by the end of 2010. Direct commercial currently represents 17% of its direct business.

The product drive comes on the back of a £10m advertising campaign which saw Hiscox UK double its direct sales from 17,000 policies at the beginning of 2006, to 42,000 in March this year.

Steve Langan, managing director, Hiscox UK, said: "Generally when you set up your own business you just want professional indemnity insurance.

"What we are looking to do, via our website, is set out the insurance building blocks for businesses so, as they grow, we will grow with them. We will essentially expand the product offering on that basis."

As part of the expansion, Hiscox UK has also launched a website to sell overseas home insurance direct through its art and private client division.

"More than 95% of British people, who insure abroad, insure in the local country," said Hiscox overseas homes specialist, Laurent Schonbach. "One of the main hurdles for insurers is that customers are not aware that they can purchase insurance for their property abroad in their home country. What we are trying to do is concentrate on getting the message out that you can buy valid insurance in the UK."

The website, launched on 5 March, will enable customers to buy insurance direct, but it also includes a web-based introducer model that will enable brokers to market the product without having to handle policy administration.