Halifax is setting up two new insurance companies in Ireland.

The bank has been granted two licences, allowing it to establish life assurance and general insurance companies in Shannon this year.

These companies will assume control of the product design, pricing, risk management and customer service activities of the bank's repayments insurance portfolio.

Halifax has about 70,000 policyholders in Ireland with mortgages, personal loans and credit cards who opt to take out repayment insurance to protect themselves against accident, sickness and unemployment. These repayment insurance products are underwritten by a third party.

The bank plans to have the two companies up and running by January next year.