Insurers are using the web for customer service more than as a sales tool, according to a report by actuaries Tillinghast-Towers Perrin.

The firm's survey spoke to 113 insurers. It showed that while 23% of European insurers are actually selling online, 80% are using the web to provide product information.

Bertrand Pitavvy of Tillinghast-Towers Perrin said: "This approach avoids any distribution channel conflicts and allows the internet to be used to reinforce existing strategy.

"The focus is on developing new after-sales services for customers, rather than growing online sales. Our research shows that neither insurers nor customers are in a position to transact all lines of business online."

However, Pittavy said this trend looks set to change, with online sales becoming increasingly popular.