Sainsbury's Bank is launching an assault on the motor insurance market, with the creation of an own-brand policy. It is now in talks with several insurance providers to underwrite the product.

The favourite is understood to be HBOS, the result of a merger between Halifax and the Bank of Scotland, which owns 45% of Sainsbury's Bank.

The Sainsbury's motor insurance product will be sold online and off the shelf through Sainsbury's 455 stores, with support from a call centre.

Other details of the product have yet to be decided.

The motor policy will be targeted at Sainsbury's 1.5 million banking customers and more than 11 million shoppers.

Online insurers is expanding into motor insurance and will be offering the service to its 50,000-strong customer base as well as to new customers.

The company, which was acquired by Ofex-listed Berkeley Morgan Group in December 2000, already provides house and contents, travel, life, pet and computer insurance.

The move is another step forward in Berkeley Morgan's product development strategy for Rapidinsure.

Rapidinsure's motor cover will offer quotes from a panel of 17 insurers. The insurers involved include NU, Royal & SunAlliance and AXA, as well as other specialist underwriters.

Quotes will be available online or from a call centre.

Lombard Direct, a provider of unsecured loans, plans to expand its product range to include direct home and motor insurance.

Lombard Direct commercial director David McCreadie said: "Many of our customers use their loans to pay for home improvements or to buy a new or used car. There is a strong demand for us to provide home and motor insurance."

The company, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, said it would aim the products at new and existing customers.

Existing Lombard Direct customers will initially receive a 5% discount on their premiums.

Portman Building Society has joined forces with Marsh Affinity, part of risk and insurance services firm Marsh, to extend its insurance services.

The agreement will allow Portman to offer buildings and contents insurance to savers as well as borrowers.

Portman is the UK's fourth largest building society. It serves over one million members.

Marsh Affinity provides branded consumer insurance programmes. It is part of the Marsh group, which has more than 35,000 employees in over 100 countries.