Norwich Union (NU) is to pull out of travel insurance affinity deals with corporate partners such as British Airways and Eurotunnel.

The company says it intends to concentrate on its direct travel insurance arm, NU Direct, and products sold through intermediaries. The move will lead to the closure of the travel and leisure division in Croydon and 40 staff redundancies.

Travel insurance sales have taken a dramatic turn in recent years, with travel agents and tour operators losing their grip on the market. Insurers are increasingly cashing in on rising sales of annual cover.

Bridget McIntyre, marketing and underwriting director for NU Insurance said: “This review has given us the opportunity to redefine our portfolio. As a result, we've decided to concentrate on individual travel policies, selling through retail, intermediaries and corporate partners. A number of functions within NU travel and leisure are duplicated elsewhere within the company and the market segment in which it operates doesn't fit with our future strategy.”

The travel insurance market was worth £576m in 2001, according to figures from analysts Mintel. NU currently holds 15% of the total. No new arrangements will be entered into from June 7 and existing contracts will be phased out individually.