Telecoms providers are set to become the next major affinity channel for the distribution of general insurance, according to industry experts.

Bob Hand, managing director of consultancy firm Affinity Solutions, said he expected companies such as Orange, Vodafone and O2 to make a strong push into the general insurance market.

Hand said: "As mobile technologies converge and the major telecoms brands get stronger, this will certainly be a growth area.

"People will be able to watch television, make calls and access the internet using the same handset and an obvious step is to provide financial services as well."

Hastings Direct launched a venture with Text2Insure last year which allows customers to buy travel insurance via text message.

Sandy Dunn, principal of BDML Connect and chairman of Capita's insurance division, said: "I absolutely see telecoms providers making a big play in the general insurance market in the coming months.

"As consumer behaviour becomes more dependent on technology there will be big opportunities for the affinity sector."