U.K.’s Halifax To Offer Insurance on the Internet

February 21, 2000

The U.K.’s largest mortgage lender, Halifax PlC, announced its plans launch an e-commerce site, “esure,” to sell homeowners and automobile insurance.

Halifax president James Crosby was extremely pleased that the company had acquired Peter Wood’s services and expertise. Wood is the legendary British insurance executive who founded and ran Direct Line, the automobile insurance service for the Royal Bank of Scotland. Before retiring in 1997, he turned Direct Line into the U.K.’s largest operation. Wood will join forces in creating the site with Jim Spowart, who heads the firm’s online baking division, “Greenfields Co.”

Halifax plans to invest £150 million ($240 million) in the new venture, and plans to have it in operation by early next year. There will be no shortage of potential customers, as Halifax already has 21 million customers (approximately one third of the British population) through its mortgage activities.

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