Boots moots life insurance

Boots the Chemist is considering moving into savings accounts and life insurance to build on the success of the health and travel insurance policies it launched last year (MW March 26, 1998).

The chain is well placed to expand its financial services operation through the information gained from its 10 million Advantage loyalty card holders, its 1,321-strong retail network and the strength of its brand.

Boots was recently voted the most trustworthy UK brand among young people, according to a survey by youth research group Right of Admission Reserved.

Boots currently offers nine health and insurance products which are packaged in boxes and sold on the shelf alongside its other products.

They are underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance and have been widely praised for being easy to understand and having an application form that can be completed on the spot.

Customers say they like the fact that the box contains everything they need to know about the policy, which comes into effect as soon as it has been processed by a cashier.

Sources say Boots is now examining ways of extending its financial services operation, including a savings account and life insurance operation.

They argue that a move into life insurance would be more straight forward because the policies could potentially be underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance.

But a savings account would require a banking licence, which Royal & Sun Alliance does not have. Boots would therefore need to seek another partner.

Sources also say that a list of objectives written on the wall of the Boots insurance services office at its Nottingham headquarters suggests the division has ambitions beyond its current health and travel products.

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