Thomas Cook to extend insurance brand

Thomas Cook is poised to become a major player in direct insurance, with plans to extend its brand from travel insurance into home contents, car and general medical insurance.

Thomas Cook Insurance Direct launches on July 14, backed by a national press and direct media campaign. The service will initially offer travel insurance by phone, but the company also plans to offer additional insurance products.

“We are getting into medical and general insurance and are looking at offering home contents and car insurance,” says Myles Gibson, insurance services director at Thomas Cook. “We’re becoming more innovative.”

A spokeswoman for the company adds: “The brand is seen by consumers as trustworthy and therefore lends itself well to insurance services.”

The move represents a change in strategy for the 157-year-old company, which faces a decline in two of its major revenue streams (MW June 18). The euro will wipe out its European currency exchange business and the traveller’s cheque market is threatened as consumers increasingly choose to pay with plastic cards.

Thomas Cook launches Global Services, a 24-hour emergency assistance service for travellers this month, while Thomas Cook Direct is linking with phone bank First Direct as it diversifies from traditional banking services.

News story, page 9

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