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Tesco Expands Personal Finance Services in Ireland

LONDON - UK retailer Tesco has introduced life assurance policies in 10 of its stores in Ireland as it expands in the personal finance market, the Irish Independent reports.

"We will do a pilot scheme in the 10 stores and will then roll it out in 76 stores in September," said David Crimmins, marketing manager of Tesco Personal Finance in Ireland.

Last January the company launched its credit card in conjunction with Visa, which has already won 12,000 customers. That success spurred the company to look at other products to introduce through its 76 stores in Ireland.

The development means that Tesco could become a major force in the personal finance market in Ireland, providing significant competition for banks, insurance companies and brokers.

"Obviously we are trying to attract those people in Ireland who do not have any life insurance or feel that they are not sufficiently covered under the present policy. With over one million transactions taking place in Irish Tesco outlets every week, we are confident that the value for money Tesco Life package will be a winner," Crimmins said.

"Many Irish families do not have life insurance, and there is a demand for value-for-money packages to attract these people. Tesco Life is an insurance plan that pays out a guaranteed cash sum if you die during the term of the plan, or are diagnosed as having a terminal illness with a life expectancy of less than 12 months," he said.

Tesco is acting as a tied agent to Hibernian Life and Pensions, which provides the products.

Some speculate that the supermarket's next personal finance offerings will be holiday and travel insurance, which could be bought off-the-shelf. Customers will be able to tell cashiers when they wish the policies to begin coverage, and their personal details will be downloaded from loyalty cards.

The company also plans to offer pet insurance, which will be sold beside tins of dog and cat food, according to the newspaper. It is also considering introducing personal loans for holidays or cars into the Irish market.

In Britain the supermarket's personal finance wing sells savings, loans, insurance, investment products and foreign currency to its customers.
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