Eagle Star, Tower hit Web

Eagle Star Direct claims to have become the first UK motor insurance firm to offer cover over the Internet.

Unusually, customers who take out insurance online also get a significant bonus: 15 per cent off standard premiums. Online buyers also qualify for the 10 per cent discount for card purchasers. All the transaction takes place online. Eagle Star plans to cover home and travel insurance in the near future.

"We believe that uncomplicated car insurance which is easily accessible and inexpensive will prove very popular. Cyber insurance should be a hit," said Roger Townsend, managing director for personal lines at Eagle Star.

In other Internet news, Tower Records in the UK said it plans to launch an Internet version of its CD, video and book store. Tower said the service would be particularly useful for buyers abroad seeking rare British releases. The site is currently under construction.