LONDON (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc is expanding its nascent European product insurance business, according to recent job adverts, which industry watchers say could signal the start of broader ambitions in insurance. Amazon Protect, which provides extensions to manufacturers’ warranties for items like mobile phones or washing machines bought on Amazon’s website, launched last year in Europe.
It is Amazon’s only insurance business globally.
Recent job advertisements for the EU product insurance division described “launching a new business” and “creating a new palette of services”.“This is a sure sign disruption is on the way for the UK insurance market,” said Patricia Davies, financial services analyst at data and analytics firm GlobalData.
Specialist insurers are concerned that Amazon and other online players will encroach on their territory, and are looking to partner with them.Investment in insurtech firms in Europe has risen sharply in the first half of 2017, often with the backing of big insurers. [nL5N1LW28W]Amazon Protect launched in Britain in April 2016, quickly expanding to the firm’s main European markets of France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Its policies give customers an extension on manufacturers’ two-year warranties for up to five years, insuring against accidental damage, breakdown and theft.
The Warranty Group, which underwrites Amazon Protect policies, did not respond to a request for comment.