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Amazon Gearing Up To Take On Insurance In Europe

Amazon may be moving deeper into its European product insurance venture, according to news from Reuters.

Amazon Protect extends warranty protection beyond what is offered by manufacturers on items like smartphones and washing machines that are purchased through Amazon.com – typically extending warranties from the standard two years to five. Incidents such as accidental damage, breakdown and theft are covered.

The Amazon Protect insurance service has been available in Europe since last year and is, so far, the company’s only insurance business anywhere in the world. The service launched in Britain before expanding to France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Recent job listings on LinkedIn and Where Women Work could indicate the eCommerce giant’s broader ambitions in the market. Listings said the European Union product insurance division is recruiting employees to help with “launching a new business” and “creating a new palette of services,” Reuters reported.

“Along with internal and external partners, we are re-defining the warranties and product insurance experience, disrupting the way traditional product insurance services are acquired and delivered and creating a new palette of services,” said one job ad, which is no longer accepting applications.

Analysts believe the listing is a sure sign of turbulence ahead for the U.K. insurance market, although Amazon has so far declined to comment further. Insurers are already getting anxious, however, with many looking to partner with Amazon and other online entities they believe could encroach on their professional territory.

It could be an opportunity for insurers to tap into the connected home trend, as many have been itching to do, analysts said. Amazon’s voice-activated assistant Alexa could, for instance, alert homeowners if pipes have sprung a leak.

“I don’t expect them to come up with traditional insurance products,” Patricia Davies, head of insurance at data and analytics firm GlobalData, told Reuters.

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