The move coincides with rival Laya Healthcare’s plans to extend the market share of its existing life insurance offering.
Vhi’s entrance into the industry comes a year after it was granted authorisation by Ireland’s central bank, allowing the insurer to offer products outside the health sector.
“Leverage” existing customers
The new products will be underwritten by Zurich Insurance and marketed to Vhi’s existing customer base of more than a million policyholders.
The insurer said it decided to move into the life sector in a bid to “leverage” its “existing customer relationships”.
“The number of people with life insurance in Ireland is low with people significantly underestimating the impact that the loss of a spouse or partner can have on a family’s lifestyle.
“We believe there is a strong opportunity to grow the overall life insurance market and we believe that Vhi is in a unique position to leverage our own existing customer relationships, brand strength and direct distribution capability to develop a significant life insurance business,” said Vhi’s chief executive John O’ Dwyer.
The entry is expected to push down the already record-low premiums for life cover as Ireland’s life insurance market struggles to adjust to increased competition.
VHI posted a €49.8m ($56.5, £38.8m) net surplus last year on gross earned premiums of €1.46bn.