In May 2001,, the Web property serving small-business customers developed by Wausau, Wis.-based Wausau Insurance, was shut down after executives at the company realized that small-business owners were reluctant to use the Web to research and shop for insurance.The company shut down on the heels of consummating a strategic alliance with Atlanta-based InsureZone, a partnership that would expose eWausau to even greater distribution opportunities than it could muster alone. But eWausau is now gone, and InsureZone-a startup provider at the time-carries on the legacy.

This development served as a precursor to a third-party distribution shakeout that occurred in the small-business insurance space.

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