Techniques that foster thinking outside the box will go a long way toward attracting small-business owners to the Web to research insurance needs, many industry observers believe.For example, Chicago-based InsuranceNoodle.com has begun to augment its small-business insurance product line with personal insurance products. "We are exploring the personal lines side of the equation," says Donald Urbanciz, CEO of InsuranceNoodle.com, an e-broker that provides coverage from multiple carriers. "It's a business-to-consumer play because the companies we sell to have indicated they want a chance to buy coverage for their home or auto. We want to give business owners a chance to buy a workers' compensation policy one day, an annuity another and an auto policy a third day."

In October, One Core Financial Network Inc., Bedford, Mass., launched an insurance program at its Web site, www.onecore.com, that enables small businesses to obtain products in both the life/health and property/casualty insurance markets. The company is licensed in 20 states with a goal of going nationwide early this year.

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