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 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, 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,, 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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