Over the past four years, independent surveys that measure and project online insurance trends have delivered what's become a recurring diagnosis: When it comes to the functionality of their Web sites, carriers remain a step behind banks and brokerages.And while two new reports conclude that carriers have made strides in narrowing the Internet gap, the reports also highlight the industry's continued e-business shortcomings.

New York City-based Booz Allen & Hamilton's e-Insurance survey reveals that although direct insurance sales online aren't expected to grow beyond 2% of overall sales during the next four years, carriers must still provide both customers and agents with a greater level of electronic resources.

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