In the few years since the advent of Web insurance marketplaces, much industry debate has centered on which online mall model would prevail.In some cases, online malls acting as agents receive compensation based on policies actually sold to consumers. In others, revenue is based on customer referrals made to insurers, whether or not a sale is actually consummated.

The recent turmoil that InsWeb Corp. has experienced suggests that its business model may be outdated for today's online insurance market, analysts say. In June, the company announced a corporate restructuring and a series of cost-cutting measures due in part to declines in compensation based on customer referrals.

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