AlliancesCeres Group Inc., a Davis, Calif.-based provider of health and life insurance, medical cost management services and specialty products to about 500,000 individuals, has enrolled more than 100 Regional Servicing Agents within its e-commerce subsidiary, QQLink.com. The regional service agents are expected to recruit from 100 to 250 agents each to participate in QQLink.com during the open enrollment period from September through December. The site will go live in November. QQLink.com expects to enroll at least 5,000 participating agents by the end of this year, with 10,000 more to be added in 2001.

Quotesmith.com, a Darien, Ill.-based insurance has expanded the health insurance component of its Web site, enabling individuals, families and small business owners to get real-time health insurance quotes in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The wide range of health insurance plans will include traditional, short-term medical, HMOs, PPOs and Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Quotesmith.com will provide instant individual and family quotes culled from about 100 carriers; Medicare supplement quotes from 70 insurers; dental quotes from 38 insurers; small-group medical quotes from 34 insurers; and short-term medical quotes from 11 insurers.

Travelers Insurance Co., Hartford, Conn., is helping its independent agents improve their automation capabilities through a special arrangement with Round Rock, Texas-based Dell Computer Corp. For a limited time, Travelers agents can purchase discounted Dell computer systems through the Travelers Agent PC Store via a link on Travelers "Agent Services" Web site, www.travelers.com. They can also obtain the products through the Premier Pages Web site Dell created for Travelers. This service offers customized, password-protected extranet sites for purchasing systems and providing customer support.

ReliaStar Life Insurance Co., a Minneapolis-based provider of employee benefits and work site financial services, has signed a multi-year agreement with IMRglobal Corp., an end-to-end information technology solutions provider based in Clearwater, Fla. The company will implement component-based development (CBD) technology from IMRglobal for its group insurance business. The CBD process involves assembling pre-built, pre-tested independent blocks of code, or components, that can be customized to meet a user's specific needs, and modified as the needs change. ReliaStar Life is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ReliaStar Financial Corp.

Internet Stock News, an Internet site that provides tools that help investors determine and manage their investments in Internet firms, has launched an insurance center that's being carried out in conjunction with InsWeb Corp., a Redwood City, Calif.-based online insurance marketplace. Through the newly launched ISN Insurance Center, users can receive multiple quotes and select coverage through InsWeb, directly from the www.netstocks.com Web site. InsWeb, which will be the exclusive provider of insurance offerings on the ISN site, also plans to host a co-branded version of the ISN Insurance Center.

Iwix.net, a Santa Ana, Calif.-based Internet marketplace that provides specialty insurance products and services to agents and brokers, is adding 16 ocean/inland marine and surplus lines of insurance products, through an agreement with Mutual Marine Office, Inc. New York-based Mutual Marine Office performs its own internal underwriting through its two subsidiaries, New York Marine and General Insurance Co. and Gotham Insurance Co. Several of the marine-oriented products to be marketed on the iwix.net Web site, www.iwix.net, include marine cargo, marine general liability, contractor's pollution liability, comprehensive general liability and charterer's marine liability.

Intuit Insurance Services, Inc. (IIS), the provider of QuickenInsurance.com insurance marketplace and a wholly owned subsidiary of Intuit Inc., has added CNA Life, Chicago, to the term life portion of its online marketplace. the QuickenInsurance.com/CNA Life alliance, an individual can receive real-time quotes and begin the application process for a policy online. The primary channel of distribution for the Chicago-based life insurance company continues to be direct through the agent channel; however, the QuickenInsurance.com alliance provides consumers with another option to buying insurance that they indicated was essential to ensure both convenience and low-cost.

Looking to get additional mileage out of its services, San Francisco-based Esurance Inc., a quote-to-claims Internet-based provider of personal insurance, is forming an alliance with Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com, an Internet marketplace designed to attract buyers and sellers of used vehicles. The alliance will enable online used car buyers to compare rates and then purchase auto insurance online. Esurance will enable AutoTrader.com customers to obtain expert advice, instant quotes and immediate coverage, and to manage their policies online.

OneShield Inc., a provider of Web-based insurance distribution services, has acquired Houston-based Connective Technologies Inc., a provider of e-commerce solutions for the property and casualty insurance industry. Connective Technologies will fully integrate its technology and IT personnel into OneShield's operation, enabling the Burlington, Mass.-based company to accelerate its marketing of e-commerce products for the commercial insurance market.

Products

Hartford Life Inc. has unveiled a proprietary Internet-based application request dubbed e-App Request-a technology noted for significantly reducing the life insurance application process for financial professionals to a simple electronic request. The Hartford, Conn.-based company, a member of The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., says that the process alleviates the cumbersome multipage application process that a customer normally must endure-reducing a two- or three-day process to a few minutes.

BenefitPoint, a San Francisco-based Internet employee benefits provider, is adopting a new business technology that's expected to enable insurance carriers to estimate cost savings that BenefitPoint's e-commerce process can bring to the distribution and servicing of group insurance products. The concept, called the Carrier Cost Take-Out Model (CCTM), was developed by BenefitPoint in conjunction with New York City-based Tillinghast-Towers Perrin, a management consulting firm to the financial services industry. In addition to portraying expense reductions, the model provides a snapshot of an insurance carrier's current expense environment within the framework of a typical carrier's ongoing business processes.

Web insurance portal ebix.com Inc., based in Atlanta, has launched an e-commerce technology package designed to help independent agencies build an Internet presence to enable them to offer business-to-consumer and business-to-business services. The e-Agency package delivers a customizable template for agencies to launch their own Web site, a "My Insurance" function, which enables consumers to access their account information online through the agency's site and free registration to ebix.link, ebix.com's transaction-oriented business-to-business tool.

UnumProvident Corp., Chattanooga, Tenn., is offering a service called Disability Reporting and Analysis, which provides its customers with interpretive analysis of their disability risks and expert suggestions to address them. Using Unum's large disability database and the proprietary ReportWizard technology from Options & Choices-a subsidiary of UnumProvident Corp.-larger clients can access key claim information and analyses securely at any time via the Web. The service enables customers to examine each of their employee's claims data, aggregate claims data and vital trend information. Nearly 700 of Unum's larger customers are using this service, which is provided at no additional charge to Unum's larger customers.

Los Angeles-based LowerMyBills.com, a nationwide service designed to enable consumers to research, compare and lower their recurring bills, has upgraded its Web site to include health, life and renter's insurance. The Web site, www.LowerMyBills.com, enables consumers to choose one or more of their monthly bill categories, conduct a quick search to compare rates and services based on their unique usage or need requirements, instantly receive vendor-neutral recommendations that meet those requirements, and then switch online.

AgentLIFE, a Tampa-based online information resource designed for life insurance professionals, has launched a Web site, www.agentlife.com, that will host a virtual insurance firm, including tools and services to connect life insurance professionals to the resources they need to carry out their jobs more efficiently. The site will offer departments that cater to marketing, corporate counsel, research/development, case design, underwriting, administration and licensing/education. The site also offers a resource library with customized presentations, correspondence, spreadsheets and applications.

CCC Information Services Inc., Chicago, has launched a Web-based portal, ClaimScope Navigator, which uses Web technology and CCC's automotive claims data warehouse and decision-support system, to provide reports on factors such as parts and labor usage, cycle-time measurements and vehicle type and condition. Located at www.claimsport.com, the reports also contain current and historical company-specific and aggregated insurance industry performance information, which is useful for evaluating the claims process.

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