AlliancesAutobytel.com, an Irvine, Calif.-based e-commerce provider of various automotive services, has added four carrier-partners to its Web site, including Long Grove, Ill.-based Kemper Auto and Home Insurance Co., and Beverly, Mass.-based Electric Insurance Co. The partnerships brings to 10 the number of carriers that Autobytel.com is affiliated with on its comparative, real-time quoting auto insurance Web site. In addition to its carrier partners, Autobytel.com has also established relationships with an extensive network of insurance agents through a live lead distribution system established by InsurQuote Systems.

Fort Worth, Texas-based InsureZone, an insurance online marketplace for small businesses, has formed a strategic partnership with Santa Monica, Calif.-based BizBuyer Inc., a business-to-business, request-for-quote sourcing provider. InsureZone will be the exclusive provider of commercial property and casualty insurance for BizBuyer's small-business customers throughout the United States. BizBuyer's customers visit the Web site at www.bizbuyer.com to purchase a range of business products and services. After submitting a request-for-quote, they will receive multiple quotes for policies from InsureZone's national network of insurance carriers, which include The Hartford, Kemper, The St. Paul, CNA, and Zurich U.S. Small Business.

Under a newly formed alliance, Chicago-based Accenture, formerly Anderson Consulting, will market and deliver a Java-based distribution channel management (DCM) product from Trilogy, Austin, Texas. The Trilogy DCM suite includes a compensation engine and applications that enables financial services companies to launch and integrate new products and distribution channels, manage sales recognition programs, ensure sales compliance and communicate performance results.

Castek Software Factory Inc., a Toronto, Ontario-based provider of enterprise-wide processing systems for financial services, has joined the alliance program of Siebel Systems Inc., San Mateo, Calif. Castek plans to integrate its Insure3 product with Siebel's eBusiness Applications to provide e-business capability and Internet policy administration to the insurance industry.

Columbia, Md.-based InsLogic Corp., a provider of turnkey, private-label online insurance agency solutions that leverage client brands, has partnered with National City Corp. to provide insurance services and products to National City Bank customers. The partnership will enable customers of Cleveland-based National City to purchase automobile, term life and homeowners insurance online, while also reviewing personal insurance needs and comparing competitive carrier coverage and costs.

American International Group Inc. and The Dun & Bradstreet Corp., both based in New York, have formed a joint venture to offer a suite of products and services-called Avantrust-for business-to-business e-commerce marketplaces. The Avantrust Web site, at www.avantrust.com, caters to online exchanges, Internet-based market makers and supply chain extranets, enabling them and their participants to confirm the identity of trading partners, inspect goods, manage and insure counterparty credit risks, insure delivery and insure their Web sites. The Avantrust site initially will be operated by AIG eBusiness Risk Solutions.

Products

Geneer, a Chicago-based technology enabler of application service providers (ASPs), has created the first Web-based budgeting and billing system for the property/casualty insurance industry claims segment. Created as part of a joint effort with Visibillity, an ASP that provides claims personnel with an Internet-based litigation management application, the new process is designed to assist Visibillity and other authorized users to improve their case budgeting, billing and detailing, through a secure online network.

Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Ensera Inc., a developer of applications designed for the auto collision repair marketplace, is providing a direct, wireless connection from the field to its Internet-based application, iON Connection 4.0. Users with hand-held computers such as the Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC are now able to update claims status, attach digital images to claim files and use voice annotation to record details of vehicle

damage. This wireless and Internet communication capability enables insurers' in-house systems to be updated by remote users in real-time, giving consumers access to accurate, timely status of their claims over the Internet.

Kempes, a subsidiary of Long Grove, Ill.-based Kemper Insurance Cos., has put the final touches on a new Web site designed to provide general information on its specialty insurance programs. When logging onto www.kempes.com, prospective insurance customers can access and download policy information, as well as a comprehensive questionnaire pertaining to their insurance needs. Establishing an Internet presence is the first of several Web-based initiatives that Kempes is undertaking. Kempes offers a diverse portfolio of customized specialty insurance programs focused on professional liability, public entity and property & casualty coverage.

DocuTouch Corp., a Seattle-based application service provider that specializes in online digital signature and contract management technology, has introduced a new wireless application protocol tool that allows users to manage documents and workflow with a Web-enabled phone. The new technology, DocuPhone, provides Web-enabled phone users access to document lists on the DocuTouch Web site, www.docutouch.com. DocuTouch is in the early stages of development for an application that will support actual digital signings using a Web-enabled device.

Superior Access Insurance Services Inc., an online wholesaler of insurance products based in Irvine, Calif., has added lawyer's professional liability coverage to its Web site, www.superioraccess.com. The new product, available through Underwriter for the Professions Insurance Co., caters to firms with one to five attorneys, low to medium hazard areas of practice concentration and acceptable internal practice management procedures. It provides commercial, personal lines and life and health insurance coverage, with a zero deductible option available for sole practitioners. Lawyer's professional liability is being offered in Indiana, Florida, Ohio, District of Columbia and Pennsylvania through a network of more than 6,000 retail insurance agencies.

Leesburg, Va.-based AnnuityNet Inc. has added a new group-trading feature to its electronic annuity management system, AnnuityNetAdvisor.com. With a single-order entry, registered investment advisors (RIAs) can execute transactions for a large array of clients, which enables RIAs to manage more accounts in less time. AnnuityNetAdvisor.com uses technology that provides a comprehensive set of management features so that RIAs can initiate transactions and handle everything from rebalancing to fund transfers.

John Hancock Life Insur-ance Co., Boston, has introduced a program geared to reduce consumer confusion when obtaining term life quotes online. To help consumers get a better understanding of their insurance situation, John Hancock is providing from its Web site the lowest quote, plus those for other rate classes, with a brief explanation of what could cause an individual to be disqualified from the lowest rate class. Consumers can also complete the online application form, including a longer questionnaire, which will provide another quote based on more complete information. The consumer can then decide whether to submit it, or discontinue the process. Traditionally, online quoting systems ask a few questions and provide consumers with a premium figure, usually the lowest quote possible. The industry has been grappling with the reaction of consumers who are surprised to find they receive a higher rate once they fill out a detailed questionnaire.

People

New York-based Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., has appointed Steven Shienheit as the company's chief technology officer. Shienheit, who most recently was responsible for corporate systems and architecture at Chase Manhattan Bank, will oversee technology investments and develop a common enterprise architecture at MetLife.

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