AlliancesOnline banking customers of Digital Insight Corp. now have access toAnswer Financial Inc.'s insurance and other financial products via DigitalInsight's Internet portal, AXIS eCommerce. Calabasas, Calif.-based DigitalInsight's AXIS eCommerce, a financial Web site that was launched in April,now includes more than 20 content, service and product providers. LosAngeles-based Answer Financial, host of answerfinancial.com, delivers avariety of insurance, legal and healthcare products over the Internet tomore than 13 million members of affinity and employee groups.

Prudential Insurance Company of America, Newark, N.J., has extended itsvoluntary employee benefits portal, WorkingSolutions, within a strategicagreement with RewardsPlus, a Web-based benefits firm based in Baltimore,Md. RewardsPlus provides customized benefits programs to more than 1,000corporate clients, encompassing 3 million employees and their familymembers. The agreement provides Prudential customers with an improved Web-based payroll deduction engine that features a wider array of productswithin a managed choice model. The agreement enables Prudential to savedevelopment costs and significantly improve its speed to market in the Web-based employee benefits arena. The products to be offered toWorkingSolutions customers through RewardsPlus include vision coverage,managed dental, legal assistance, roadside assistance and home security.

Intuit Insurance Services Inc. the parent company ofQuickenInsurance.com has added CNA Life, Chicago, to the term-life portionof its online insurance marketplace. The primary channel of distributionfor the Chicago-based life insurance company continues to be direct throughthe agent channel; however, the QuickenInsurance.com alliance providesconsumers with another option to buying insurance that they indicated wasessential to ensure both convenience and low-cost.

Seeking opportunities to branch out its services, San Francisco-basedEsurance Inc. is partnering with Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com, an Internetmarketplace designed to attract buyers and sellers of used vehicles. Thealliance enables online used-car buyers to compare rates and then purchaseauto insurance online. Esurance enables AutoTrader.com customers to obtainexpert advice, instant quotes and immediate coverage, and also allow themto manage their policies online. AutoTrader.com has about 1.5 million usedvehicle listings, and, in June, it attracted five million unique monthlyvisitors who conducted 14 million vehicle searches, the company says.

Selectica Inc., a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of software thatsupports Web-based sales of insurance, has acquired Wakely Software Inc., aprivately held company based in Clearwater, Fla., that develops insurancerating software. Selectica plans to integrate Wakely's systems with itsInternet Selling System platform, which helps insurance companies managedata qualification, benefit selection, enrollment risk assessment, onlineunderwriting and rate calculation.

Internet pricing system Priceline.com, Norwalk, Conn., and propertycasualty insurance holding company W.R. Berkley Corp. have formedPriceline.com Auto Insurance Agency Inc., a venture that offers car ownersautomobile insurance through Priceline.com's Web site, www.priceline.com,beginning in 2001. Priceline.com Auto Insurance will pay Priceline.com anannual licensing fee based on revenues generated by the new company. W.R.Berkley will assist Priceline.com Auto Insurance in recruiting a supplierbase of major-brand automobile insurance companies to participate in theservice. W.R. Berkley, Greenwich, Conn., also will provide underwritingservices for Priceline.com Auto Insurance, the companies say.

Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Insurance, the country's fourth-largestauto and homeowners insurer, is providing insurance services to customersof BankZIP.com, a Web-based alliance of community banks. Users ofBankZIP.com partner Web sites can choose an insurance product and request aquote from Nationwide. The request is immediately e-mailed to localNationwide agents, who contact the customer directly. The services will beavailable next month, say executives from Pottstown, Pa.-based BankZIP.com.

Member companies of New York City-based American International GroupInc. are offering travel insurance for consumers who use Norwalk, Conn.-based Priceline.com to purchase an airline ticket. Priceline.com isoffering its airline customers an optional travel insurance package thatcovers the trip and coverage for trip cancellation, medical expenses,emergency evacuation, and loss of baggage, property and travel documents.Priceline.com will receive an undisclosed fixed fee from AIG membercompanies for every optional insurance package purchased. The travelinsurance program is available to every eligible customer who makes anoffer for a priceline.com airline ticket. If a traveler chooses theinsurance program, the cost is charged to the traveler's credit card onlyif he or she succeeds in getting a priceline.com airline ticket. If thetraveler's ticket offer is not successful, the cost of the insurancepackage is not charged.

Products

Broadreach Consulting Inc., a Philadelphia-based consulting firmspecializing in e-business solutions, has unveiled myAgency.net, a Web sitethat provided back-office tools for insurance agents, brokers and financialservices professionals. The online tools enable end-to-end processing forlife insurance, long-term care and annuity products. The site also offersquoting tools that enable agents to access multiple side-by-sidecomparisons, electronic application forms, underwriting requirements,product guides and continual updates in industry changes. The site includesaccess to data from more than 100 insurance companies.

OneShield, a Burlington, Mass.-based provider of insurance distributionservices via the Internet, is now offering e-commerce products targetingcommerical insurance carriers and brokers. OneShield Direct and OneShieldConnect provide real-time risk analysis, streamlined policy application andonline underwriting. The two products also include automated ratingsoftware, binding and policy issuance for more than eight lines ofbusiness. The company also released OneShield Brokerage, a licensed, Web-based brokerage service, that enables small-business suppliers and Webportals to offer commerical insurance products through OneShield'smulticarrier, co-branded brokerage service.

Sungard Insurance Services, Miami, recently released an upgradedversion of its FinPack 2000 software that supports agent sales. The latestrelease includes new investment analysis and asset allocation utilities andis intended to help life insurance agents and financial planners pinpointclients' needs for life, disability and equity products.

U.S. crop producers have a chance to obtain insurance quotes directlyfrom the Internet through a newly launched online crop insurance premiumquoting service. Established by Des Moines, Iowa-based IGF Insurance Co.,WebQuote enables crop insurance agents, producers, lenders and farmmanagers to obtain premium quotes for numerous crop insurance coverageoptions and compare the type of protection each provides. WebQuote guidesusers through a step-by-step process that lets them select insurance plansfor crops in their local area or anywhere in the U.S., the company states.The quoting system provides premium quotes, at multiple coverage levels, onan individual unit basis.

Simi Valley, Calif.-based Countrywide Insurance Services Inc. islaunching a suite of online insurance products available to homeowners.Initially available in 15 states, Countrywide, a subsidiary of financialservices provider Countrywide Credit Industries Inc., will enable consumersto buy their homeowners insurance through its Web site,www.cwinsurance.com. To obtain insurance quotes, consumers first must inputbasic personal and property information. The quotes are ranked by cost andinclude the carrier's name alongside the cost of the policy. Consumersapplying may next click the "Apply Now" button, at which time they will beasked to fill out a brief questionnaire that compiles more specificinformation about the property.

Application service provider Internance Inc. U.S., the Saddle Brook,N.J.-based subsidiary of London-based Interance Inc., is now offering Web-based services that provide seamless, single-entry distribution andadministration of insurance products. The service supports real-timequoting, policy issuance, distribution of identification cards andcertificates of insurance, collection of payments and claims processing.

Global insurance technology provider Sherwood International recentlyannounced that its Web enabling Internet infrastructure, 'os, is nowavailable on Hewlitt-Packard's HP-UX architecture. Sherwood currently usesH-P's platform for its reinsurance product, Senator, and for Amarta, whichsupports life and property/casualty insurance.

People

David Rampson has been named chief information officer of Mutual RiskManagement Ltd., a Hamilton, Bermuda-based provider of risk managementservices which has offices in Philadelphia. Rampson, who will oversee thecompany's internal information systems, previously held a senior technologyposition with Philadelphia Insurance Co. Mutual Risk Management alsoannounced that Frank Giaradina has been hired as chief technology officer.

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