Esurance is betting on technology to help it successfully navigate the turbulent waters of selling and servicing insurance over the Internet.The obstacles that most all-Internet insurance companies must circumvent include no brand identity, a slim portfolio of products and stiff competition from entrenched carriers. But Jean-Bernard Duler was so convinced that the ocean of opportunity for so-called virtual insurers was unlimited, he sold his racing boat in 1998 to fund the creation of Esurance Inc.

The company's philosophy is simple. By selling personal insurance over the Internet supported by a call center, Esurance can cut out some overhead costs-agent commissions and other expenses-and pass the savings along to consumers.

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