Overstock.com Inc., a discount online retailer based in Salt Lake City, Utah, which sells a range of products including furniture, electronics, clothing and cars, has added insurance to its growing inventory of offerings.

The company recently began providing insurance for vehicles, residences and small businesses on its online shopping site. The new service is basically an insurance exchange that enables consumers to compare live quotes for residential, vehicle and small business insurance products, and pay for insurance policies from Overstock’s site, according to CEO Patrick Byrne.

By visiting the company’s insurance homepage, consumers can get a personalized, on-screen quote for insurance plans that fit their particular needs, the company says. Once they have selected an insurance plan, they can manage their policy online from the Overstock.com site.

Overstock.com has partnered with Insuritas, a provider of cloud-based, private-labeled insurance agencies, for the launch of its insurance service. Specifically, the retailer is using the Insuritas E-InsuranceAISLE technology platform to deliver the new service.

Insuritas’ platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering creates virtual insurance agencies that are integrated into a customer’s operating environment. It is currently used by more than 3.5 million consumers and small businesses, and installed in more than 70 financial institutions, according to the company.

Insuritas says the platform enables companies to provide an online insurance agency offering without the significant capital investments needed to build or buy an agency, or the inherent operational risks that can come with either of those options.

A dozen of the major insurance companies in the country are underwriting the insurance offering, with more to be added soon, says Saum Noursalehi, SVP of marketing at Overstock.com. He declines to name any of the underwriting companies.

The insurance offering is Overstock.com’s latest effort to provide consumers with less costly products and services. “Overstock.com’s mission is saving people money, and it is always looking for new niches where it can do so for its large customer base,” Noursalehi. “A lot of our customers are currently buying, furnishing or refurnishing homes or apartments with the products offered on Overstock.com, so it seemed like a natural fit for us to offer a home insurance product.”

Overstock.com “has learned how to adopt the best practices of e-commerce and retailing [that] have been optimized for our site, and has applied that to our other partnerships, like insurance,” Noursalehi says. “This makes buying insurance affordable and accessible.” He says the company plans to add additional insurance options other than just the property and casualty options offered now.

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