Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. has announced announced the beta launch of Universal Direct, an online shopping portal for Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company products.

UPCIC’s direct-to-consumer offering for homeowner’s insurance products will allow customers to purchase, pay and bind policies online without the need of intermediaries. The site will launch this month in Pennsylvania with more states to be added in the coming months. Until then, potential buyers can take a video tour of Universal Direct, according to the company.

"With Universal Direct, we are tapping the power of the internet to reach customers directly, a business model that has proven successful in other segments of the insurance industry, such as auto insurance,” said Sean Downes, Universal's chairman and CEO. "Universal Direct will offer consumers an experience similar to other online purchasing decisions, on their own terms and at their convenience.”

When launched, Universal Direct will include an intuitive interface, real-time quotes and educational materials. Customers will also have access to live customer support from agents via phone or online. Additionally, Universal's independent agents will receive commission from policies sold online.

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