Consumers typically have three options for buying insurance online:They can either go directly to a carrier's Web site, an online insurancemall or to the Web site of an Internet-only carrier. For customers of FirstUnion Corp., there soon will be a fourth option.The Charlotte, N.C.-based financial services giant in July acquiredProfessional Direct Agency Inc. after executives concluded that the companyfit within the First Union's strategy of concentrating on high-growthopportunities.

The primary asset that First Union is getting from the $4.3 millioncash deal is the Columbus, Ohio-based company's nationally-licensed onlineinsurance agency, Pivot.com.

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