Allstate Insurance Co., which has been inviting requests for term life quotes on InsWeb Corp.s Internet portal for two years, says it will start doing the same for property/casualty products this month and actually sell through the site next year.
The plans may help Allstate sell directly through banks and brokerages, but that is not the main idea, said Jeff Lewis, its vice president of direct distribution,
InsWeb has relationships with hundreds of Web sites, some of which are banks that link to them directly from their site, he said. If thats how we get our sales, great. But the main reason were doing this is to be able to offer quotes on the Internet, period.
Still, the InsWeb connection, which was announced Tuesday, may bring Allstate some business from some online bank customers. InsWeb, which is based in Sacramento, Calif., has direct link agreements with about 10 bank and financial Web sites, including Wingspan.com and E-Trade, according to Greg Jones, a spokesman.
We want to be present at as many bank Web sites as we can, because we know some will go to their banks Web site and decide they want to take care of all their financial services needs right there and then, Mr. Jones said. We also want to be connected to sites where we can reach customers going through a life-changing event, whether its a moving company or an auto dealerships site.
Allstate now e-mails term life quotes in response to queries through InsWeb. By June it will do the same for auto insurance policies to residents of 15 states, and quotes on renters policies will also be available to people in select states.
Next year inquires through InsWeb will get instant online quotes, Allstate said, and consumers will be able to actually buy coverage online.
Also coming next year through the site will be homeowners and condominium policies, the Northbrook, Ill, insurer said.
As part of the deal, InsWeb agreed to issue warrants to Allstate entitling it to purchase as many as 350,000 shares of InsWeb common stock over the next five years at no more than $5 each. The stock was trading at $1.38 at midday Thursday.
InsWeb bought the rival Quickeninsurance.com site from Intuit Inc. in January for $11.4 million and is now the exclusive insurance provider for Quicken.com.