The Internet insurance marketer Homecom Communications said it will open an insurance portal with a Lincoln, Neb., information provider.

The co-branding effort by Atlanta-based Homecom and FirstInsure Inc. is expected to be up and running early next year.

"What we've done is partner with them to not only provide insurance information to these customers but also execute purchases," said Bill Martina, senior vice president of Homecom's insurance financial services division.

The site would offer insurance and financial product information through FirstInsure's on-line U.S. Financial News and U.S. Insurance News publications.

Customers could apply on-line for term life, homeowners, and auto insurance. Homecom offers insurance policies from Mutual of Omaha, Zurich/Kemper Life, Progressive, and others. People could also apply through Homecom's Houston call center, which serves other partners, including banking companies like Summit Bancorp of Princeton, N.J.

Mr. Martina said call-center employees have face-to-face-sales backgrounds, which has helped build the sale-to-application ratio. Homecom issues a policy to 91.5% of applicants who use the call center, he said.

The planned portal is an example of the growing number of Internet efforts to demystify insurance, said Carmen Effron, a Westport, Conn., consultant. Efforts to educate people about insurance reduce the time it takes for them to investigate and buy products, she said.

"Insurance will become less of a dark veil behind which agents hide," Ms. Effron said. "The more information that's out there - as long as it's accurate, and there's the rub - the better."

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