PhatGroup.com sounds like a place to download rap music phat is street slang for pretty, hot, and tempting but actually it is a financial services Web site.
Furthermore, though new users get a free baseball cap, the Newburyport, Mass., company is not trying to make a special pitch for the MTV crowd, said chief executive Sean Brennan
We ended up with phat as the name because my kids were listening to some song, he said. I heard it and used it after I struck out with a host of other URLs.
PhatGroup.com can be used to open checking and savings accounts at Sovereign Bank, a unit of $36 billion-asset Sovereign Bancorp in Wyomissing, Pa.; and to trade stocks through Quick & Reilly, a unit of FleetBoston Financial Corp.
By yearend the site will also offer auto, homeowners, marine, and personal liability insurance, as well as fixed annuities, all from Amica Mutual Insurance Co. of Lincoln, R.I.
Insurance will round out our financial services, Mr. Brennan said. Eventually variable annuities (not from Amica, which offers only fixed) and mutual funds will also be available, he said.
John Connors is the senior vice president of marketing at Amica, which has $2.5 billion of assets and $850 million of premiums. He said Web sites are a new way for the underwriter to attract clients.
Until three years ago, the only way we got new business was from referrals, he said. We cant rely on that anymore. This gives us a chance to sell through a portal, and also lets us cross-market to Sovereign and Quick & Reilly clients.
Mr. Brennan said PhatGroup.com will also use cross-marketing to grow. For example, he said, well market other financial services products to all Amica customers through statements or other means.
The site also will add real estate and tax services in the coming months, Mr. Brennan said. We will name exclusive providers for each of these as well, he said.
He added that each of the exclusive contracts run for two years.
Many larger banks and insurance companies realize that they have to offer their services through the Internet, Mr. Brennan said. Were an avenue for them.
Even though the PhatGroup.com is not pursuing the youth strategy its name suggests, Mr. Connors said the site should help Amica expand sales to younger customers.
If we had our druthers, he noted, wed like to insure you from age 25 until the day you die, instead of age 50 until you die.