HomeCom Communications Inc. said it agreed to merge with First Institutional Marketing Inc., a Houston-based marketer of annuity, insurance, and broker-dealer services to 100 banks nationwide.

HomeCom's InsureRate would be the electronic product of the merged company. Internet-based InsureRate software lets bank insurance representatives gain access to product information, run comparative quotes for customers, and process applications on-line.

The merger deal "represents a very promising opportunity to become a leader in on-line insurance sales through the banking, credit union, brokerage, and other financial institution channels," said Harvey Sax, chief executive officer of HomeCom.

"We have an integrated offering that will change the way insurance is sold," Mr. Sax said.

The deal, subject to regulatory conditions and approval by HomeCom's shareholders, is expected to be completed within three months.

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