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Covered on the Net

Only days after Web surfers from 22 states could get quotes on the Internet for temporary health insurance via InsWeb, ITT Hartford Group has its first application for coverage.

Only days after Web surfers from 22 states could get quotes on the Internet for temporary health insurance via InsWeb, ITT Hartford Group has its first application for coverage from the Net. For InsWeb, this was the expected result of their Internet efforts.

"TempHealth, as ITT Hartford calls its product, is a ideally suited for the Net," said Lisa Mayer, vice president of marketing for InsWeb, an Internet insurance marketplace for consumers, business customers and the insurance industry.

"We thought it would be a great product for Web. The Internet market is very transient," said Mayer, meaning that prospective customers for short-term health coverage--young people who are between jobs and without health insurance at work--are likely to be on the Web. It is also useful service because few insurance agents want to sell that kind of coverage as commissions are low and buyers aren't likely to be repeat customers.

ITT Hartford, one of the nation's largest insurance companies, offers $2 million in major medical coverage for up to six months through TempHealth, with an option to reapply for six more months.

InsWeb also announced today that California drivers can request quotes from 20th Century Industries for personal auto insurance. The California auto quotes have been available since July 15, and 70 to 80 applications have been received to date, according to Ed Igoe, an InsWeb vice president. For now, quotes are mailed to prospects, but the goal is to have a full application and complete sales at the site.

Under an InsWeb pilot program, Utah drivers have been able to get auto insurance quotes from Workmen's Auto Insurance since last November. Utahans will be able to get quotes from Nationwide Insurance later this month, when InsWeb updates its online application form. American Express, Colonial Penn and Wasach are slated to join later. InsWeb's goal is to have five auto insurers selling in California and five in Utah by year's end.

InsWeb faces competition from Intuit's InsureMarket, which offers information but not sales. Intuit added insurance to its Quicken Financial Network when it bought Interactive Insurances Services in June. The Intuit site offers a wide range of personal finance information.

InsWeb also sells watercraft insurance and term life through Zurich Kemper Life. American Re-Insurance, California AAA, and many others have sites within InsWeb.