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Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Co. (Cedar Rapids, Iowa; $28.2 billion in assets), The Hartford (Hartford; $22.7 billion in assets) and Protective Life (Birmingham, Ala.; $28.6 billion in assets) have joined forces to launch the Insurance Online Network (ION), a free, Web-based platform that provides brokers, dealers and bankers with online term life insurance quotes. According to the insurers, the service allows agents to quickly and conveniently compare life insurance rates for potential clients.

"ION came about with demand," says Mac Kermish, director and distribution programmer for The Hartford. "The secure shelf space provides a unique service and a leading provider of technology to firms," he continues. "We are putting brokers ahead of ourselves in an effort to drive the insurance business." Eventually, ION may provide quotes from participating carriers for other products, including universal life, variable life and whole life, according to Kermish.

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