Insurance & Technology is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


01:14 PM
Connect Directly

Next Up: Can Fusura Hit Web Sales Homerun?

Online agency backed by AIG, Prudential and Kemper will market to consumers directly on the Internet.

After the bubble burst, the carnage of almost everything dot-com has deterred many venture capital-funded start-ups, but it hasn't stopped some brick-and-mortar companies from forging ahead with online initiatives.

In fact, some traditional players are even funding new dot-com spin-offs. In a first for the insurance industry, three carriers have teamed up to launch a new Web-based insurance agency,, a site that will allow consumers to research, buy and manage their personal lines insurance needs.

New York-based American International Group (AIG, $303 billion in assets under management), Kemper Insurance Companies (Long Grove, IL, $9.7 billion in assets under management) and Prudential Insurance Co. of America (Newark, NJ, $363 billion in assets under management) are the three current equity holders in Fusura, which will focus initially on auto insurance and later on other personal lines such as homeowners.

"Fusura came about as a result of a directive from AIG Chairman Hank Greenberg about one year ago," says Wilmington DE-based Rick Bender, acting president of Fusura. "The criterion for Fusura is it had to be owned and led by leading insurance carriers. We spoke with several carriers and we are still continuing to talk to others." He says there may be more carrier equity holders in Fusura, and there will also be other insurers that market products over Fusura.

The new online agency is looking to capitalize on the new-economy consumer, says Edward M. Rafter, president and chief executive officer of Prudential Property and Casualty Insurance Co. "The buying behavior of consumers is changing," he says. "There is a certain segment of the population that wants to complete the insurance process immediately." Consumers will be able to go from quote to bind at Fusura. Rafter does acknowledge, however, that the instant insurance purchase is "not for everybody," and insurance shoppers can still reach AIG, Kemper and Prudential through traditional channels.

Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio

1 of 2
Register for Insurance & Technology Newsletters