HP To Back Ebix Insurance Portal



Hewlett-Packard and Delphi Information Systems Inc. said today that they've formed a partnership to build the world's first insurance-industry portal, ebix.mall, which is set to debut next month on Delphi's ebix.com site. HP says it will supply WebQoS and Praesidium technology to enhance performance and increase transaction security on the site, which Delphi debuted earlier this year.

HP says it will also make an unspecified capital investment in ebix--with an option to increase that investment over the next two years--and will derive a share of any revenue generated by the site. HP's ownership could reach a maximum of 9.4%, according to the agreement. "We're convinced that Delphi has a market-leading presence with ebix.com," says Keith Melbourne, group marketing manager for the Internet business unit at HP.

Delphi says the site will carry information on life, health, home, and auto insurance, and work under the "reverse auction" format, where customers will set a price and insurance carriers and agents will bid. Delphi president and chief operating officer Robin Raina says customers will access information free of charge; insurance carriers and insurance agents will pay 50 cents per bid, $10 per completed transaction, and $20 to transfer information folders between carriers and agents.

Raina says the portal will be the first Internet venue to allow customers to obtain policies solely over the Internet, with no need to call an insurance carrier or agent. He says the still-paper-intensive insurance industry is the last of the major business cornerstones to harness the power of the Internet.

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