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Expresslink venture targets sales at auto dealerships. (Technology).

Cartel Marketing and Turbocoverage Inc., two dealer point-of-sale auto insurance marketers, formed a new company to provide online insurance to car buyers in dealerships.

The new company, Expresslink Inc., combines Cartel's 20-year-old insurance distribution network with Turbocoverage's technology platform for online auto insurance sales, company executives said.

Phil Barry, Expresslink's chief executive officer and a Turbocoverage founder, said the Web-based platform will allow car dealers to arrange for insurance coverage for car buyers within minutes after a car has been sold.

Barry estimates that about 7 million people, representing 15% of all car buyers each year, need auto insurance at the time of the vehicle sale.

"This is a potential $1 billion market," he said. "It is a nonstandard market, one which we think has been underserved."

Turbocoverage, which has been marketing auto insurance through 13 kiosks in California auto dealerships, will be able to turn around an insurance sale within 90 seconds on the new platform through a dealer's desktop computer, compared with an average 15 minutes through the kiosks, Barry said.

"What's important to the dealer is that they roll cars," he said.

For the new Expresslink venture, cost savings will be another advantage to the desktop system, Barry said.

"With the kiosk system, we needed a $2,000 to $3,000 outlay for each location," he said. "There is very little cost with the desktop platform."

Barry said Expresslink is working on a rollout plan to take the dealership system beyond its current markets in California, Nevada and Arizona and into about 40 states by the end of the year.

"We have an aggressive rollout plan," he said.

Barry said Expresslink, which has been selling about 7,000 insurance policies a month, expects its 2002 expansion to run smoothly, even with state regulatory requirements.

"With the...partnership, we believe we'll be able to handle regulatory requirements without much delay," he said.
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Comment:Expresslink venture targets sales at auto dealerships. (Technology).
Publication:Best's Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Words:314
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