Microsoft Marries Major Insurers with MSN.COM

Microsoft Corp. Monday introduced three new online advertising sponsorship packages created for insurance companies to market their products and services on its MSN portal.

Allstate Insurance Co., Ohio Casualty Group and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. have purchased more than $10 million in package slots.

The MSN Insurance Initiative offers insurers online advertising packages geared life, auto, homeowners and renters insurance.

Jim Kinsella, MSN general manager of sales and marketing, said insurance shopping services would be integrated at key network access points.

“By building advertising packages around insurance content created specifically for HomeAdvisor, CarPoint and MoneyCentral, we offer insurers a unique way to reach consumers who are already actively shopping for insurance,” Kinsella said. “Tie-ins to insurance content on MSN.COM Life Events Web pages and integration with Microsoft Money 2000 insurance content further enhance these packages for our customers.”

Rich Heneberry, Allstate director of marketing, said advertising their services with MSN would make it easier for the online community to improve home safety and shop for insurance.

“Allstate continues to extend its services across the Web, and we’re excited to be a sponsor of insurance related content on the MSN.COM network of Internet services,” said. ” We believe consumers using MSN.COM services will appreciate the valuable safety materials, helpful online calculators and special customer services.”

Bill Minor, OCG senior vice president of marketing, said being tied into users of CarPoint would naturally help consumers that want to know about their auto insurance options, before they buy a vehicle.

“Ohio Casualty Group is advertising on the MSN.COM network of Internet services because our customers have asked us to make buying insurance simpler,” Minor. “Our online insurance quote, in tandem with MSN.COM, takes the hassle out of buying car insurance.”

Ann Baughan, State Farm vice president of enterprise Internet services, said people are crunched for time and the MSN sponsorship package just makes it easier for consumers to buy insurance.

“People are time-starved,” Baughan said. “It’s really not a complicated idea, we need to be available whenever the customer has the time or need to turn to us. Our presence on the MSN.COM network of Internet services is consistent with our primary goal of providing quality service and solutions to our customers.”

Kinsella added that Microsoft (MSFT) would continue refining the insurance packages based on feedback from dvertisers, and plans to introduce similar advertising packages on MSNfor other vertical industries.

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