Net Buzz

FRAMINGHAM (03/21/2000) - Simplicity and convenience are the cornerstones of eCoverage, says founder David Riker. The company claims customers can get a competitive quote in less than five minutes by answering 16 questions. Answer 14 more and you've bought yourself coverage. Better yet, the entire transaction takes place in plain English, not industry gibberish.

Online insurance makes sense because insurance buyers do not need face-to-face contact with insurance companies. Nor do they need to see, taste, smell or hold the product. In fact, many of us are just aching for an excuse to wash our hands of our current insurers.

Riker says eCoverage will compete on price, too, although that will be difficult in states such as my beloved Massachusetts that dictate car insurance rates. Where the free market reigns, however, Riker says customers can expect savings of "as much as 20 percent."

Lending eCoverage financial support are such venture capital heavies as Accel Partners and Softbank Technology Ventures. Plans call for eCoverage to be serving 30 states by June and all 50 before Halloween.

That should frighten the insurance industry's old guard.

According to someone who really ought to know, Groove Networks is planning a June coming-out party ... but people who really ought to know oftentimes don't.

Ozzie insists this is one of those times, telling me in an e-mail that the June business "is simply not true."

"We are indeed on the path toward the end-game (whew)," Ozzie says, "but things are still highly variable and we have no launch plan."

Sounds like sometime this summer might be a good guess, though.

And Ray, I'm taking vacation the last two weeks of July, so please don't spill anything then.

"You can get a free $20 pair of boxers from," writes Bil Corry. "I'm not associated with, except for the fact that if you register for the free pair of boxers using my e-mail as the referrer, I'll earn extra dollars for buying more boxers, which will undoubtedly make my girlfriend very happy."

While the happiness of Buzz readers and their significant others is important to me, I have a more pressing concern about Who spends $20 on a pair of boxers?

OK, it means cool your jets.

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