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Priceline Continues Expansion

Priceline.com Wednesday added a new track to its name-your-price arena with the debut of an automobile insurance plan.

Priceline.com Auto Insurance Agency Inc., a venture created in conjunction with holding company W.R. Berkley Corp. , will offer automobile insurance through priceline.com. The program is expected to roll out early next year.

The new program addresses one of the largest segments of the insurance market, said Ben Ness, senior vice president of financial services for priceline.com.

"American consumers pay more than $110 billion a year in automobile insurance premiums," he said. "Soon, customers will be able to name their own price for one of the most competitively shopped insurance categories in America."

priceline.com Auto Insurance will pay priceline.com an annual licensing fee based on revenues generated by the new company. >

W.R. Berkley will assist priceline.com Auto Insurance in recruiting a supplier base of major brand automobile insurance companies to participate in the service.

"We know insurance and priceline.com knows e-commerce," said William R. Berkley, chairman and president of W.R. Berkley. "By merging our respective abilities, we can introduce a compelling new approach to the automobile insurance market.