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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.--Poe & Brown Inc. recently acquired Kelley-Rhodes Insurance Inc. of Houston, d.b.a. KRB & Associates, and Naples, Fla.-based Gulfcoast Commercial Insurance Inc.

KRB & Associates will become part of the Poe & Brown office in Houston, and Gulfcoast Commercial will become part of the Poe & Brown office in Naples.

Also, the Boulton Agency Inc. in Miami, d.b.a. Boulton Boon, became part of Poe & Brown through an exchange of stock, which will be accounted for as a pooling of interests transaction. Boulton Boon will be combined with Poe & Brown's existing Miami office.

J. Hyatt Brown, chairman, president and CEO of Poe & Brown, said the additions reflect the broker's intent to expand its presence in the Sun Belt.

PIA extranet

ALEXANDRIA, Va.--The National Assn. of Professional Insurance Agents is in the process of building an industrywide extranet to support PIA members' information, marketing and sales efforts.

The extranet will feature single sign-on access to a vast number of products and services provided by PIA and an extensive database of marketing and management resources provided by Insurance Marketing Management Services. The PIA is in partnership with several insurers that are working on the development of transactional capabilities for agents on the extranet.

The PIA signed a contract with Atlanta-based HomeCom Communications Inc., an Internet software solutions provider, to build the extranet in August. The architectural design started in September. It is expected to take one year to fully implement.

Web site enhanced

HATBORO, Pa.--The Penn-America Group Inc. has upgraded its World Wide Web site to include new features that increase the site's value for agents.

These new features include: access to claim information in a secure, password-protected environment; the ability to select and order marketing support materials online; direct access to five specialized agent publications; and improved functions to help other site users locate and contact agents.

The Web site can be accessed at

Service center

HARTFORD, Conn.--Travelers Property Casualty Corp. recently launched a new business service center to support its independent agents writing small-business coverage.

The service center program offers a wide variety of options for agents by providing different levels of customer assistance. Options range from the one-time book of business consolidations to complete services of a policy after it is sold, including renewal processing, endorsement issuance, certificate requests, billing questions, claim interfaces and cross-selling opportunities.

Additional features and benefits of the service center include:

* The agency's name is prominently displayed on all welcome and renewal communications sent to policyholders.

* An integrated financial and compensation program.

* A dedicated account team to work with an agency.

* State-of-the-art phone and computer technology to handle incoming calls.

"Travelers is dedicated to supporting agents in ways that help them build their business and better serve their customers," said Douglas Elliot, senior vp-Select Accounts, Traveler's small-business account unit, in a statement. "By functioning as an extension of an agency's servicing operations, the new center enables agents to focus more of their time on sales and on their new business efforts."