NU Online News Service, Aug. 13, 1:16 p.m. – Celent Communications Inc., Boston, a consulting firm, says the big U.S. life and health insurers appear to be using the Web more than the big U.S. property-casualty insurers are.

A recent Celent survey found that 54% of the top 100 life and health insurance carriers provide a password-protected Web site for agents, while 43% give their policyholders some kind of account access through the Web.

Meanwhile, only 38% of the top property-casualty insurers provide password-protected Web site for agents, and only 29% provide Web-based account access for policyholders.

Although the consumer-oriented Web sites close relatively few sales, they are playing an important role in marketing by sharply reducing marketing communications costs, Celent says.