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Washington Mutual Launches Comprehensive Insurance Web Site

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 16, 2001--Washington Mutual Insurance Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Washington Mutual, Inc. (NYSE:WM), has launched a comprehensive new consumer insurance website designed to take the guesswork out of selecting and obtaining insurance.

The site, www.wamuins.com, provides extensive information to help consumers navigate through the many types of insurance including home, vehicle, marine, life, personal/medical, commercial and, coming soon, pet insurance. The site also offers timely price quotes and helpful customer service features.

The web site is unique because it offers users state-specific content, only displaying information and product offerings particular to the consumer's state of residence. This customized feature makes it easier and faster for consumers to learn about the different types of insurance, obtain an appropriate quote and ultimately secure their insurance coverage.

"The insurance services web site embraces the philosophy of the Internet by providing everyone from the novice to those more familiar with insurance products a wealth of information to aid them in determining and obtaining the insurance coverage they desire," said Carl Formato, president, Washington Mutual Insurance Services. "It is a natural extension of Washington Mutual Insurance Services which brings more than 35 years of experience to the online insurance marketplace."

The Online Insurance Business is Growing

According to the American Insurance Institute, 10 percent of all personal lines insurance in the United States will be purchased online by 2005. Formato said Washington Mutual Insurance Services is well positioned to play a leading role in the growth of the online insurance business.

"One feature that sets wamuins.com apart from the competition is Washington Mutual's `bricks and clicks' strategy allowing customers to interact with the company in the manner they are most comfortable with," said Formato. "For instance, customers can initiate a claim online or send an e-mail providing the date and time they would like to be contacted by a customer service representative. With the customer relationship available through different channels, it puts us at an advantage in the marketplace."

Wamuins.com is the newest in a series of robust Washington Mutual web sites that have been introduced over the past several months giving customers convenient and flexible access to products and services via the web. Other recent web site additions include www.wamumortgage.com, which offers customers home loan application, tracking and approval online and www.invest1to1.com, which offers extensive information and service for investors.

(For further information on wamuins.com, a Reviewers Guide is available at www.wamunewsroom.com. This additional information follows the text of this news release on our web site.)

                            www.wamuins.com
                            Reviewers Guide

Background

Washington Mutual Insurance Services, Inc. and its subsidiaries have been providing a variety of insurance products to customers for more than 35 years. The wamuins.com web site is an extension of Washington Mutual's `bricks n' clicks' strategy allowing customers to interact with the company in the manner they are most comfortable.

UNIQUE TO WAMUINS.COM

State specific information -- When a user first enters the site they are asked to select their state. Unlike many online insurance sites, from that point forward the information displayed throughout wamuins.com is specific to the user's state. This is accomplished through a dynamic database which also allows Washington Mutual Insurance Services to quickly update the site when new products are offered in a state or state regulators change insurance regulations.

Enter information once -- Users only have to provide their personal information once. This eliminates the frustration and reduces user fatigue caused by applicants continually retyping the same information. Also encourages users to seek quotes for multiple products. SSN and Policy/Loan numbers are not stored for security reasons.

Secure transmission -- Personal data is secured through the use of SSL technology.

Shortcut menu -- Provides "one click" access to specific product groups or services. (This also regenerates when a user changes state.)

Breadth of products offered -- In a comparison of 38 online insurance web sites wamuins.com had the broadest selection of coverage, 19 separate product categories are currently available with more coming. (See Insurance Products section on the next page.)

Life Insurance section -- (www.wamuins.com/en/products/life/?wmisLayoutMenuCategory=life) Depending on state regulations, offers term, universal and whole life policies with an extensive selection of carriers. Offers real time quote retrieval, educational articles, online application through to paramedic appointment set up.

New to Online Insurance section -- (www.wamuins.com/en/news/insurance.phtml) provides an explanation of what wamuins.com does, why we ask particular questions, and addresses privacy and security issues.

HELPFUL SHORTCUTS

Glossary -- A comprehensive list of more than 250 insurance terms, policies and practices.

Tools -- Provides the user with calculators and quizzes to assist customers with determining their insurance needs.

University -- (www.wamuins.com/en/university/index.phtml) is a resource center offering information and quizzes on a wide variety of insurance topics (delivered on a state by state basis). All articles are printer-friendly and link directly to quote retrieval for the noted product(s).

    INSURANCE PRODUCTS

         Single Family
         Condo/Townhouse
         Mobile/Manufactured
         Renters
         Second homes
         Earthquake
         Flood
         Valuable articles

    Vehicle
         Auto
         Motor home
         Recreational
         Travel trailer

    Marine
         Boats

    Life
         Term
         Universal
         Whole

    Personal/Medical
         Long term care
         Personal umbrella

    Commercial
         Earthquake
         Income property
         Apartments
         Flood

    Coming soon
         Pet Insurance
         Home Warranty Insurance
         Disability Income
         Mortgage Protection

CUSTOMER SERVICE HIGHLIGHTS

Claims -- Allows a customer to initiate a claim form online or obtain the phone number and hours to speak with a claims specialist.

Proof of Insurance -- can be ordered online as may be required by their mortgage holder or auto finance company.

Contact us -- Allows users to expedite requests such as:

  • Add a new vehicle

  • Ask a general question or address a concern

  • Make policy changes

  • -- Request a call -- Allows a user to identify a time they wish to be contacted, as well as provide additional information on what they want to discuss.

  • Submit a change of address

With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual is a national financial services company that provides a diversified line of products and services to consumers and small- to mid-sized businesses. At September 30, 2000, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $190.78 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,000 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer finance and financial services offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's news releases are available at www.wamu.com.

Editor's Note: Washington Mutual's news releases are available at no charge through the company's News On Demand Plus System. For a menu of Washington Mutual news releases or to retrieve a specific release, call 1-800-329-6236. On the Internet, news releases may be accessed at http://www.businesswire.com/cnn/wm.shtml.

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CONTACT: Washington Mutual
P. Kevin Horn, 206/377-3268