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One Voice Insurance Services to Offer In-language, Culturally Relevant Services

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RISMEDIA, March 15, 2007-A former industry executive and a network of leading multicultural agents later this week will launch One Voice Insurance Services, an online portal designed to provide minority consumers and business owners with in-language and culturally relevant information about health and life insurance products in California.

One Voice Insurance Services will host a launch reception on Friday, March 16, 2007 at 5 p.m. at City Club on Bunker Hill, located at Wells Fargo Center, 333 S. Grand Ave., Suite 5450, in Downtown Los Angeles.

Through its online portal, consumers will now be able to access the network of independent agents throughout California that will provide health and life insurance information in English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, Korean and the Persian language of Farsi. Agents who speak Vietnamese and Tagalog are expected to join the network in April. Other languages will be added as the market need grows.

"Providing in-language and culturally relevant information about insurance products and services in California allows us to educate the state's growing, multicultural population and provide them affordable insurance options that will address the individual needs of their families and businesses," said Leonor McCall-Rodriguez, president of One Voice Insurance Services and a former executive with Blue Cross of California.

Approximately 6.6 million Californians have no health insurance–with 75% of those residents identified as ethnic minorities. Nearly 60 percent of the uninsured are Latinos.

"In Mexico and other parts of Latin America, the government provides health care virtually free of charge," said agent-partner Gustavo Contreras, president of the Latin American Agents Association in Los Angeles. "We must help Latino consumers understand why they need to purchase health insurance for themselves and their families, especially when they're not sick."

The Los Angeles-based online portal — which will focus initially on California, the country's most culturally diverse state — will connect consumers to 12 bilingual, bi-cultural agent-partners located throughout the state. In the near future, the portal will unveil a series of in-language Web pages and additional tools to provide minority consumers and business owners with general information about health and life insurance.

One Voice Insurance Services agents, who operate successful and well-known businesses in their communities, will write policies from some of the country's largest health and life insurance companies including Aetna, AIG, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, HealthNet, Kaiser Permanente, MetLife and Prudential Financial, among others.

Agent-partners like Wes Kwon, whose insurance agency has served the Korean and Korean American communities for more than 25 years, said many bilingual consumers simply prefer dealing with an agent that speaks their native tongue.

"Even native-born English speakers have a difficult time understanding the nuances of an insurance policy. By communicating in a customer's native language, we can develop a trustworthy relationship, better understand their needs, and explain how insurance will benefit their families and businesses," Kwon said.

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