Magazine article American Banker

Huntington Bancshares Jumping on Life Insurance Bandwagon

Magazine article American Banker

Huntington Bancshares Jumping on Life Insurance Bandwagon

Article excerpt

Huntington Bancshares will soon begin selling life insurance through its Michigan branch network.

The $19.4 billion-asset banking company, based in Columbus, Ohio, has signed its first agreement with an insurance company to sell life and health insurance, said William Browning, president of Huntington National Life Insurance Co.

Huntington's move is part of an emerging effort by banks to broaden their array of fee-income offerings by selling insurance to middle- class Americans who have largely been abandoned by traditional insurance agents.

"We're not looking at the insurance business today as a huge source of new revenue," Mr. Browning said, "but we do feel we're moving with a trend to develop a total financial services approach."

Huntington signed its agreement with Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna Life and Casualty Co. last week.

Mr. Browning said he would soon announce similar arrangements with at least two other life insurance companies.

Under the Aetna contract, Huntington will initially sell the life insurance products of Aetna Life Insurance and Annuity Co.

Huntington is taking advantage of a 1994 state Supreme Court decision that affirmed a Michigan bank's right to sell life insurance. Independent insurance agents had spent the past year trying to negate the decision by pushing a bill through the state Legislature that would have rolled back banks' insurance powers.

But the state Senate rejected the bill.

Michigan is one of 21 states that allows banks to sell insurance, according to Michael White Associates, Radnor, Pa. …

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