Magazine article American Banker

N.Y. Life Selling Annuity through Banks

Magazine article American Banker

N.Y. Life Selling Annuity through Banks

Article excerpt

New York Life is venturing into banks for the first time with a variable annuity product.

The insurance firm's annuity arm, New York Life Insurance and Annuity Corp., has contracted with the investment marketing firm Bankmark to sell the annuity, dubbed LifeStages.

Two banks are now offering the annuity - Star Banc, a $9.3 billion-asset Cincinnati banking company, which signed on in August, and Columbia Federal Savings Bank, a $1.2 billion-asset thrift in Queens, New York, which came aboard two months later. Before these alliances, New York Life only sold products through traditional agents. The insurer, estimating that the bank channel now accounts for 25% of all annuities sales, felt compelled to join the party.

"Its pretty obvious that sales of annuities through banks is very important right now," said David J. Krystel, a vice president in New York Life's individual annuities department.

By linking up with Bankmark, based in Morris Plains, N.J., New York Life gains exposure to 85 financial institutions through the marketing firm's 1,500 annuity and mutual-fund salespeople. "We've always relied heavily on the strength of our field force of insurance agents and we'll continue to do so," Mr. Krystel said. "But banks have increased market awareness of the need to save for retirement and increased their share of that market."

New York Life hopes that the variable annuity will appeal to conservative investors at banks. The insurance and annuities underwriter spent a couple of years preparing the product and picking Bankmark as its marketer. …

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