Magazine article American Banker

Lincoln Plans New Push in Bank Channel after Buying Cigna Unit

Magazine article American Banker

Lincoln Plans New Push in Bank Channel after Buying Cigna Unit

Article excerpt

Lincoln National Corp., fortified by a deal to buy a Cigna Corp. unit, is planning to start selling life insurance and variable annuities to bank customers.

Till now Lincoln, an insurer based in Fort Wayne, Ind., has sold only fixed annuities in the bank channel.

Lincoln expects to buy Cigna's individual life insurance unit for $1.4 billion by yearend. The unit has begun selling life policies and variable annuities through trust and private banking divisions of banks. Lincoln officials say they hope to build on that effort, combining Lincoln's product menu with Cigna's.

A new unit, Lincoln Financial Advisors, will combine the efforts of Cigna's 600 career agents with Lincoln's 1,700. Earlier this year, Cigna's career agent division-Cigna Financial Advisors-began a concerted effort to reach the customers of private bankers and trust executives.

"Cigna Financial Advisors is known as an elite, upscale organization that works with clients with $2 million in net worth or above," said J. Michael Hemp, president of Lincoln Financial Advisors.

"Lincoln Financial Advisors has a much broader market range," he said. "The acquisition will allow Lincoln to expand the services that Cigna is already performing in that bank channel."

Cigna, formerly Connecticut General, could prove a boon to Lincoln in reaching wealthy clients, observers said.

"Connecticut General was long known in the industry as one of the best training grounds for agents," said Michael White, a bank insurance consultant in Radnor, Pa. Presumably, he said, Lincoln is "picking up a good force of life insurance agents. …

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