Magazine article American Banker

Summit Teams Insurance Agency with Bank Branch: Intends Next-Door Location to Drive Cross-Sales

Magazine article American Banker

Summit Teams Insurance Agency with Bank Branch: Intends Next-Door Location to Drive Cross-Sales

Article excerpt

Though many banks are eager to buy insurance agencies, they are still searching for effective ways to blend insurance into their product mix.

At Summit Bancorp of Princeton, N.J., the search led it close to home: It has decided to move one of its insurance agencies next door to a Summit bank branch in Bayonne in an effort to improve communication between agents and bankers and subsequent cross-selling.

The relocated agency is the former Patgo Insurance Agencies and is now part of Summit Insurance Advisors, which opened the Bayonne office this week.

"Housing people together is a key factor in team selling," said Jim O'Connor, senior executive vice president for new business at Summit Insurance Advisors of Cranford, N.J. "You have people with different areas of specialization communicating with each other."

Communication is just one issue that banks need to face when trying to get agents and bank employees on the same page, consultants said.

"The bank people are going to have to be slightly more sales-oriented, and the agency people are going to have to realize that when a customer walks into a branch, they aren't expecting a sales-oriented attitude," said James Overholt, senior consultant and manager of financial services programs at Milliman & Robertson Inc. in Chicago.

Also, bank employees and insurance agents do not always push the same products, said Ken Kehrer, president of Kenneth Kehrer Associates in Princeton.

"Brokers in a bank are generally more interested in selling mutual funds than life insurance," Mr. Kehrer said, adding that many brokers are reluctant to give others a crack at their clients.

"I call it customer hoarding," Mr. Kehrer said. "The broker wants the relationship to himself and doesn't want to share the customer with the person who sells life insurance, which means the customer ends up with less life insurance than they should have. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.