Culture War: Banks and Insurance Units

By Oppenheim, Sara | American Banker, December 10, 1996 | Go to article overview

Culture War: Banks and Insurance Units


Oppenheim, Sara, American Banker


When the chairman of an Evansville, Ind., bank assumed responsibility for a newly acquired insurance agency, he asked the agency's founder what role he should play.

According to William Vieth, chairman of Citizens National Bank, the advice delivered by insurance veteran Al Adams couldn't have been clearer:

"Keep the bankers away."

In a recent interview, Mr. Adams said he had been afraid the bankers would have too many meetings and leave the agency's sales force with too little time to promote insurance products.

"Bankers thrive on taking a vote to see what should be done," he said. "We're lean and mean and able to get things done quickly."

While Mr. Adams' words might strike some as stereotyping bankers unfairly, they underscore the cultural challenges that banks face as they build insurance business through the purchase of independent agencies.

Most often, the insurance agencies acquired by banks are small entrepreneurial companies. Agents are used to dealing with the pinstriped crowd as customers, not co-workers.

Mr. Vieth took Mr. Adams' words to heart. He tried to limit the number of meetings and asked only top executives to attend.

"We really did tread softly on trying to infiltrate our banking style on the organization," Mr. Vieth said. "At the same time, we now own the agency and have to know something about it."

When an insurance agency is bought by a bank, agents gain the security and support staff that are part of a large corporation.

The insurance agency founders, who often had done their own administrative work, are happy to pass on bookkeeping and human resources tasks to the bank's staff.

Comerica Insurance, a subsidiary of the Detroit-based banking company, pairs agents with administrative employees, who spend a year introducing them to the bank's reporting procedures.

"We don't want people coming into our organization saying, 'Wow, this is a big change. I don't know if I like this,' " said Comerica Insurance president Andrea Martin.

But insurance agents at many banks wince when asked to file reams of paperwork, join in lengthy policy discussions, or unravel corporate red tape.

"They tend to get very frustrated in that environment," said Kenneth Kehrer, a Princeton, N.J.-based bank insurance consultant.

Paid by commission, insurance agents usually view time spent in meetings as preventing them from selling insurance products and increasing their paychecks.

Insurance agents' salaries and commission structure usually parallel pay in the insurance industry rather than that of the bank holding company.

"We want them to make as many sales as possible," said H. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Culture War: Banks and Insurance Units
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    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.