January 04, 2005

Study Provides Recommendations to Bridge Bank and Life Insurance Divide - ACLI, Baker & Daniels unveil study results

The report, titled "Catalyst for Change: Next Steps in Bridging the Cultural Divide Between Banks and Life Insurers," is the result of a strategic partnership between ACLI and the law firm of Baker & Daniels.

"We identified the lack of enthusiasm for bank/insurer cooperation in the life insurance product sales process several years ago," said Charles Richardson, Baker & Daniels partner and chair of the firm's insurance and financial services team and one of the study's authors. "This newest study goes a step further by identifying the issues standing in the way of improving the sale of life insurance products in the banking channel and providing specific proposals to break down those barriers."

The 21 recommendations highlighted in the report emerged from ACLI-sponsored workshops with senior executives of banks, life insurance companies, consultants, professional advisers and industry experts.

Despite the 1999 passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which removed the barriers to bank and life insurer affiliations, the sale of life insurance products has lagged. During 2003 life insurance products sales represented a mere 4.6 percent of total premiums written, according to the American Bankers Insurance Association. ACLI, Baker & Daniels and other partners convened to investigate the failure of bank life insurance sales to thrive.

The newest study provides recommendations on three key drivers of success: distribution, marketing and sales; administration; and effectiveness.

Other strategic partners in the effort include CF Effron Company, Navigant Consulting Inc. and Unger Software Corporation.
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