In an unusual arrangement, Citizens Bank in Providence, R.I., will soon be selling high-end life insurance products using agents employed by the Transamerica Group Inc., Los Angeles, to work specifically for the bank; it was revealed during the BISA conference here last week.
David R. Stebenne, vice president and director of insurance, Citizens Financial Services Inc., Providence, R.I., said he is negotiating an arrangement with Transamerica under which the carrier would hire four agents specifically to work within his banks branches. The agents would act like Citizens own employees, going through his banks training course to learn how to sell insurance to the banks customers, he said.
Stebenne said he would also take part in interviewing candidates for the four positions and in making hiring decisions.
The positions would be filled over the next three months or so, he said.
Stebenne said his bank is committed to sell insurance because of its potential for generating significant fee income and for better serving customers. But, he explained, it could take years for a bank to adopt the cultural change needed to sell insurance effectively.
Bringing in additional salespeople from an outside carrier “will let our insurance operation grow fast,” said Stebenne. His unit currently has only one internal licensed specialist selling life insurance, he said.
“We have some high-producing brokers, but Im not going to rely on them to grow our insurance program, because theyre not interested,” said Stebenne.
He said the approach he settled on would allow Citizens to leverage its relationship with Transamerica to grow its insurance business, without making a significant cash investment.
In addition to Transamerica products, the outside agents would also sell products from the banks other carriers, Stebenne said.