The leaders of 2 major insurance research groups have started talking about combining their organizations.

LIMRA International, Windsor, Conn., and LOMA, Atlanta, could take as long as a year to discuss and execute a merger, according to LIMRA President Robert Kerzner and LOMA President Thomas Donaldson.

A merger would make sense because LOMA and LIMRA offer complementary services, and teaming up could create a bigger, stronger, more efficient organization, Kerzner and Donaldson say.

LIMRA, which has 800 members companies, conducts research and provides consulting services related to distribution and marketing of life insurance and related products.

LOMA has 1,200 member companies. It runs research programs and educational programs focusing on improving the operations of life insurers and other financial services companies.

LIMRA and LOMA already co-sponsor many insurance industry conferences, group executives say.

“These are great organizations with powerful brand equity, highly respected for our expertise in the areas we serve,” Kerzner says in a statement about the merger talks. “We very much intend to preserve the brand and identity of each as we investigate the best way to combine.”