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Conning: Surviving Insurer-Bank Combos May Be Stronger

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Insurance-banking combination strategies born since the recession started may have a greater chance of success than older combination efforts.

Analysts at Conning Research & Consulting, Hartford, present suggestion in a review of insurance-banking strategies.

The Glass Steagall Act of 1933 once kept banking and insurance businesses separate. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 eliminated that barrier, but many early integration efforts did poorly.

“Even before the financial crisis, the notion of financial supermarkets that had gained currency following the repeal of Glass-Steagall had begun to fade in the face of discouraging early results,” says Terence Martin, a co-author of the Conning commentary.

Later, less ambitious but more successful combinations emerged, and some of those combinations have done well throughout the recent financial crisis, Conning says.

Larger bank insurance units tended to do better than smaller units, and a company usually did better in either sector when it kept its primary focus in either insurance or banking and made the other line of business an added offering. Companies that focused on either insurance or banking were often more successful at strengthening relationships with core clients, Conning says.



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