Banks with the highest referral rates out-perform average banks by nearly double in several categories including financial services, employee benefit, personal, commercial and small commercial.

The highest rate of referrals for new business from bank divisions to insurance divisions occurs at institutions that make cross-selling a priority, according to a new report.

The American Bankers Insurance Association, a Washington, D.C.-based subsidiary of the American Bankers Association, published this finding in quarterly report, the Bank-Insurance Viability Index. The report was compiled by MarshBerry & Company Inc., Dana Point, Calif., and sponsored by ABIA.

The report found that the banks with the highest referral rates out-performed the average banks by nearly double in several categories including financial services, employee benefit, personal, commercial and small commercial.

According to the report, the most successful rate of new business from bank referrals occurs when agencies include cross-selling goals as part of annual performance reviews; use CRM programs to track referral and selling activities; and hold bank and insurance relationship management meetings.

These agencies also hold monthly pipeline meetings that review pipeline, educate others on product, build relationships and celebrate successes; provide incentives for cross-selling referrals and results; and hire business development officers that bridge relationship gaps between the organizations.