Washington, D.C. --The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) issued today its 2005 Bank Insurance Study titled, "Catalyst for Change: Next Steps in Bridging the Cultural Divide Between Banks and Life Insurers." The report offers specific proposals designed to support the growth of a vibrant bank insurance marketplace.

Key among them is acceptance of insurance products by bank executives. This aims to address the problem of insurers' inability to judge the extent of a bank's commitment to distributing insurance. The report also proposes steps to address administrative issues, such as the lack of standardization in the life insurance policy sales process, as well as effectiveness issues. This includes the lack of integration of insurance products into the bank product sales process.

"Creating the successful bank life insurance blueprint involves a series of detailed and precise actions, procedures and processes. The 21 recommendations in this paper are not designed to itemize the particular set of actions needed, but rather are to be used to highlight those issues that our 2004 workshop participants felt were barriers to achieving success and where the industry collectively needed to place more emphasis," the report says.

The recommendations came out of three ACLI-sponsored workshops with senior executives of banks, life insurers, consultants, professional advisors and industry experts in 2004. The "common thread and organizing principle" of the workshops, the report says, was to bring people together to talk about the nuts and bolts of selling life insurance to the middle-tier and emerging-affluent retail market.

"Stated another way," the report says, the workshops aimed to examine "why life insurance sales through banks have lagged and how that can be changed."

The report, by ACLI and its strategic partners -- C F Effron Company, Baker & Daniels, Navigant Consulting, Inc., and Unger Software -- expands upon findings on the bank-insurer divide unveiled in 2003.


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