In a drive to become a dominant seller of annuities at banks, a unit of Aetna Life and Casualty Co. has signed on seven new bank clients in the past month.

Most recently, Aetna Life Insurance and Annuity Co. has designed a fixed annuity for sale exclusively through branches of Amsouth Bancorp., a $17 billion-asset bank in Birmingham, Ala.

Dubbed "Value Reserve," Aetna's annuity product has features specifically requested by Amsouth, such as flexible compensation structures. Aetna has agreed that sales of this product will be limited to Amsouth branches in Alabama and Tennessee.

Among the other banks recently signed on by the annuities marketer are SouthTrust Corp., Hibernia Corp., and First Security Corp.

Aetna now has relationships with 16 banks, with six more soon to be signed on, said David Sanderford, vice president for financial institutions at Aetna Life Insurance and Annuity.

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