Allstate Life Insurance Co. has released details about its joint venture with Putnam Investments.

The companies agreed March 1 to jointly create, brand, and distribute variable insurance products. They will be sold by Putnam's sales force through banks, brokerages, and financial advisers.

Allstate Life Distributors, a new unit dedicated to supporting the Putnam relationship, will provide sales and marketing support to Putnam wholesalers.

The unit will include at least nine insurance field specialists, a national director to oversee them, and a sales and marketing staff, an Allstate spokeswoman said. The field specialists' responsibilities will include sales and marketing, continuing education, and product information.

Allstate Financial Distributors Inc., the Northbrook, Ill.-based insurer's other distribution unit will continue to wholesale Allstate's life insurance and annuity products through banks, brokerages, and other distribution channels.

Allstate set up the unit to establish a wall between its distribution arm and the joint venture with Boston-based Putnam, said Maryann Bruce, the president of Allstate Financial Distributors.

Ms. Bruce, who joined Allstate from OppenheimerFunds Inc. of New York in October, will oversee the national director and insurance field specialists, the spokeswoman said. Putnam will be involved in the hiring process, she added.

Brent H. Hamann, the newly appointed assistant vice president of broker- dealer distribution for Allstate Life, is responsible for key account relationship management at the new unit. Previously, he was the bank marketing director of Glenbrook Life and Annuity Co., an Allstate Life subsidiary.

Mr. Hamann has hired a product developer and manager, a marketing manager, and a marketing project coordinator from within Allstate, the spokeswoman said, and he is looking to fill a marketing and an administrative position.

Allstate hopes to have the new unit's staff in place by May 3, the anticipated launch date of their first product, a variable annuity. A second product will be introduced soon thereafter, she said.

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