Laughlin Group of Cos., an investment products marketing company, is offering to run back-office operations for bank insurance programs.

The Allstate Life Insurance Co. unit has created a center with a 25-person staff to help support marketing efforts at bank insurance units. It also administers insurance policies and helps banks choose which products to offer.

The unit works out of Laughlin's Beaverton, Ore., headquarters.

"Banks say they want to outsource these services because they don't have the resources to build back offices themselves," said Jim Dodge, senior vice president and managing director of the new operations.

Mr. Dodge said Laughlin is working with three of the largest 100 banks already, which he declined to name. He said the banks he deals with would have to spend at least $1 million a piece to start up a back office.

Laughlin helps banks determine which products to offer customers, from traditional term insurance to niche estate planning products. The company also does case management - that is, it develops various insurance plans for a customer.

The new center also administers customers' insurance applications and keeps track of bank agents' sales and compensation.

Already a top seller of annuities through banks, Laughlin is trying to capitalize on banks' entrance into insurance sales. The company has 150 annuity clients, including such powerhouses as PNC Bank Corp., Sun Trust Banks Inc., and California Federal Bank.

Laughlin is also marketing business insurance for banks to sell.

The company is owned by Glenbrook Life and Annuity Co., a subsidiary of Northbrook, Ill.-based Allstate. But Laughlin insists it offers products from as many as 30 carriers.

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