Bank of America, which is trying to give insurance a higher profile and higher sales figures online and in traditional channels, has made a key hire to help it achieve those goals.

Catherine Kenworthy, formerly with GE Capital Mortgage, officially joined the Charlotte, N.C., company Monday as executive of Bank of America Insurance Services Group. It’s her responsibility to make Bank of America more adept at cross-sales and servicing of insurance products, which are available to its retail and business customers and include homeowner, credit, auto, and term life.

Ms. Kenworthy said that, since she is just starting, she could not discuss her plans for the unit in any detail, though she did say it will work closely with Bank of America’s other consumer products departments to boost cross-selling through all channels.

She will also evaluate the current product lineup to determine the best distribution points for various types of coverage.

Though the bank now sells “a broad range of products and services,” it may develop new ones, Ms. Kenworthy said.

She also plans to give insurance products more visibility at Bank of America to increase sales to its three million customers.

More than two million of those customers have bought insurance through the bank’s branches, its agency, over the telephone, or through Bank of America’s eight-month-old Internet initiative, InsureSelect.

The Bank of America Insurance Services Group, which has yearly pre-tax income of $150 million, includes the Banc of America Insurance Services Inc. agency and three insurance companies — NationsBanc Insurance Inc., General Fidelity Life Insurance Co., and General Fidelity Co.

The three companies sell mainly credit insurance and have nearly $1 billion in combined assets. The group is part of the bank’s direct marketing and specialty products division.

Ms. Kenworthy succeeded Charles Baynard, who was promoted to president of Bank of America Specialty Group. Mr. Baynard was named head of the insurance unit in January 1999 and has worked for Bank of America and NationsBank since 1973.

George A. Bicher, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, said Bank of America has a good opportunity to do more insurance cross-selling online.

It has “had a strong migration of their customer base on to that platform” and its Web site has “very good functionality,” he said.

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