Faced with upheaval and consolidation among thrift and banking companies, notably Washington Mutual Inc. and Wachovia Corp., insurance carriers are working to assure bank customers that their annuity investments are safe.

The distribution arm of Axa Financial Inc., for example, has been teaming with bank financial advisers to meet with small groups of clients and review everything from the strength of the bank to the features of the variable annuities they hold to the outlook for the capital markets.

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