PBA Services Corp., the for-profit subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association, has signed up Citizens and Northern Bank as the first bank to market insurance under its recent alliance with Bisys Insurance Services.
The Wellsboro, Pa., unit of C&N Financial Services started using the system two weeks ago. PBA made the alliance with Bisys in April.
Under the system, a bank employee can get information about the insurance lines through Bisys' Web site or by calling experts at Bisys. The customer fills out an application and ships it to PBA, which checks it and sends it off to Bisys to be processed.
"We know this is going to be a long process, because this is brand new to banks in our marketplace," said Barbara Holbert, managing director of PBA Services in Harrisburg, Pa. "It's difficult for a bank with a couple hundred million dollars in assets to get into insurance.
"But in the two weeks that Citizens has offered insurance, applications are being filled out daily," she said.
Long-term care, life, group disability, and group health policies from 12 insurance companies are available at Citizens and Northern, which has $706 million of assets and operates 16 branches in four counties.
The bank will not offer property or casualty lines. "You have to have enormous volume to see revenue" in those lines, Ms. Holbert said. "Property and casualty insurance can also cause relationship problems because you can end up with four or five claims with one policy. Banking is relationship-driven, so that could create problems."
Ms. Holbert said she hopes four or five more community banks will join Citizens and Northern in the Bisys program.
In order to participate, a bank must hire a full-time, dedicated insurance agent, who could then rotate among its branches.