TORONTO - Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has received government approval to offer life, automobile, and home insurance.

Although the bank received notice on Sept. 3, it decided not to make a formal announcement of its plans for a few weeks, said spokesman Rob McLeod.

The banks needs to complete a corporate structure for its insurance business and obtain licenses from all 10 provinces in which it plans to operate.

Canadian Imperial, Canada's second-largest financial institution, is the first of the nation's six major banks to set up its own full-service insurance unit, Mr. McLeod said.

Under Canadian law, commercial banks cannot sell insurance products through their branch networks. Canadian Imperial plans to market its products under three operating companies: CIBC General Insurance Co. Ltd., CIBC Life Insurance Co. Ltd. and CIBC General Group Insurance Co. Ltd.

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