The initial entry of stock brokerage firms and banks as distributors of life insurance products was widely expected and loudly ballyhooed. Proponents and opponents alike exchanged the customary pre-fight insults to the delight of the financial press, reveling in the prospect of a punch-up among the gentry. In the early betting, stock brokerage firms, and after them banks, were characterized as heavy favorites against the life insurance industry's conventional distribution system. After a decade of experiments involving a variety of distribution and product strategies, no model of success has emerged.
These comments appeared in a 1986 article, "Will Old Banks Learn New Tricks?" It was written by an associate of mine at the time, James C.H. Anderson, president of Tillinghast, now a division of Towers Perrin.