Some of the nation's largest banks are preparing to expand their insurance operations following Tuesday's Supreme Court decision that swept aside state barriers to bank insurance sales.

First Union Corp., Chemical Banking Corp., Fleet Financial Group, Banc One Corp., and UJB Financial Corp. are among the banks reaching for a share of the potentially lucrative insurance market. Most said they expect to focus on life insurance, which can generate commissions approaching 50% or more of first-year premiums.

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