Essex Corp. is marketing through banks a CNA insurance policy that combines life and accidental death coverage for the twenty-something set.

Over the next 90 days, Essex will begin selling the policy - dubbed Protect 10 - through Bank of Hawaii, KeyCorp, Triangle Bancorp, and Fleet Financial Corp. Earlier this spring, Fidelity Federal Bank, a $3.7 billion- asset thrift in Glendale, Calif., and California Federal Bank, a $14.2 billion thrift, began offering the product.

"If you can distribute insurance through banks, it's not as expensive as selling through an agency field force," said Robert P. Condon, executive vice president of Fidelity Federal. "That comes back and rewards the consumer because it lowers the rate."

Protect 10 is designed for younger people who may be procrastinating on getting life insurance because of the cost. The $100,000 Protect 10 policy has a monthly premium of $8.42 for customers under 30.

The premiums are guaranteed for 10 years and the policy can be renewed until a customer reaches age 70.

Essex Corp. collaborated on the design of Protect 10 with CNA Insurance Cos., its underwriter. New York-based Essex is now touting the product as an ideal fee-income generator for banks.

"This is going to be the most successful program we've ever launched," said Thomas G. Waters, vice president of Essex. Because the policy does not require a medical exam, it is well suited for sale through bank branches, he added.

At Fidelity Federal, the policy is being marketed to people between 35 and 50, as well as to twentysomethings who haven't bought life insurance before. Premiums can be automatically deducted from customers' checking accounts every month.

"They know they have an insurance need, but they couldn't afford the product," Mr. Condon said. "Typically that's a younger person."

Fidelity Federal already sells term, single premium, and universal life insurance policies. The thrift does not disclose its premium volume. Though small, Fidelity Federal is bent on selling multiple products. Aside from tellers, almost all employees in its 33 branches are licensed to sell insurance and investment products.

The thrift's broker-dealer subsidiary, Gateway Investment Services, sells insurance policies, annuities, mutual funds, and securities.

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