Essex Corp., a leading investment products marketing partner of banks, is stepping up its presence in the insurance business.

The New York company is negotiating with several insurance companies to channel their products to the banks and has hired Gayle R. Thompson to oversee the effort as vice president for life insurance.

He previously held several managerial positions with the Principal Financial Group. The Des Moines, Iowa-based company's offerings include life and health insurance and financial services.

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