First Chicago NBD Corp., halfway through its first full year as a combined entity, is revving up its insurance sales program.

The $115 billion-asset bank has cobbled together the insurance sales programs of merger partners First Chicago Corp. and NBD Corp. to reach customers in Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana.

A First Chicago NBD spokesman said that under an agreement reached last week with the third-party marketing firm Coverdell & Co., the combined banks' insurance sales - which had been conducted in a piecemeal fashion - will be consolidated. The bank had been outsourcing its marketing to three different firms, which it declined to name.

The linchpin of the effort - which gets under way this month - is a term life insurance policy underwritten by Monumental General Insurance Co., a subsidiary of Aegon USA Inc.

The partnership reveals the weight placed by the bank on retail insurance sales because Coverdell does not find small players worth its while.

"We prefer to work for banks that have committed themselves to insurance," said Michael D. Levison, the Atlanta-based marketer's chief executive. "The economies work so much better when you're spreading the volume."

The brunt of First Chicago NBD's insurance sales are term, universal, and variable life insurance policies, but it also sells a smaller number of property and casualty policies. Sales pitches will be made through mail and telephone solicitations. Also, customers can tap into First Chicago NBD's World Wide Web site to get customized quotes on term life insurance premiums.

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