First Merchants in Muncie, Ind., has sold its insurance-agency arm for about $18 million.

The $5.9 billion-asset company sold the subsidiary, First Merchants Insurance Group, on June 12 to USI Insurance Services, an insurance brokerage firm in Valhalla, N.Y. First Merchants said it had $9.6 million in equity in the insurance group, plus $9.2 million in intangible assets.

In addition to the sale, First Merchants and USI signed a marketing agreement to give the bank's clients "continuing access" to the agency's insurance products.

First Merchants Insurance offers property and casualty insurance, personal lines and employee-benefits insurance. First Merchants Insurance operates four agency offices in Indiana. USI operates 140 offices nationwide.

Sandler O'Neill & Partners was financial adviser to First Merchants and Bingham Greenebaum Doll was its legal counsel. Jones Day was USI's legal counsel.

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