NationsBanc Montgomery Securities has created a division to focus on insurance mergers and acquisitions.

The new group will let NationsBanc Montgomery expand its insurance services to meet the needs of the bank's clients, a spokesman said. NationsBanc Montgomery is the investment banking and brokerage unit of Charlotte, N.C.-based BankAmerica Corp.

"We basically recognized that the bank had a huge presence in that area and we needed to beef up our activities," he said. Insurance was previously under financial services operations.

Executives were not immediately available for comment. But in a prepared statement, the BankAmerica unit said it plans to provide in-depth industry knowledge in insurance research and investment banking. And it plans to build an equity research team for the life and property/casualty insurance sector.

George Johns and Tony Ursano were named senior managing directors and co-heads of the insurance investment banking group.

Mr. Johns had been managing director and co-head of insurance mergers and acquisitions at Merrill Lynch's financial institutions group. He had also worked at Salomon Brothers' financial institutions group and at First Boston.

Mr. Ursano was senior relationship manager at Merrill Lynch's insurance group. He has also worked for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc. and SG Warburg's financial institutions group.

Robert Giammarco, a five-year veteran of Merrill Lynch's financial institutions group, was hired as principal in the new group.

George Luecke was hired as an associate and Dan Kittredge as an analyst.

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