Summit Bancorp said Tuesday it has signed a definitive agreement to buy W.M. Ross & Co., a Fairfield, N.J.-based property/casualty insurance brokerage.

The deal would add property and casualty to the life and health insurance products offered by the Summit Insurance Group subsidiary of the $31 billion-asset banking company.

"This completes the circle for us-that's the missing piece," said Barbara Horn, a spokeswoman for the bank. "This is another step in our strategy to expand our fee-based services."

The bank expects the acquisition-structured as a tax-free stock swap-to add $8 million to $10 million to 1999 fee income, Ms. Horn said.

The 50-person agency was founded in 1949 and provides all types of property and casualty insurance to corporations, individuals, and regional and national associations.

W.M. Ross would keep its name and be operated through the insurance subsidiary.

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