American Savings Bank of Stockton, Calif., a thrift that has aggressively sold mutual funds and annuities, is now beefing up its insurance program.

The $18 billion-asset company, soon to be bought by Seattle's Washington Mutual Inc., has hired a former insurance consultant to oversee a staff of life insurance agents. And the company hopes soon to get insurance licenses for 15 of its 80 investment representatives, who work at its ASB Financial Services unit in Irvine, Calif.

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