Lead America, a Canadian insurance agent, has a deal to help Chase Manhattan Bank sell insurance to its mortgage customers.

The Alberta, Calgary-based insurance agency will distribute Transamerica Corp. life and disability insurance "in states where we otherwise wouldn't have critical mass or don't have grand distribution," said Dennis Kosovac, chairman and chief executive officer of Chase Insurance Group.

New York-based Chase plans to kick off the program in three states- Florida, Illinois, and California-within one month, said Mr. Kosovac. The pilot may be extended to other states, he said.

Chase will initiate a direct mail marketing program in those states and follow it up with personal contact.

Agents from Lead America will sit down with Chase mortgage customers in what Mr. Kosovac described as an "across the kitchen table" strategy. As in selling mortgages, "the ability to talk to someone face to face is in many cases the preferred method of distribution," he said.

The insurance products will be available to first-time Chase mortgage applicants and to existing customers, he said.

Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corp. originated about $40 billion in mortgages last year, making it No. 3 in the business, a spokesman said. It is also the second-largest servicer of mortgages, he said.

Mr. Kosovac said that he believes Chase is the first bank to have signed up with Lead America.

Lead America, a unit of Royal Millennia Group Ltd., announced its agreement with Chase last week.

But Mr. Kosovac said the announcement overstated the scope of the deal.

The release said Lead America would distribute "all the life and disability insurance products for Chase customers." That suggested "that we had basically turned over our entire program for marketing of life and disability products to this entity," Mr. Kosovac said.

A spokesman for Lead America said the company had retracted its press release until corrections are made.

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