National City Corp. of Cleveland has hired Thomas J. Cook to lead its insurance efforts.

Mr. Cook, who joined National City last month, had been the president and chief executive officer of Acordia of Northeast Ohio, a unit of Indianapolis-based Acordia-the largest privately held insurance broker in the United States.

Mr. Cook, 43, succeeds Kenneth J. Coleman, who left in January to become chief marketing officer for Roulston & Co., a Cleveland-based investment management firm.

Mr. Cook expects cultural differences because of his insurance background, he said, but plans to tackle the job with an open mind.

He said his understanding of insurance will be important in working with carriers on new projects.

"Sales of insurance through banks is an ever-evolving phenomenon," he said.

"There are challenges in distribution, in products, and certainly a lot of challenges from a regulatory standpoint." There are no clearly successful bank insurance sales models to emulate, he said.

National City is building a direct sales effort to complement an agency system that it acquired last year when it bought First of America in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Mr. Cook said his first task will be "taking these parts and various initiatives and rationalizing a strategy that makes sense for the bank as a whole."

He will report to James R. Bell 3d, executive vice president for retail sales and distribution.

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