Safeco Corp. of Seattle said it has combined distribution of its mutual funds, annuities, insurance, and retirement products to boost overall sales.
The new marketing strategy, announced last week, is being adopted by all of Safeco's distribution channels, including its sales through financial institutions, said Randall H. Talbot, the president of Safeco Life and Investments of Redmond, Wash.
Fifty-eight sales representatives sell Safeco products through banks, thrifts, credit unions, and brokerages. Ten of them previously sold only Safeco Mutual Funds, and the other 48 sold only insurance products, Mr. Talbot said.
He said he hopes the new model will drive sales of all Safeco products.
"We don't want to be transaction-based, we want to be relationship-based," he said.
Safeco significantly increased annuity sales through banks last year, with a total of $974 million in sales, a 157% increase from a year earlier, according to a study by Kenneth Kehrer Associates, a Princeton, N.J., consulting firm.
Safeco Mutual Funds have about $7 billion of assets. Safeco Life Cos. has about $18 billion of life insurance assets.
-- Cheryl Winokur