Barnett Banks Inc. has rolled out the first phase of its pilot program to sell life insurance in Tampa, a spokeswoman confirmed.

The Jacksonville-based bank began selling term and universal life insurance products in 16 Tampa-area branches last week. The branches display pamphlets touting the insurance products with a toll-free telephone number for Belleview, Fla.-based Barnett Insurance Services. Customers in the Tampa area can call to receive information on statement stuffers, the spokeswoman said.

It was Barnett's challenge of a Florida insurance law that led to last year's Supreme Court ruling affirming banks' authority to sell insurance in towns with 5,000 or fewer residents.

The bank will begin testing its automobile insurance sales program in the next month.

-Compiled by Juliana Ratner

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