Laughlin Group of Cos., which helps banks run their annuity operations, has launched a new business unit that will act strictly as a sales arm for three major underwriters.
The Beaverton, Ore., company has started Laughlin Direct, which will hawk to banks the products of its parent company, Allstate Life Insurance Co., as well as those of Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co. and American Enterprise Life Insurance Co., a unit of American Express Co.
The new service is different from the traditional way Laughlin has worked with banks. For years, it had a full-service approach, training brokers, providing marketing support, and helping banks pick among eight carriers.
However, some banks want to work directly with insurance carriers, leaving out the middleman, and many insurance companies don't want to pay for large sales arms to find those banks.
"They can put the product in the banks, but they don't have the wholesaling support," said Michael Denton, president of Laughlin Direct. "What they're saying to us is, 'You do that.'"
Laughlin still offers full-service programs for its bank clients.