Phoenix Home Life Mutual Insurance Co. is developing a new subsidiary to sell life insurance policies as well as mutual funds and annuities to bank customers.
The new company, Phoenix National Insurance, will combine marketing now done by another subsidiary-investment manager Phoenix, Duff & Phelps-with a new push to get life insurance policies sold to bank customers.
Phoenix is the ninth-largest mutual life insurance company, with $14 billion of assets and 1996 revenues of $2.62 billion.
It is entering the market for two reasons, according to executive vice president Dona D. Young: Regulatory barriers prohibiting banks from selling insurance are continuing to fall down, and technology is improving distribution.
"The combination of these events gives us an opportunity to serve and reach a segment of the market"-prospects with less than $100,000 in annual household income-"that the life insurance industry hasn't reached very successfully in the past," Ms. Young said.
"Banks stand in a very positive relationships with those customers. Its a natural opportunity," she added.
The Hartford, Conn.-based carrier sells whole, term, variable, and universal life insurance as well as higher-end estate planning vehicles such as first- and second-to-die policies.
Phoenix has distributed most life insurance nationally through its 900 career agents. It also sells through independent agents affiliated directly with the company or through wholesalers.
Other principal subsidiaries include American Phoenix, a property- casualty brokerage; PHL Associates, which sells variable annuities from other companies, and Phoenix Charter Oak Trust Co. Overall, Phoenix has more than $40 billion of assets under management.