Summit Bancorp's insurance arm has bought 500 insurance accounts without buying the agency.

It was the first such deal for the $32 billion-asset banking company, which is based in Princeton, N.J. The accounts were acquired last week from two Morristown, N.J., agencies-Phoenix Insurance Associates Inc. and Personal Insurance Programs Inc.-said Jack Cussen, Summit's insurance chief. The agencies' owner wanted to spend less time working, Mr. Cussen said.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The accounts bring in $5 million of annual premiums, he said. The accounts, many of which insure manufacturers, will be merged into the operations of Summit's insurance subsidiary, W.M. Ross & Co.

Summit will pursue similar deals as part of a plan to expand in the business without taking on the exhaustive due diligence required in an agency acquisition, Mr. Cussen said.

Since December 1997, Summit has bought Ross and three other insurance- related businesses.

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