Sun Life Assurance of Canada is gearing up to pitch policies through private banks and trust companies.

Sun Life, a $33.3 billion-asset company that underwrites business and estate planning insurance, wants to build its sales through wire houses, insurance agencies, and banks.

"A new market we're trying to develop, which we think is very young, is the private banking and trust departments of banks," said S. Caesar Raboy, senior vice president and deputy general manager of Sun Life of Canada (U.S.). "We see enormous potential there."

Sun Life already sells annuities through banks. But a new emphasis for its U.S. subsidiary, based in Wellesley, Mass., will be selling life and business insurance through that channel.

The move comes as Sun Life is ripping out its distribution structure by turning more than 450 career agents into independent contractors. The strategy will be carried out by John F. McVay, who joins Sun Life as vice president, general agencies, this week after two years at Phoenix Home Life Mutual Insurance Co.

"John's job is to crank up our production through banks, among other channels," Mr. Raboy said.

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