of selling insurance-related products at banks.
Though we cover the banking industry's foray into insurance and annuities in the daily newspaper, it's important to take a step back from time to time to assess the progress made in the business.
Clearly, the record is mixed.
One bright spot is the success banks have had in the annuities business an effort that still towers over banks' achievements as marketers of traditional insurance policies. In the second quarter, banks sold 36% of all fixed annuities in the country, a nine percentage point share increase from a year earlier, according to LIMRA International.
In the feature story on this page, we discuss the inroads that banks are making in designing and marketing their own "proprietary annuities," in which banks manage accounts, set the terms of contracts, and even place their brand on products.
Commercial insurance may be the great unrealized opportunity for many banks. Our article on page 6A details the efforts that some leading banks are making in selling policies to their small and midsize business customers.
Moreover, as our story on page 5A points out, the courts keep delivering rulings that help banks in their efforts to sell insurance.
But problems still remain for banks. Our story on page 3A details the disappointments that banks have had in selling life insurance, an effort once viewed as the natural first step for many banks trying to break into the insurance business.
In preparing this editorial package, we have tried to take the pulse of an industry. We hope you enjoy the read.
- John Kimelman