Allstate, Scudder Join to Sell No-Load Annuities

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Allstate Life Insurance Co. is using a strategic agreement with Scudder Kemper Investments Inc. as a jumping-off point to market no-load variable annuities.

Scudder, Boston, will continue to sell its no-load Scudder Horizon Plan variable annuity through direct means, but it now will be underwritten by Glenbrook Life and Annuity Co., Glenbrook, IL, a subsidiary of Allstate, Northbrook, IL. Scudder had been marketing the annuity with Charter National Life Insurance Co, St. Louis, whose business Allstate is in the process of purchasing.

"We are really interested in the direct marketing potential of variable annuities. That's really the reason we purchased the Charter business,'' said John Hunter, head of Allstate's broker-dealer division. "The no-load mutual fund business has really taken off, and we think no-load variable annuities will as well.''

According to estimates by the Variable Annuity Research and Data Service, 2 percent of the $87 billion annuity market was reached by direct means in 1997. It predicts direct marketing will generate 5 percent of sales by 2000.

Offers for the Scudder Horizon Plan, which has been available since 1988, are sent as a stand-alone mail piece to select Scudder investors and prospects that call the company's toll-free numbers (1-800-SCUDDER, 1-800-225-2470) requesting information on annuities.

Allstate, the country's largest publicly held personal insurance company, has been selling supplemental life and health insurance policies directly to Sear's and Shell Oil credit card holders since the mid 1960s and in the past two years has expanded its client base with a number of affinity bank card relationships.

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