United We Stand

The cooperative economics of consolidatingresources is the trend helping black-ownedbanks capture new customers in new markets

Charles H. Cornelius. “There are a number of large white-owned institutions that are willing to assist us with that.”

On behalf of Atlanta Life, the Boston Group recently conducted a survey of African American households with incomes of $35,000 and above. “Atlanta Life’s customers indicated very strongly that they want to buy a host of financial service products including annuities, stocks, bonds and mutual funds,” says Thomas Boston, BE Board of Economist member and head of the Boston Research Group. “They also want an insurance carrier that can provide more than one type of policy–whole-life insurance, as well as auto insurance and home owners insurance.”

Other black-owned insurance companies will have to take Atlanta Life’s lead in upgrading their policy offerings to grow their businesses and increase their market share. A proven way to increase offerings is by partnering with other established black-owned firms or with a majority firm. Last year, San Francisco-based Sable Insurance Co. was formed as a partnership with New York-based Reliance National. Sable President and CEO Aaron Richardson, a 30-year veteran of the industry and owner of his own insurance brokerage firm, says the new company will offer property, general liability, accident, officers’ liability and bonding insurance to black-owned businesses, public utilities and Fortune 1000 companies. Reliance will act as Sable’s reinsurer and own a 49% stake in the company. Alliances such as these may increase in the future if black- owned insurance companies are to survive.

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