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If you watched President Obama’s State of the Union speech last night, you’ll know that although priorities may have shifted, he still supports both healthcare and financial services reform — the most recent permutation of which includes the elimination of insurers’ antitrust exemption. Unfortunately, to politicians and people in general, ”insurance,” “health insurance” and “financial services” are three dirty words that mean the same thing: bilking the public.

You might say that ever since the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act,  banks seem to have gotten the better end of the association with insurance.  And a study released this week suggests that banks are banking on insurance — specifically, agents and brokers — more than ever. A recent report by Michael White Associates LLC shows that insurance brokerage fee income for more than 7,000 savings banks and bank holding companies hit $3.05 billion in third-quarter 2009, a 11.7% increase over last year and the highest level in the last five quarters.  These fees include commissions and other fees earned from selling insurance products, as well as referrals for credit, life, health, property-casualty and title insurance.

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