BB&T changing retail insurer unit name to McGriff

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BB&T has built up the fifth largest U.S. insurance brokerage in recent decades, including a pending deal to buy Regions Financial’s retail insurance business. With the deal closing soon, Winston-Salem-based BB&T is changing the name of its retail insurance division to McGriff Insurance Services, effective June 25.

McGriff is the name of a Birmingham, Ala.-based family that started an insurance business in the early 20th century. It later became McGriff, Seibels and Williams, which BB&T bought in 2004 and still operates under that title with 13 offices across the U.S.

BB&T’s insurance business is about evenly split between retail and wholesale, which will remain under the BB&T brand. But the overall insurance unit is becoming more retail-oriented with the purchase of Memphis-based Regions Insurance, which has offices in 10 states and annual premium revenue about $1.5 billion.

With BB&T and Regions competing for banking business in those 10 states, having a generic brand name could be helpful in attracting and retaining Regions’ customers.

BB&T has a market valuation of $42 billion, or about double the size of Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions.

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