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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Former ABIA Chairman Leads Surge in Growth of KeyBank Insurance Subsidiary

KeyBank N.A. plans to aggressively grow the insurance subsidiary it acquired from First Niagara Financial Group Inc. This week, KeyBank announced the renaming of First Niagara Risk Management Inc. to reflect KeyCorp’s ownership to Key Insurance & Benefits Services Inc.

Kirk Jensen, former ABA insurance subsidiary Chairman and President and First Niagara Risk Management Managing Director, has been named head of the new insurance subsidiary.

Currently, the agency operates in three states and employs more than 350; however, post-acquisition plans target new commercial and consumer clients by tapping into KeyBank’s 15-state footprint.

KeyBank’s community bank is in multiple states, so we’re looking to incrementally grow into that footprint and customer base,” said Kirk Jensen, managing director of the insurance subsidiary. “We are a relationship-based bank, and insurance and benefits are both relationship-based business, so we will fit very well into that customer philosophy.”

Prior to the mid-summer acquisition of First Niagara, KeyBank’s parent company KeyCorp had no insurance subsidiary of its own. As a result, “100 percent” of First Niagara’s insurance jobs were retained post-merger, Jensen said.

The subsidiary has seven offices in Upstate New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut and plans to expand through several pathways, including hiring more people, making small acquisitions and specializing in certain sectors such as health care.

Jensen said plans are "still coming together," but there could be “double-digit growth” in the number of insurance employees who are based in Western New York.

Jensen said the subsidiary expects to end 2016 with approximately $60 million in revenues, but eventually would like to reach $250 million a year.