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JAMES M. BENSON TO HEAD LIFE INSURANCE BUSINESS AT EQUITABLE

 NEW YORK, March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- James M. Benson has been elected senior executive vice president of The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S. The announcement was made today by Joseph J. Melone, Equitable Life's president and chief executive officer.
 In his new position, Mr. Benson will have responsibility for managing the company's life insurance business and will report to Mr. Melone. The Equitable is one of the nation's largest life insurance companies, with more than $245 billion of life insurance in force. The company provides a full range of life insurance, annuities, mutual funds and other financial services through a nationwide agency force of 8,500 insurance representatives. Equitable leads the industry in the number of agents holding Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) professional designations.
 Mr. Benson has been active in the life insurance industry for more than 25 years. He joins The Equitable from Management Compensation Group (MCG), a leading consulting firm on corporate financial issues, including compensation and benefits funding. At MCG, Mr. Benson was president of the New York office. During his tenure, the firm expanded its consulting business among publicly held companies and large life insurers. Today, MCG's client roster includes many of the top Fortune 500 companies, as well as six of the largest insurance companies, including The Equitable.
 Before joining MCG in 1983, Mr. Benson was with Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company in Newport Beach, Calif., where he held a variety of positions in sales, marketing, and product development for the individual life insurance market. He was among the company's top-ranked sales agents and managed Pacific Mutual's most successful sales office. He was also instrumental at the company in developing a new role for life insurance products in funding benefits for the corporate marketplace.
 "Jim has not only engineered new product designs, but has also devised innovative ways to sell life insurance in both the personal and corporate markets," said Mr. Melone. "For more than 25 years, he has pioneered a creative approach to the life insurance business. We are terrifically pleased to have him join us at The Equitable."
 Mr. Melone continued, "This appointment is an important step in our program of strengthening our management team, sharpening our focus on our core life insurance and annuity businesses, and creating a structure in which there is more accountability for the life and annuity units." Last August, Joe D. Heusi, formerly president of Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (VALIC), was named to head The Equitable's rapidly growing annuity business.
 Mr. Benson, 46 years old, holds a B.A. degree in economics from the University of Illinois and an M.B.A. degree from the University of Southern California. He also holds a CLU designation.
 Active in industry and community organizations, he serves on the boards of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting, Health Plans, Inc., the California Special Olympics, the Joffrey Ballet and the African Wildlife Foundation. A frequent lecturer, he has addressed numerous professional and trade organizations, including the Million Dollar Round Table, the Conference Board, the Western Pension Conference and the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting.
 The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S., one of the nation's largest insurers, is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Equitable Companies Incorporated (NYSE: EQ). The Equitable also is one of the world's premier investment managers, with more than $150 billion in assets under management. Its investment subsidiaries include Alliance Capital Management L.P., Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc. and Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, Inc.
 -0- 3/1/93
 /CONTACT: Jane C. Mahoney of the Equitable Companies, 212-554-1197/
 (EQ)


CO: The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S. ST: New York IN: INS SU: PER

CK -- NY034 -- 1326 03/01/93 10:43 EST
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Date:Mar 1, 1993
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