WASHINGTON (AP) _ A national insurance agents association and two state groups have signed consent agreements promising not to boycott insurance companies because of those firms' sales policies, the Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday.

The commission said it had reached the settlements with the Independent Insurance Agents of America and that group's Montana affiliate, as well as a California agents group.

The Trade Commission said it had charged the national and Montana groups in connection with their refusal to handle policies from The Hartford.

The groups urged their members to refuse to write Hartford policies after that company began selling homeowner and automobile policies directly to consumers through the American Association of Retired Persons.

In the California case, the FTC said, the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of California urged its members not to deal with Reliance Insurance Co., after that firm began trying to sell directly to consumers.

The commission's complaints charged that the agents were attempting to coerce the companies to change their sales policies.

Insurance policies sold directly to a consumer compete with policies sold through agencies, but the direct sales can lead to lower prices for the public, the FTC said.