New York Life’s Strong Life Insurance Sales Continue Through Third Quarter

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NEW YORK: New York Life, America’s largest mutual life insurer, announced very strong third quarter gains in sales of life insurance, annuities and mutual funds, as well as a solid increase in agent new hires in the first nine months of 2013. New York Life agents recorded a 10 percent increase in sales of recurring premium whole life insurance and an 11 percent increase in total annuity sales compared with the first nine months of 2012.

The company also announced that for the second consecutive year its dividend payout to participating policyholders will climb by eight percent, an increase of $109 million over the prior year, for a total payout of $1.43 billion in 2014.

Even in the face of unprecedented low interest rates, the company had strong operating performance and was able to enhance both its surplus and dividends through the strong performance of its investment subsidiary, New York Life Investments, and from the recent divestiture of several international operations. The company also has had better than expected persistency as policyholders maintain their policies in force despite the challenging economy, which speaks to the consumer appeal of New York Life’s strong ratings for financial strength.

Next year is the 160th consecutive year New York Life has paid a cash dividend, a validation of mutual strength and a reflection of the company’s singular focus on creating value for its customers. New York Life has paid a dividend every year since 1854.

The company’s insurance sales continued to build on the strong pace set in previous quarters this year, with individual recurring premium life insurance sales through agents up 12 percent through the third quarter compared with the same period in 2012. The solid sales growth of recurring life insurance products came from the company’s suite of permanent products – whole life, universal life and variable universal life.

The company is also seeing exceptional growth in various cultural markets, with 46 percent of the company’s new life insurance policies produced by agents serving the African-American, Chinese, Hispanic, Korean, South Asian, and Vietnamese markets in the United States.

“Our sales growth proves that people continue to believe in life insurance. When our agents meet face-to-face with people, they are finding more receptivity to how life insurance can help customers with important financial needs. This is why our sales continue to rise each year, despite a tough economy – and why our country needs career agents more than ever,” said Mark Pfaff, executive vice president in charge of Agency. “Even further, Americans increasingly understand the value that a permanent product like whole life provides. The company’s mutual structure and ability to offer dividends on this participating product is important to insurance consumers and that is why 2014 marks the 160th anniversary of offering consecutive cash dividends, a remarkable achievement, especially at a time when so many financial institutions are having difficulty.”

New York Life’s sales of guaranteed income annuity products, which include single premium immediate annuities and the company’s deferred income annuity, Guaranteed Future Income Annuity, increased 17 percent through the third quarter compared with the same period in 2012. Total annuity sales through all channels have increased 36 percent compared with the nine months of 2012.

In addition, sales through New York Life Direct increased by five percent over the same period last year. New York Life Direct includes the AARP Operation, which is the exclusive provider of life insurance and lifetime income annuities to AARP’s 37 million members. New York Life has been offering life insurance to AARP members since 1994 and lifetime income annuities to AARP members since 2006.

Sales of New York Life’s MainStay family of mutual funds increased by 78 percent to a record $22.47 billion through the third quarter, compared with the same period a year ago. Consistent investment performance across the fund family is helping to drive these exceptionally strong mutual fund sales, particularly in funds seeking capital appreciation, which remain in high demand from customers.

New York Life’s operations in Mexico, Seguros Monterrey New York Life, had a strong first nine months with 10 percent sales growth compared with the same period last year.

New York Life has hired 2,246 new agents through the third quarter. New York Life is on pace to make this year the seventh consecutive year the company has hired more than 3,200 agents. Over that period the company’s agent force has grown 16 percent.

New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States and one of the largest life insurers in the world.