By Cyril Tuohy
New York Life announced record 2013 operating earnings of $1.76 billion, an increase of 11 percent over 2012. The company said the growth was fueled in part by the strong performance of its insurance agents.
Surplus and reserves grew to a record $21.1 billion, up 8 percent over the previous year. Benefits and dividends rose to a record $8.62 billion, up 6 percent over 2012. Individual life insurance in force rose to $840 billion, up $24 billion over 2012.
Asset under management also grew to $425 billion, an increase of 12 percent over 2012, the company also said.
Ted Mathas, chairman and chief executive officer, said the company had “never been stronger,” and he used the good news to remind policyholders that the company has paid policyholder dividends for 160 consecutive years.
Mathas said in a statement that the company also had experienced solid growth within its annuities, mutual funds, asset management and retirement planning services. Those units had “contributed significantly” to the higher dividend payout, he said.
New York Life agents sold $5.4 billion worth of annuities in 2013, an increase of 14 percent over 2012, the company also reported.
Single premium immediate annuities (SPIA) and the company’s deferred income annuity, Guaranteed Future Income Annuity, rose six percent in the fourth quarter compared with the year-ago period, the company said.
Recurring premium life insurance sales also increased 5 percent from 2012, fueled by demand for whole life, universal life and variable universal life products. Exact numbers were not released.
New York Life hired 3,460 full-time agents and has a career agency force of about 12,000 licensed agents. The company said it also will hire 3,600 full-time agents in 2014, more than half of whom will be women or who will “represent the cultural markets.”
Ethnic or minority markets represent some of the fastest growing segments for the company, New York Life said.
As much as 46 percent of the company’s new life insurance sales are produced by agents serving the African-American, Hispanic, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other South Asian markets, the company said in a statement.
New York Life’s Insurance and Agency Group, which has an affiliation with AARP, sells insurance through the direct-response channel. The company is also a big underwriter of insurance to professional associations.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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