New York Life Insurance Company, New York, N.Y., has announced that total sales of its income annuities have exceeded $1 billion for the first time, reaching more than $1.2 billion at year-end 2008. The sales benchmark includes sales through New York Life’s career agency system of $850 million and income annuity sales through its partnered banks of $350 million. Further, sales through the company’s AARP Lifetime Income Program, which offers lifetime income annuities to AARP members, have exceeded $100 million in 2008 – a new milestone for sales of this product through AARP.
On the accumulation side, investment annuities exceeded $9 billion for the first time, driven by strong sales of deferred annuities. In the bank channel alone, the company’s sales of fixed annuities through partnered banks more than doubled to $4.6 billion for 2008, from $2 billion in 2007.
New York Life announced last month that it had appointed Senior Vice President Chris Blunt to run the new Retirement Income Security (RIS) business, which encompasses income and investment annuities, long-term care insurance, and the distribution of mutual funds.
“Over the past decade, attaining a secure retirement has been made daunting by the demise of traditional defined benefit pensions and questions surrounding Social Security,” said Mr. Blunt. “The current financial crisis has further illuminated the need for a secure retirement as millions of Americans have seen the alarming erosion of their retirement assets. New York Life has led the way in adding consumer-friendly features and benefits to our annuity products, and the enormous sales growth we’ve seen in our annuity business is an affirmation of the value consumers see in those innovations, which overcame many traditional concerns about annuities.”
A key component of retirement income security is guaranteed lifetime income. New York Life is already the market leader in income annuities, also known as fixed immediate annuities, which provide a guaranteed stream of income for the life of the annuitant. Sales of the company’s income annuities began to rise in 2004 after features were added, including:
o Changing Needs Option – an option which allows policyholders to arrange for their payments to increase up to five times the original amount, or decrease by one half, should their retirement needs change.
o Payment Acceleration – the ability to accelerate some payments to meet short-term liquidity needs;
o Cash Withdrawal – a one-time withdrawal feature enabling policyholders to access a portion of their remaining lifetime payments when they need a larger source of cash;
o Annual Increase Option – an optional automatic increase in the payment amount to help guard against inflation;
o Legacy Option – a unique guaranteed legacy option that pays a percentage of premiums death benefit no matter how long the client has been receiving income payments.
The company’s income annuity product line had sales of $116 million in 2003. Fueled by the addition of the new features and benefits, and by maintaining rigorous product standards, New York Life became the industry’s largest income annuity seller in 2006 with total sales of $646 million and an average annual growth rate of more than 60%. In 2007, sales of income annuities continued to climb to $893 million.
New York Life also ranks among the top six sellers of long-term care insurance, and is a leading provider of investment annuities. Its MainStay mutual funds rank among the largest fund complexes in the United States. MainStay mutual funds will remain part of New York Life Investment Management, where the assets in the funds are managed. However, the Retirement Income Security business unit will be responsible for the distribution of mutual funds, in order to better coordinate sales and marketing with RIS products and services.
“We now have a broad menu of top-flight products to help consumers deal with both the accumulation phase and income phase of retirement, as well as protect their assets with long-term care insurance,” Mr. Blunt said.
For more information, visit New York Life’s Web site at www.newyorklife.com and GuaranteesMatter, a site dedicated to retirement issues, challenges, and solutions, at www.guaranteesmatter.com.