New York Life Insurance Company reports strong gains in life insurance sales and in agent recruitment for the first nine months of 2009.

Agency life insurance sales increased 8% through September over 2008, which the company says is its best 9-month start of any year on record. Sales grew for both permanent insurance and term products, the company says.

Despite a national unemployment rate of around 10%, New York Life says its new agent recruiting was up 9% over 2008 for the period ending Sept. 30.