Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company says it has increased the number of financial professionals in the field by 9% during each of the past 3 years.

MassMutual, Springfield, Mass., now has a total of about 5,000 financial professionals in the field.

Nearly 25% of the 2009 recruits were women, and 15% were from multicultural backgrounds, MassMutual reports.

Despite the dismal state of the economy, premium revenue from whole life insurance sales is up 9% from 2008, and the number of policies sold has increased 21%, the company says.