While the life insurance industry looks to address the lowest levels of life insurance ownership since WWII, not every carrier in the market is feeling pain.

New York Life Insurance Company, the largest mutual life insurer in the United States, announced strong gains across a number of segments through the first nine months of 2010.

New York life reported a 47% increase in sales of individual life insurance through September. This growth is being driven by agents, with life insurance sales through the company’s national field force up 34% over the same 2009 period.

The company sold $1.3 billion in fixed immediate annuities and experienced a 43% increase in mutual fund sales, increasing revenue for that line by more than $7 billion.

Even long term care (LTC) insurance, a market battered recently by rate hikes and withdrawals from the market, was a surprise success. New York Life reported a 10% increase in LTC sales. 2010 will be the sixth consecutive year that the company will pay a dividend to its LTC policyholders, and it has never raised premium rates on its in-force policies, the company noted.

The company attributed the increases to a consumer demand for safety amid harsh economic conditions.

-Bill Coffin