New York Life Insurance Company’s just-released 2010 financial results show record operating earnings for the year as well as new company records in sales of insurance and investment products.

“The company’s operations continued to generate strong growth in 2010,” says Ted Mathas, the company’s chairman and CEO. “Most notably, our U.S. life insurance operations, the core of the New York Life franchise for 166 years, produced life sales growth of 26% at a time when the industry struggled for a modest single-digit increase.”

Some highlights from the 2010 results:

- Total insurance sales surpassed $3 billion, an increase of 15% over 2009, setting a new record, with U.S. life insurance leading the way with a 26% increase.

- The company’s surplus and asset valuation reserve increased by $1.8 billion, or 12%, to a record high of $16.8 billion.

- Operating earnings of $1.4 billion increased 21% from 2009, exceeding the record result set in 2008.

- Operating revenue grew by $1.1 billion, or 7.7% over 2009, to a record high of $15.5 billion.

- Total investment sales exceeded $35 billion, a rise of 6.7% over 2009 and a new record.

- Assets under management reached a record of $316 billion, a 10.2% increase from 2009.

Mathas attributes the company’s performance to growth in New York Life’s career agency system. Since 2005, the company’s active agent base has grown 32%, despite an industry-wide decline in agents. The company has also seen more customers choosing New York Life because of its reputation, Mathas says.

“In the last three years in particular, the public has come to appreciate the importance of who is providing their family’s protection,” he says. “This financial flight to quality provides the context for understanding our company’s recent performance.”