New York Life reported strong fourth quarter gains in sales of life insurance, annuities and mutual funds. The company said sales of recurring premium life insurance through agents were up 5 percent and total annuity sales were up 14 percent compared with 2012, representing the best 12 month growth on record for those product lines.
The sales growth of recurring premium life insurance products came from the company’s suite of permanent products – whole life, universal life and variable universal life. The company is also seeing growth in various cultural markets, with 46 percent of the company’s new life insurance sales produced by agents serving the African-American, Chinese, Hispanic, Korean, South Asian, and Vietnamese markets in the United States.
Agents sold $5.4 billion of annuities of all types in 2013, a 14 percent increase from 2012. Sales of guaranteed lifetime income products through agents, which include single premium immediate annuities and the company’s deferred income annuity, Guaranteed Future Income Annuity, increased 6 percent through the fourth quarter compared with the same period in 2012.
Sales of New York Life’s MainStay family of mutual funds through agents increased 16 percent over the prior year, to $938 million.
In 2013, New York Life hired 3,460 full-time agents. It seeks to hire 3,600 financial professionals in 2014, with more than half to be women or individuals who represent the cultural markets.
New York Life’s operations in Mexico, Seguros Monterrey New York Life, saw 14 percent sales growth compared with 2012.
This is the 160th consecutive year New York Life has paid a dividend to its policyholders.
New York Life also earned a spot on Training magazine’s annual Training Top 125 list, which ranks companies’ excellence in employer-sponsored training and development programs.
Now in its 14th year, the Training Top 125 ranking is based on myriad benchmarking statistics such as total training budget; percentage of payroll; number of training hours per employee program; goals, evaluation, measurement, and workplace surveys; hours of training per employee annually; and detailed formal programs. The ranking is determined by assessing a range of qualitative and quantitative factors, including financial investment in employee development, the scope of development programs, and how closely such development efforts are linked to business goals and objectives.
In other industry news:
MetLife fourth quarter operating earnings gained 14 percent year over year to $1.6 billion, with operating EPS of $1.37 up 10 percent. One-time adjustments for variable investment income, boosts to litigation reserves, and favorable catastrophe experience about cancelled each other out.
Americas operating earnings were up 13 percent to $1.4 billion. Earnings in Latin America saw hit $173 million, up 17 percent; Asia had $324 million up 64 percent (unusually high investment income from Japan); and EMEA had $89 million, up 51 percent.
Securian Financial Group broke its own record for individual life insurance sales.
Securian’s total individual life sales for 2013 were $214 million despite a slow decline of life insurance sales in the third quarter of 2013, with a 2.3 percent drop compared to the same period last year.
Securian attributes its growing network of independent brokers to the surge it has seen of individual life insurance sales since 2010. Securian says it is also focusing on strengthening its middle market expertise to provide coverage to an underserved market using digital application submission and direct marketing.
The company also expanded its product portfolio and operations in the state of New York.
Having booked 8 percent gross written premium growth (at constant exchange rates) for the full year 2013, to EUR 4.85 billion, SCOR Global P&C grew gross premiums by 5 percent during the January 2014 renewals, to EUR 3.4 billion.
Other performance indicators show:
- Quasi-stable prices, at -0.2 percent on average, with variations in primary insurance prices largely compensating those of reinsurance prices;
- A stable expected return on risk-adjusted allocated capital;
- Better than expected conditions on the retrocession market, generating savings representing a 0.6 percent positive impact on the combined ratio with a slightly improved cat coverage. This nearly neutralises an expected increase in the gross underwriting ratio of 0.9 percent;
- The projected net combined ratio of the contracts written in the January 2014 renewals is expected to remain flat compared to the January 2013 renewals.
The Principal Financial Group launched Principal Income Protector to help financial professionals develop a customized retirement income plan for their clients. Powered by a proprietary algorithm created by QWeMA (Quantitative Wealth Management Analytics) Group, the tool provides an optimal product allocation strategy to generate a sustainable lifetime income.
Designed specifically for those at the moment of retirement or very near, the tool creates an appropriate product allocation that balances guaranteed income and future growth opportunities. Using this approach, the plan can help ensure basic expenses get paid regardless of market performance through guaranteed income sources, while striving to fund discretionary expenses such as travel.
AXA unveiled BrightLife Protect, a flexible universal life insurance policy that can grow with clients, their family and/or business.
BrightLife Protect has two death benefit options:
- Option A – Level Death Benefit – is equal to the Face Amount of the policy;
- Option B – Variable Death Benefit – is equal to the Face Amount plus the Policy Account Value.
Under either option, a higher death benefit may apply if the value in the policy account reaches a certain level relative to the face amount. Changes to the death benefit option are available at no charge after the second policy year.
Clients can access their cash value, through loans and withdrawals, potentially free of current income tax as long as the policy stays in force until the insured’s death. A loan may be taken anytime after issue. There is a minimum loan amount of $500.