New York Life’s operating earnings increased by 14.7 percent last year, the company disclosed today in its 2014 financial results.

New York Life achieved operating income of $2.02 billion in 2014, marking the 5th consecutive year of record earnings for the mutual insurance company. Surplus and asset valuation reserve grew by $796 million to $21.9 billion, also an all-time high.

The financial results were reflected in the company’s dividend payouts to policyholders, which also grew by 9 percent last year.

“Dividend payouts, which New York Life has made for 161 consecutive years, are one of the most visible measures of our success in giving back to our policyholders,” said Chairman and CEO Ted Mathas in a prepared statement. “Since 2011 we have increased the dividend payout by 30 percent, far exceeding the three-year growth of our large mutual company peers.

“But while we are proud of that achievement, it’s the total $9.1 billion in benefits [up 5 percent since 2013] and dividends we paid last year that demonstrate the full value of promises kept to millions of people and businesses,” he added.

In its earnings release, New York Life also recorded that:

  • Assets under management increased to a new high of $541 billion in 2014.

  • Individual life insurance in force rose to a new record of $871 billion, $31 billion more than 2013.

  • The company hired 3,680 full-time agents last year. Since 2007, the company has grown its active agent force by 24 percent. In 2014, 52 percent of New York Life’s new hires in the field were individuals who represent the cultural markets.

  • New York Life added 2,376 agents to the membership rolls of the Million Dollar Round Table, more than any other organization represented in the association. MDRT comprises 42,000 of the world’s top-producing life insurance and financial service professionals.