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MetLife targets high-paid money managers for disability coverage

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(Bloomberg) — MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, is teaming up with broker Crystal & Co. for disability coverage aimed at higher-paid workers at financial firms.

The policies are available for institutions with at least 40 employees, Crystal said Tuesday in a statement. The coverage will provide as much as $600,000 in annual benefits with no individual medical underwriting. Firms such as hedge funds and mutual funds are being targeted for coverage to higher-earning employees, according to Michael S. Grant, executive managing director of employee benefit services at Crystal.

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Both MetLife and Crystal are based in New York.

Companies including Facebook Inc. have been revamping benefits including parental leave to help attract and retain workers. Insurers have been increasingly betting on sales through the workplace. Maria Morris, who leads the U.S. business for MetLife, said in December that the operation was an “important growth and value-creation engine.” MetLife’s sales in that market jumped 24 percent in 2016 from a year earlier.

“The employee is definitely much more specific in their demands at the point of being recruited,” Crystal’s Grant said in an interview. “And that then catapults into the employer saying, ‘I need to make certain that I offer this to my existing employees as a retention tool.”’

Grant said that Crystal is targeting workforces of 40 people or more to ensure that it has a large enough risk pool for the coverage, which provides compensation for income-interrupting illness or injury. Crystal established a trust to help deliver the policies and put together reserves. The broker could consider expanding beyond financial companies to employers such as law firms and consulting businesses, he said.

“When Crystal & Co. identified a market segment and client base whose needs were not currently being met, and developed a trust arrangement to allow for coverage, we were pleased to be approached,” Phil Bruen, vice president of group life and disability product development at MetLife, said in an emailed statement.


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