How New York Life Insurance Group Started

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how new york life insurance group started
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New York Life (as it is popularly called) started on the 12th of April 1845.

New York Life Insurance Company (NYLIC) is the third-largest life insurance company in the United States, the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States and is ranked #69 on the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

New York Life insurance company was founded in 1845 in Manhattan’s Financial District as Nautilus Mutual Life.

It was renamed New York Life Insurance Company in 1849 to focus on its life insurance business.

Background story of New York Life insurance company

Insurance was an infant industry when New York Life’s predecessor, Nautilus Insurance Company, began operations in the 1840s. Marine and fire insurance were important, but people hesitated to assign a cash value to human life, and often associated life insurance with gambling.

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As the economy became more industrial and the population more mobile, society recognized the need to secure a family’s welfare against the loss of a breadwinner. In 1840 New York State passed a law allowing a married woman to insure her husband’s life with immunity from having the benefits seized by his creditors. Such legislation recognized the use of life insurance in a developing industrial economy and widened its potential market beyond wealthy speculators.

New York Life has its origins in a charter granted by the New York state legislature to Nautilus Insurance Company in 1841, for the sale of fire and marine insurance.

In its early years (1846–1848) the company, along with other insurance companies of the day including Aetna and US Life, insured the lives of slaves for their owners. By 1847 these accounted for one third of New York Life’s policies.

The board of trustees voted to end the sale of insurance policies on slaves in 1848.The New York Life Insurance Company also sold policies to soldiers and civilians involved in combat during the American Civil War and paid claims under a flag of truce during that time. In the late 1800s, the company began employing female agents.

New York Life Insurance Company’s Unique Distribution System

how new york life insurance started in the 19th century
new york life insurance logo

New York Life continued to grow throughout its first 100 years as the national population and the market for life insurance increased. New York Life’s growth was in part fueled by its introduction of a system by which the company used agents to find new business. In 1892, company President John A. McCall introduced the branch office system: offices that served as liaisons between New York and field agents.

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In 1894, the company became the first US-based insurance provider to offer life insurance to women at the same cost as men; social reformer Susan B. Anthony was one of the company’s first female policyholders. In 1896, New York Life became the first company to insure people with disabilities or in hazardous occupations.

New York Life insurance company’s progress from the 20th century till date

In the 1970s, New York Life began selling annuities and mutual funds. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, as other mutual life insurance companies became publicly traded corporations, New York Life remained a mutual company.

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Following the 2013 acquisition of Dexia Asset Management, later renamed Candriam Investors Group, New York Life Investments became one of the largest asset managers worldwide, with access to markets in Europe, Asia and Australia, in addition to the United States

The New York Life Insurance company that claims to be recession proof, depression proof, and history making, As of June 2018, ranks No. 69 on the Fortune 500 list. Fortune also named New York Life to its Most Admired Companies list for the life insurance industry group in 2017.Forbes ranked New York Life as one of America’s Best Large Employers in 2017.


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