Talk to Us
Talk to Us

Consult an Agent

  • Why?
  • (please click only once)

  • * = required


New York Life Appoints John Kim and Chris Blunt To New Business

Company Further Aligns Operations with its Strategy Focusing on Life Insurance and Investments, Both Areas of Industry Leadership

New York Life's Vaunted Career: Agency Force Remains Under Veteran Executive Mark Pfaff

NEW YORK, N.Y., January 20, 2012 - New York Life Insurance Company, America’s largest mutual life insurer, announced today the re-organization of the company into two major business units: the Insurance Group and the Investments Group. Executive Vice President Chris Blunt and Executive Vice President John Y. Kim have been named to run these two businesses, which provide protection, wealth accumulation, and guaranteed income products and solutions for millions of Americans.

Mr. Blunt, who has headed the company's Retirement Income Security (RIS) business since its formation in 2008, will now run the company’s industry-leading insurance business, which has been the core business of New York Life since its founding in 1845. New York Life leads the industry in new life insurance premium written, with a market share of 11.7% in the United States.1

Mr. Kim, who is the company's chief investment officer and head of New York Life Investments, will assume additional responsibility for RIS products and solutions, which is being combined with New York Life Investments. New York Life is a leader in providing guaranteed lifetime income, with a 27.8% market share in fixed immediate annuities. 2 The company’s other popular solutions include fixed deferred annuities and variable annuities. New York Life Investments, which Mr. Kim has led since 2008, has $285 billion in assets under management. The combined businesses will operate as New York Life's Investments Group.

Executive Vice President Mark Pfaff, who has run the Agency Department since 2006 and had additional responsibility for life insurance since 2008, will continue to run the company’s agency force of 12,000 career agents. The career agency distribution system is considered New York Life’s most important market differentiator, with agents serving clients in cities and towns across America. New York Life has led the industry for 57 consecutive years in agents qualifying for MDRT3, the premier association of financial professionals. Qualifying agents demonstrate exceptional professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service. Life insurance sales through the company’s career agency system have increased 32% since 2006 and agency manpower has increased 29% since that time.

Ted Mathas, chairman and CEO of New York Life, said, "This strategic alignment maintains our industry-leading life insurance business as our flagship core business, enhances the prospects of New York Life becoming a true leader in retirement solutions beyond income annuities, where we lead today, and keeps career agency as our defining core distribution system going forward, as it has been throughout our history. We are confident that these moves will enable us to continue to generate strong growth across our business lines, add consumer benefits to our products and solutions, and enhance the long-term strength of our company, all to the benefit of our millions of policyholders."

Mr. Mathas said the alignment also further streamlines the business groups of New York Life for improved coordination and efficiency. In addition to Mr. Blunt's responsibility for U.S. life insurance, he will also be responsible for the company's long-term care insurance business and the marketing, finance, technology, and service functions that support those product lines. The newly created Insurance Group also includes the supplemental distribution channels for the U.S. life business: the direct response business in Tampa, FL, which is the leading direct marketer of life insurance in the U.S. through an endorsed program with AARP geared to its membership; and the Group Membership Association business, which is the largest underwriter of professional association insurance programs in the U.S., covering members of more than 500 associations across the country. Given their closeness to the core U.S. life business, both geographically and strategically, New York Life's operations in Mexico are being incorporated into the Insurance Group, as well.

Mr. Mathas said the alignment of former RIS businesses under Mr. Kim is designed to take further advantage of the fast-growing retirement area in which consumers first accumulate funds for retirement and later convert a portion of those funds for guaranteed lifetime income in retirement. With his new responsibilities as head of the Investments Group, Mr. Kim will have a broad array of institutional and retail products and solutions under his leadership, including retail mutual funds and annuities, and institutional asset management and retirement plan services. The marketing, finance, technology, distribution and service functions that support those product lines are also part of the Investments Group.

Mr. Mathas said, "This alignment also allows our incredible career agency system to remain the primary focus of its outstanding leader, Mark Pfaff, who has steadily increased the number and productivity of New York Life agents in his five years at the helm of our Agency operations. With his keen sense of purpose and extensive experience in agency management, Mark has led us to the first double-digit market share in new life insurance premium in the company's long history, an achievement driven almost entirely by our career agents."

Insurance Group

On a consolidated basis, sales of the new Insurance Group operations were approximately $3.3 billion in 2011.

Mr. Blunt said, "New York Life has remained true to its mutual form of governance since its founding 166 years ago, and through economic crises, world wars and pandemics, the company has kept its promises to its policyholders. The current financial crisis has only served to highlight once more the importance of financial strength when choosing a life insurer. With Americans under financial strain today, our goal is to help those who are insured today keep their policies in force, protecting their families and businesses, and to help those underinsured or uninsured to acquire the peace of mind that life insurance can provide. We relish our role as a force for good, fulfilling promises every day." He noted that New York Life paid out $4 billion to beneficiaries in 2011.

Investments Group

On a consolidated basis, sales of the new Investments Group were more than $50 billion and assets under management were approximately $300 billion in 2011.

Mr. Kim said, "New York Life ranks as one of the largest asset management firms in the United States, and adding our rapidly growing annuity and mutual fund businesses to our investment capabilities will further fuel this growth. It will allow all of our investment professionals to work even more closely together to provide thoughtful and meaningful solutions for our customers. Our ability to design and execute solutions is even more important today with the pending retirements of 77 million baby boomers and millions of others who are striving to accumulate savings for their retirements, their children’s college educations, and many other hopes and dreams."

Messrs. Blunt, Kim and Pfaff are members of New York Life’s Executive Management Committee, which comprises its senior executive leadership and assists the CEO in setting policy for the company. All three executives report directly to Mr. Mathas.

Mr. Blunt graduated from the University of Michigan and holds an MBA degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined New York Life in 2004. Mr. Kim also graduated from the University of Michigan and holds an MBA degree from the University of Connecticut. He joined New York Life in 2008. Mr. Pfaff is a graduate of Manhattan College. He joined New York Life in 1985 as an agent in New Jersey and entered sales management in 1988.

New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States4 and one of the largest life insurers in the world. New York Life has the highest possible financial strength ratings currently awarded to any life insurer from all four of the major credit rating agencies: A.M. Best (A++), Fitch (AAA), Moody's Investors Service (Aaa), Standard & Poor's (AA+).5 Headquartered in New York City, New York Life's family of companies offers life insurance, retirement income, investments and long-term care insurance. New York Life Investments6 provides institutional asset management and retirement plan services. Other New York Life affiliates provide an array of securities products and services, as well as retail mutual funds.

Please visit New York Life's Web site at for more information.

1Market share calculations based on New York Life’s analysis of results from LIMRA International, Third Quarter 2011 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Sales Survey. Single premiums counted at 100%. Counting singles at 10%, New York Life also leads the industry with a 6.5% market share.

2Source: LIMRA International Source: LIMRA International, U.S. Individual Annuity Sales Survey, Fixed Immediates, Third Quarter 2011 results. (Fixed Immediates include Fixed Period Annuities.)

3Formerly known as the Million Dollar Round Table.

4Based on revenue as reported by “Fortune 500, Ranked within Industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual),” Fortune Magazine, May 5, 2011. See for methodology.

5Source: Individual Third Party Ratings Report as of 8/23/11.

6New York Life Investments is a service mark used by New York Life Investment Management Holdings LLC and its subsidiary, New York Life Investment Management LLC.