NEW YORK, March 12, 2019 – New York Life, America’s largest mutual life insurer, today announced strong financial results for 2018, marked by record company highs in surplus, life insurance and annuity sales, and operating earnings. The company exceeded $1 trillion of individual life insurance in force in the United States in 2018 and paid the highest level of total dividends and benefits to policy owners and their beneficiaries in its history.  

"Our outstanding results underscore a focus on delivering consistently strong financial performance that enables us to keep our promises to customers today and for decades to come," said New York Life CEO and Chairman Ted Mathas. "These results are made possible by the thousands of financial professionals and employees who provide expert guidance and service every day, and by prudently managing our diverse set of businesses to ensure peace of mind for the millions of families and businesses who place their trust in New York Life."

New York Life’s record surplus in 2018 represents a key contributor to the company’s strong financial strength ratings. Once again, all four major financial rating agencies gave New York Life the highest ratings currently awarded to any life insurer, making the company one of only two in the industry to achieve this standard. Additionally, having announced the largest total dividend payout in the company’s history in November 2018, New York Life is the only major U.S. mutual life insurance company to declare a record total dividend payout in each of the last five years1

The company’s record sales directly reflect the expertise delivered by its 12,000 financial professionals in communities across the country, a foundational component of New York Life’s proven business model. The company achieved its 22nd consecutive year of growth in life insurance sales in 2018. 

"As we look toward our 175th anniversary in 2020, our mutual structure and long-term orientation remain cornerstones of our financial strength,” Mathas added. “We will continue to build on New York Life’s unrivaled financial foundation and invest in innovations that deliver ongoing value to policy owners."

Financial performance highlights as of December 31, 2018 include: 

  • Grew surplus (including the asset valuation reserve) to a $24.8 billion record.
  • Reported life insurance sales of over $1.3 billion and over $1 trillion of individual life insurance in force.
  • Reached a record high in annuity sales of $14.2 billion. 
  • Reached over $2.3 billion in operating earnings for 2018, the highest in the company’s history. 
  • Paid over $11 billion in total dividends and benefits to policy owners. 
  • Announced a record total dividend payout of $1.8 billion in 2019.
  • Reported a general account balance of $256 billion in cash and invested assets, and total assets under management of $572 billion.
  2018 2017
Surplus and Asset Valuation Reserve2 $24,814 $24,198
Insurance Sales3 $1,370 $1,332
Annuity Sales4 $14,169 $13,809
Operating Earnings5 $2,316 $2,058
Individual Life Insurance in Force6 $1,029,308 $992,821
Policyholder Benefits and Dividends7 $11,103 $10,633
Assets Under Management8 $572,285 $585,919


About New York Life
New York Life Insurance Company (, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States* and one of the largest life insurers in the world. 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 has the highest financial strength ratings currently awarded to any U.S. life insurer from all four of the major credit rating agencies**.

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Media contact
Kevin Maher
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-6955

*Based on revenue as reported by “Fortune 500 ranked within Industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual),” Fortune magazine, 6/1/18. For methodology, please see **Individual independent rating agency commentary as of 7/30/2018: A.M. Best (A++), Fitch (AAA), Moody’s Investors Service (Aaa), Standard & Poor’s (AA+).

1 Based on publicly available information on New York Life’s peer mutual U.S. life insurers. This peer group is comprised of major mutual U.S. insurance companies for whom life insurance is the primary focus and primary line of business, whose dividend information is made publicly available and who appear within the top 200 of the Fortune 500 based on revenue as reported by “Fortune 500 ranked within Industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual),” Fortune magazine, 6/1/18.
2 Total surplus, which includes the Asset Valuation Reserve (AVR), is one of the key indicators of the company’s long-term financial strength and stability and is presented on a consolidated basis of the company. NYLIC’s statutory surplus was $21.01 billion and $20.36 billion at December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Included in NYLIC’s statutory surplus is NYLIAC’s statutory surplus totaling $8.59 billion and $9.19 billion at December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. AVR for NYLIC was $2.59 billion and $2.65 billion at December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. AVR for NYLIAC was $1.21 billion and $1.19 billion at December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Policy owners can view the statutory financial statements applicable to their respective companies by visiting:
3 Insurance sales represent annualized first-year premiums on participating issued whole life insurance, term life insurance, universal life insurance, long-term care insurance, and other health insurance products. A sale is generally counted when the initial premium is paid and the policy is issued. Adjustments are made to normalize non-recurring premiums to align with our annualized recurring premium methodology for insurance sales. Some examples are: single premium products sold through our agents and Advanced Markets Network retail and COLI distribution channel, our network of independent agents and brokers, are counted at 10 percent. Sales are generated from both domestic and Mexican operations.
4 Total annuity sales represent premiums on our deferred annuities (both fixed and variable) and on our guaranteed income annuities. Sales are generally recognized when premiums are received. Annuities are primarily issued by NYLIAC.
5 Operating earnings is the measure used for management purposes to track the company’s results from ongoing operations and the underlying profitability of the business. This metric is based on accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP) with certain adjustments we believe are more appropriate as a measurement approach (non-GAAP). Operating earnings equal GAAP net income adjusted for, primarily, the removal of gains and losses from investments and related adjustments and dividends to policy owners that are supported by capital gains or earnings from other businesses. Policy owners can view the GAAP-basis consolidated financial statements and a detailed reconciliation to our non-GAAP performance measures by visiting: The New York State Department of Financial Services (the Department) recognizes only statutory accounting practices for determining and reporting the financial condition and results of operations of an insurance company, for determining its solvency under the New York Insurance Law, and for management determining whether its financial condition warrants the payment of a dividend to its policy owners. No consideration is given by the Department to financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP in making such determinations.
6 Individual life insurance in force is the total face amount of individual life insurance contracts (term, whole life and universal life) outstanding for NYLIC and its domestic insurance subsidiaries at a given time. The company’s individual life insurance in force totaled $1029.3 billion at December 31, 2018 (including $175.3 billion for NYLIAC).
7 Policy owner benefits primarily include death claims paid to beneficiaries and annuity payments. Dividends are payments made to eligible policy owners from divisible surplus. Divisible surplus is the portion of the company’s total surplus that is available, following each year’s operations, for distribution in the form of dividends. Dividends are not guaranteed. Each year the board of directors votes on the amount and allocation of the divisible surplus. Policy owner benefits and dividends reflect the consolidated results of NYLIC and its domestic insurance subsidiaries. Intercompany transactions have been eliminated in consolidation. NYLIC’s policy owner benefits and dividends were $7.47 billion and $7.38 billion for the 12 months ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. NYLIAC’s policy owner benefits were $3.68 billion and $3.26 billion for the 12 months ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively.
8 Assets under management consist of cash and invested assets and separate account assets of the company’s domestic and international insurance operations, and assets the company manages for third-party investors, including mutual funds, separately managed accounts, retirement plans and assets under administration. The company’s general account investment portfolio totaled $256.10 billion as of December 31, 2018 (including $105.04 billion invested assets of NYLIAC). As of December 31, 2018, total assets equaled $311.46 billion (including $153.46 billion total assets of NYLIAC). Total liabilities, excluding the AVR, equaled $286.63 billion (including $143.66 billion total liabilities of NYLIAC). See Note 2 for total surplus.