Acknowledging our past: New York Life and slavery

As a 171 year-old company, New York Life’s history is interwoven with the imperfections of our nation’s history, including the practice of slavery.   We profoundly regret that our predecessor company, the Nautilus Insurance Company, sold policies on the lives of slaves for a brief period between 1846 -1848.   We have been open and transparent about this period of our company’s history, with the Nautilus sale of slave policies covered in detail in books about the company dating as far back as 1895. 

These pages present the facts about our company’s link to the slavery era and the actions we have consistently taken to support the African American community.  They also highlight how New York Life has worked for years to shine a light on the worst of our nation’s history so it is never repeated.

Explore our past and present.

Get the facts

Details about New York Life’s longstanding commitment to the African American community through supporting research and scholarship, as well as through programs that directly benefit African American individuals and families.

Common questions

Questions about our past, the actions we took to share our history, and how it has shaped our commitment to the African American community today.


Company milestones from the 1840s to the present, from Nautilus and its link to slavery to our role supporting the first national museum dedicated to African American history and culture.

Research, scholarship, and philanthropy

Information about organizations, research, and scholarship we have funded to study and explore the African American experience, and work we do to benefit the African American community.

Additional information

Connect with us

Whether you're a descendant, member of the media, or part of the New York Life community, you'll find the information you need to get in touch.

Media statement

See the full statement New York Life has provided on the company's connection to slavery and our legacy.