Focused on the leadership approach of New York Life Chairman and CEO Ted Mathas as well as the company’s mutuality and financial strength, the September 2020 Best’s Review cover story “Past as Prologue” explores how New York Life’s 175-year history of successfully navigating challenging events guides the company’s future.
The feature highlights the values Mathas relies on as he leads the company through the COVID-19 pandemic after his tenure began with the onset of the Great Recession.
Mathas points to New York Life’s institutional culture, which he says is rooted in preparation and long-term planning, as one of the company’s greatest strengths, along with its mutual structure, which allows for New York Life to operate exclusively in the best interests of policy owners without the conflict of being beholden to shareholders.
While Chief Financial Officer Eric Feldstein underscores the “rock solid” nature of New York Life’s financial position, Chief Legal Counsel Sheila Davidson explains, “We have a longer decision-making horizon because we are not worried about the next quarter; we don't think in quarters, we think in quarter centuries.”
Mathas hails New York Life’s industry leading agent force of over 12,000 financial professionals as the backbone of the company’s work with individuals and businesses across the country in implementing protection-first financial strategies that provide guarantees* and help provide peace of mind. He also explains how New York Life’s core life insurance franchise is complemented by the company’s diversified strategic businesses including the soon-to-be-completed acquisition of Cigna's group life and disability insurance business, the largest acquisition in New York Life’s history.
Noting his role as a steward of the company, Mathas emphasizes New York Life’s ongoing commitment to mutuality as being essential to the company’s future and how he attempts to foster an environment of collaboration and being prepared for any event or short-term catastrophe, be it societal or economic. The ability of the New York Life Foundation to partner with the Cigna Foundation to launch the Brave of Heart Fund is offered as an example of the power of preparedness and collaboration coming together to benefit society. The Fund provides financial and emotional support for the families of those frontline healthcare workers who lose their lives in the fight against COVID-19.
Denoting New York Life’s “confident humility,” the feature closes by acknowledging New York Life’s intention “to build its future based on a respect for the past coupled with a human interaction and bond between the company and its customers.”
*Guarantees dependent upon the product and the claims paying ability of the issuing insurer.
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