This month in New York Life history—January.

New York Life | January 1, 2020

At New York Life

Jan. 1, 1933

The first issue of the Nylic Review was published. Company president Thomas A. Buckner introduced it by noting that the monthly magazine “will be handsomely illustrated and will contain articles and information about Life Insurance that I believe will interest the agents in the field.”

Jan. 1, 1941

George Harrison became the first CEO of New York Life. (He was also named company president the same day.) Although standard today, the term “Chief Executive Officer” is a relatively recent invention, and New York Life was an early adopter.

Harrison, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and previous head of the New York Federal Reserve, would usher in sweeping changes, including the formalization of agent training and a reorganization of the company that included the first formal budget system.

Jan. 13, 2015

The New York Life Foundation and the Coalition to Support Grieving Students launched grievingstudents.org, a groundbreaking resource to help educators and school professionals support grieving students.

Jan. 17, 2023

New York Life Chief Executive Officer and President Craig DeSanto to become Chair of the Board.

Jan. 18, 2022

New York Life’s Impact Investment Initiative commits $50 million in long-term capital to Century Housing Corporation.

Jan. 19, 1984

MacKay-Shields Financial Corporation joined New York Life. Founded in 1938, the investment management firm would operate as an independent subsidiary. MacKay- Shields enhanced New York Life’s position in the pension fund market and would be crucial to New York Life’s entry into mutual funds.

Jan. 20, 1999

The board of directors voted to keep New York Life a mutual company after considering a range of options, including demutualization. At the time, many other insurers had been demutualizing so they could sell stock and invest the proceeds in the booming securities markets.

Chairman, President and CEO Sy Sternberg explained NYL’s decision — after much consideration — not to follow suit: “We believe that the mutual structure ... underscores our focus on policyholders and our long-term commitment to their needs. The primary responsibility of a mutual insurance company is to ensure that the long-term benefits promised to its policyholders are secure and protected.”

The companies that did go public during this time would eventually face severe financial strains and demanding shareholders after the boom markets crashed. New York Life, whose obligation was to policyholders, would have no such problems.

Jan. 25, 2021

New York Life announces expansion of its company bereavement benefit for employees.

Jan. 28, 2020

New York Life Debuts 'Love Takes Action' Campaign for the Big Game as it celebrated its 175th anniversary.

Jan. 29, 2019

The Dougy Center, a center for grieving children and families, received the largest grant in its 36-year history, courtesy of the NYL Foundation. The grant was for $1 million to be paid out over three years.

Jan. 31, 2007

New York Life and AARP Financial jointly announced the AARP Lifetime Income Program, a program that offered fixed annuities, issued by New York Life Annuity Corporation, to provide guaranteed income for life to AARP members between the ages of 50 and 85.

Around the world

Jan. 1, 1801

Ireland was added to Great Britain by an Act of Union thus creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

January 1, 1892

Ellis Island in New York Harbor opened. Over 20 million new arrivals to America were processed until its closing in 1954.

Jan. 3, 1959

Alaska was admitted as the 49th U.S. state with a land mass almost one-fifth the size of the lower 48 states together.

Jan. 4, 1790

President George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address.

Jan. 5, 1972

President Richard Nixon signed a bill approving $5.5 billion over six years to build and test the NASA space shuttle.

Jan. 6, 1941

President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his State of the Union address to Congress asking for support for the lend-lease program aiding Allies fighting the Axis powers. Roosevelt also defined four essential freedoms worth defending; freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Jan. 7, 1782

The first U.S. commercial bank opened as the Bank of North America in Philadelphia.

Jan. 11, 1964

The U.S. Surgeon General declared cigarettes may be hazardous to health, the first such official government report.

Jan. 13, 1990

Douglas Wilder of Virginia became the first African American governor in the U.S. as he took the oath of office in Richmond.

Jan. 17, 1773

The ship Resolution, sailing under Captain James Cook, became the first vessel to cross the Antarctic Circle.

Jan. 20, 1945

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated to an unprecedented fourth term as president of the United States. He had served since 1933.

Jan. 21, 1976

The Concorde supersonic jet began passenger service with flights from London to Bahrain and Paris to Rio de Janeiro, cruising at twice the speed of sound (Mach 2) at an altitude up to 60,000 feet.

Jan. 24, 1848

The California gold rush began with the accidental discovery of the precious metal near Coloma during construction of a Sutter's sawmill. An announcement by President Polk later in the year caused a national sensation and resulted in a flood of "Forty-niners" seeking wealth.

Jan. 25, 1959

An American Airlines Boeing 707 made the first scheduled transcontinental U.S. flight, traveling from California to New York.

Jan. 26, 1994

Romania became the first former Cold War foe to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Jan. 30, 1835

President Andrew Jackson survived the first assassination attempt on a U.S. President. While leaving the House of Representatives Chamber, an insane would-be assassin fired two pistol shots at him, however both pistols misfired and the president was unharmed.


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Media contact

Kevin Maher
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937