We know times are tough. And with all the changes going on, it’s easy to see why you might be concerned about your family and future. If so, you may find it reassuring to know that our whole life policies are giving millions of people the financial security they need today—and tomorrow.
In addition to guaranteed life insurance protection1, participating whole life policy owners are eligible to receive dividends. While dividends are not guaranteed, 2021 will be the 167th consecutive year that our Board of Directors has approved a payout—proof of our ongoing commitment to be there for our clients in good times and in bad.
Want to see how helpful dividends can be?
This video is a great place to start.
Using dividends to buy more life insurance (what we call "paid-up additions") is an easy way to build financial security. You see, if you use your dividends to purchase more life insurance, these paid-up additions also become eligible to receive dividends—which then allows you to buy even more coverage. Over time, this provides an opportunity to increase your level of protection.
We aim to pay whole life policy owners the highest-possible annual dividend, while maintaining our financial strength so that we can continue to meet current and future obligations. As a policy owner, you can take comfort in the fact that New York Life enjoys the highest ratings for financial strength currently awarded to any U.S. life insurer by all four major rating agencies2:
As a mutual life insurance company, we are responsible to our policy owners—not Wall Street shareholders. Whether it’s paying dividends, investing in new businesses, or adding to our surplus, every decision we make has the long-term interests of our clients in mind.
Surplus is one of the most important measures of an insurer's financial strength since it reflects the company’s ability to withstand potentially harmful economic events such as a recession or national pandemic. While we have already set aside enough money to pay all the benefits we’ve promised, our surplus provides an extra cushion of stability so that our clients know we’ll be there for them when needed.
Life insurance is a product that has stood the test of time—regardless of the economic cycle or whatever else may be going on around us. If you own one of our individual life products, you are part of a community who collectively owns more than $1 trillion in protection for their families and businesses. That’s money that can help pay for an education, secure a retirement, or protect the assets that you’ve worked hard to accumulate.
Even though interest rates remain at historically low levels, New York Life continues to pay eligible owners an attractive dividend. How are we able to do this?
In a low interest rate environment, companies have only a few options to offset the impact that smaller investment returns have on the size of policy owner dividends. They can tap into surplus, which is capital above and beyond the funds already set aside to pay benefits. They can seek larger returns by making more aggressive—sometimes riskier—investments. Or they can operate other businesses to generate additional earnings.
Exercising these options for the benefit of their policy owners, however, can be challenging for some companies. Publicly traded life insurers, for example, may be less able to share their success with policy owners because their priority is generating returns for their shareholders. New York Life, however, is uniquely positioned for your benefit, and we are built for both economic challenges and times of growth.
All New York Life policy owners benefit from our diversified business portfolio. These businesses are run by us and work for you. These strategic businesses can generate additional earnings to grow surplus and help keep the company strong and growing. Our whole life policy owners also enjoy a distinct advantage from this business strategy: a portion of those earnings can also contribute to the dividend payout. And we have been able to do this while continuing to hold the highest ratings for financial strength currently awarded to any U.S. life insurer by the four major rating agencies.2 Our alignment with your interests pays dividends.
One of the best ways we can continue to improve this portfolio of businesses for you is to make it even more financially strong and diverse, which is the reason behind our planned acquisition of Cigna’s Group Life & Group Disability Insurance business, as we announced on December 18th, 2019, and subject to regulatory approval.
Our proposed acquisition of Cigna’s Group Life & Group Disability Insurance business is intended to broaden the diversity of our strategic business portfolio and enhance our financial strength, which can help contribute to the dividend even in a low interest rate environment and add millions of customers to the New York Life family.
Expected to close in 2020, subject to applicable regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, this acquisition will only strengthen our mission to provide financial security and peace of mind to our customers.
1 The guarantees of a whole life policy are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuer.
2 Source: Individual third-party ratings reports as of October 15, 2020.
3 Total surplus, which includes the Asset Valuation Reserve (AVR), is one of the key indicators of the company’s longterm financial strength and stability, and is presented on a consolidated basis of the company. NYLIC’s statutory surplus was $22.03 billion and $21.01 billion at December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Included in NYLIC’s statutory surplus is NYLIAC’s statutory surplus totaling $9.35 billion and $8.59 billion at December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. AVR for NYLIC was $3.37 billion and $2.59 billion at December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. AVR for NYLIAC was $1.56 billion and $1.21 billion at December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. At the time of printing this book, surplus and AVR at December 31, 2019 is preliminary and subject to final audit.
Policy owners can view the audited statutory financial statements by visiting our website, www.newyorklife.com, beginning in mid-March.
4 For further financial information, including descriptions of our Strategic Businesses, visit our website (www.newyorklife.com), where the 2019 Annual Report will be available in mid-April 2020.
In Oregon, the New York Life Whole Life, Value Whole Life, and Custom Whole Life policy form number is ICC18217-50P 4/18)