Our number one priority is maintaining superior financial strength to back the insurance and annuity products delivering the secure financial future you and your family are counting on. But as a company that does not answer to Wall Street or shareholders, we are also able to share our success with you today. For many of our clients, this has been received as an annual dividend—something we’ve been paying consistently since 1854.
Dividends can be used in a few different ways. Some simply take it as cash to spend on other current needs. Others apply the money towards their premium payment to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Many, however, use their dividend to purchase more insurance.
Our long track record reflects our commitment to paying the strongest dividend possible each year, while maintaining unquestioned financial strength to back the guarantees we make. That is something we are uniquely positioned to continue to do for you.
Although interest rates modestly increased during the past year, they still remain well below the 20-year average. Despite this challenging environment, we’ve been able to pay a record total dividend payout to our eligible policy owners for the past five years, something no other major U.S. mutual life insurance company has done.3 How have we been able to do this?
Companies only have a few options to offset the impact on policy owner dividends from the smaller investment returns in a low interest rate environment. 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, are not in a position to share their success with policy owners because their priority is shareholders. And other life insurers like us that do not answer to shareholders? They need to have robust surplus or other successful businesses as options.
This is how New York Life is uniquely positioned for your benefit.
All New York Life policy owners benefit from our diversified business portfolio. These businesses can generate additional earnings to grow surplus—the capital above and beyond the funds already set aside to pay benefits—and help keep your 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.4 Said another way, our alignment with your interests pays dividends.
Life insurance is a product that has withstood the test of time. Regardless of the economic cycle
or whatever else may be going on in the world around us, it continues to have a place for those planning for a secure financial future.
If you own one of our individual life insurance products, you are part of a community of millions who collectively own 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 you’ve worked hard to accumulate.
The premiums and fees we collect on life insurance and annuity products are prudently invested and managed for the long term to ensure we fulfill the promises we make to you.
As a life insurer with no shareholders, our interests are aligned with yours.
New York Life does not need to meet the quarterly demands of Wall Street. That’s why we make decisions and take actions with you in mind, whether it is paying dividends or enhancing our financial strength by growing surplus.
Surplus is one of the most important measures of an insurer’s financial strength since it shows the company’s ability to help secure your future. This is capital above and beyond the funds already set aside to pay the benefits we promise. Think of it as a cushion against potential future adverse economic events—money that further ensures we can continue to meet our obligations to you whenever you need us.
Protecting your family or business against the unexpected. Paying for college. Saving for retirement…and having the guaranteed income to enjoy it. Whatever your goals, we have the solutions that can help you achieve them. Our job is to provide guidance and help you assemble the plan you need and want. And as your goals evolve, you can count on us to help you continue to be free from worrying about your financial future.
1. 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.
2. The annual dividend payout is the total amount of money the company pays to all of its eligible policy owners in a given year. Because characteristics including policy type and the year a policy was purchased differ from policy to policy, the performance of an individual policy’s dividend over a specific period may not mirror the performance of the company’s total dividend payout over that same period.
3. 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, and whose dividend information is made publicly available.
4. The “highest ratings currently awarded” refers to the highest ratings currently awarded to any life insurer, specifically: A.M. Best A++ (as of 7/25/18), Fitch Ratings AAA (as of 6/1/18), Moody’s Aaa (as of 1/18/19), and Standard & Poor’s AA+ (as of 6/15/18). Source: third-party reports.
5. 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 $1,029.3 billion at December 31, 2018 (including $175.3 billion for NYLIAC).
6. 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 Asset Valuation Reserve (AVR), equaled $286.63 billion (including $143.66 billion total liabilities of NYLIAC). See Note 8 for total surplus.
7. Operating earnings is the measure used for management purposes to track the company’s results from ongoing operations and the profitability of the business. This chart 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). Policy owners can view the GAAP-basis consolidated financial statements and a detailed reconciliation to our non-GAAP performance measures by visiting our website, www.newyorklife.com, beginning in mid-March. 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.
8. Total surplus, which includes the 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 our website, www.newyorklife.com, beginning in mid-March.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Mutual fund sales represent total cash deposited to new and existing accounts of the MainStay Funds, New York Life’s proprietary mutual funds. MainStay Funds are managed by New York Life Investment Management LLC and distributed through NYLIFE Distributors LLC, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of New York Life Insurance Company.