Metropolitan Life Insurance Company History

1 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10010-3690

Telephone: (212) 578-2211
Toll Free: 800-638-5433
Fax: (212) 578-3320

Public Company
Incorporated: 1866 as National Travelers' Insurance Company
Employees: 46,000
Total Assets: $256.89 billion (2001)
Stock Exchanges: New York
Ticker Symbol: MET
NAIC: 524113 Direct Life Insurance Carriers

Company Perspectives:

For its future success, the company can draw on the reservoir of history that has produced an enduring set of corporate values based on over 130 years of integrity, social responsibility, strong leadership, financial strength, and innovative products and services.

Key Dates:

A group of New York businessmen form National Union Life and Limb Insurance Company.
The company is renamed National Life and Traveler's Insurance Company.
Life and casualty lines split into two separate companies.
National Traveler's Insurance Company is reorganized as Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.
The addition of industrial life insurance helps to revive the company following nearly a decade of economic depression.
Metropolitan Tower, which would become a New York landmark, is commissioned.
Metropolitan has more life insurance in force than any other company.
The company is transformed into a mutually held company.
A federal investigation of life insurance companies is launched, but the industry ultimately is left to police itself.
By March, Metropolitan has paid out $42.1 million on World War II deaths.
Metropolitan is replaced by Prudential as the number one life insurer in terms of assets.
The company begins writing individual retirement annuities.
The company completes the largest single building purchase (Pan Am Building) in history.
The board of directors authorizes demutualization.
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) launches the seventh largest IPO ever held in the United States.

Company History:

Further Reading:

  • Armstrong, Sean, "The Sales Police," Best's Review--Life-Health Insurance Edition, March 1995, pp. 34+.
  • Birger, Jon, "Not Same Old Life," Crain's New York Business, March 1, 1999, p. 1.
  • Brewer, Geoffrey, and Nancy Arnott, "Can MetLife Insure Honest Selling?," Sales & Marketing Management, March 1994, p. 13.
  • Connolly, Jim, "Met Life Incurs Costs As Revamping Continues," National Underwriter Life & Health--Financial Services Edition, April 22, 1996, p. 31.
  • Coolidge, Carrie, "Snoopy's New Tricks," Forbes, April 15, 2002, p. 100.
  • Cox, Brian, "Met Life in Midst of Huge Re-engineering Program," National Underwriter Life & Health--Financial Services Edition, September 18, 1995, pp. 40+.
  • Dublin, Louis I., A Family of Thirty Million: The Story of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York: Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 1943.
  • Gjertsen, Lee Ann, "Does Bob Benmosche's New MetLife Have What It Takes to Break Out?," American Banker, January 8, 2001, p. 1.
  • James, Marquis, The Metropolitan Life: A Study in Business Growth, New York: Viking Press, 1947.
  • Levinsohn, Alan, "Insurers Go Public," Strategic Finance, July 2000, p. 68.
  • Mannino, Barbara, "Staying the Course," Best's Review--Life-Health Insurance Edition, May 1998, pp. 40+.
  • "MetLife Reinvents Its Identity with Launch of Ad Campaign," Best's Review, June 2001, p. 95.
  • "Metropolitan Life: Citadel of Safety," Forbes, September 1, 1962.
  • Nathans, Leah, "Fighter Pilot," Business Week, December 14, 1998, p. 124.
  • Schmitt, Frederick, "Met Life's 1996 Earnings Well Received by Analysts," National Underwriter Life & Health--Financial Services Edition, April 14, 1997, pp. 3+.
  • Van Aartrijk, Peter, Jr., "Meet the New Metropolitan Life," Best's Review, July 1984.
  • Wipperfurth, Heike, "Breaking Tradition, Remaking MetLife," Crain's New York Business, April 9, 2001, p. 27.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 52. St. James Press, 2003.