Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, known affectionately as MassMutual, brings a multitude of financial services to its membership base. A leading US mutual life insurer, the firm provides life policies, annuities, money management, and retirement planning to individuals and businesses in the US and abroad. Founded in 1851, MassMutual also offers disability income insurance, long-term care insurance, structured settlement annuities, and trust services. Its subsidiaries include OppenheimerFunds (mutual funds), Baring Asset Management (international investment), and Babson Capital Management (investor services) with its Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors (real estate investment management) subsidiary.
MassMutual has some $547 billion worth of in-force insurance policies, as well as some $639 billion in assets under management (based on fiscal 2013 figures). The company's OppenheimerFunds unit is a top mutual fund manager, with some $233 billion in assets under management, and manages 86 funds in 86 countries.
Insurance premiums account for about 75% of MassMutual's annual revenues. The firm's operations are divided into four segments: US insurance, international insurance, retirement services, and asset management.
In addition to MassMutual's operations in the US, where it is licensed in all states, the MassMutual International division has established subsidiaries or ventures in Chile, China, Hong Kong, and Japan, through which it focuses on new product development and broadened distribution in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The majority of international sales come from products or channels developed within the last few years.
Sales and Marketing
MassMutual distributes its products through a network of some 5,000 affiliated sales representatives and financial advisors located at about 80 agencies across the US, as well as select international locations. It also conducts advertising campaigns through television, video, print, digital, online, and social media outlets. Customers include individuals, families, businesses, unions, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, and employer associations.
MassMutual's strategy of positioning its insurance operations and asset management businesses to provide diversified sources of growth and earnings continues to serve it well. In 2013 MassMutual achieved more than $12.5 billion in surplus, following the 2012 surplus of $12.7 billion (the highest level in its history). The company's surplus, in fact, has averaged 10% growth since 1996.
Revenues for MassMutual increased by 3% to some $27.6 billion in 2013 due to a double-digit growth in net investment income, largely driven by the acquisition of Hartford Financial's retirement plan business that year, as well as an increase in premium income.
However, growth related to the acquisition, as well as operational expansions, led to a net loss of $113 million in 2013. Policyowner dividends increased that year 7% to nearly $100 million.
Like so many other insurance firms, MassMutual (sometimes known as MassMutual Financial Group) hopped on the financial services bandwagon to expand its product range. However, its management and policyholders have repeatedly reaffirmed their intention to keep MassMutual a mutual company despite the efforts of some policyholders. Also, the company doesn't seem too eager to throw out either the insurance baby or the bathwater -- it has also reaffirmed its commitment to good old whole life insurance products and retirement income products.
To attract new customer groups, as well as to broaden product sales to existing customers, MassMutual has expanded its line of insurance and retirement products in recent years. For instance, in 2014 the company launched a $5 million venture fund to invest in startup businesses in Springfield, Massachusetts. Also that year the company invested in new retirement plans sales staff.
Mergers and Acquisitions
To expand its core operations, MassMutual acquired Hartford Financial's retirement plans business for $400 million in early 2013. The deal builds on record growth within the company's retirement operations, doubling the division's coverage to some 3 million members and expanding its geographic reach.
Subsidiary Oppenheimer Funds in 2013 acquired energy infrastructure-focused firms SteelPath Capital Management and SteelPath Fund Advisors. Baring Asset Management expanded its Korean asset management business in 2013 through the acquisition of SEI Asset Korea.