Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, known 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 MML Investors Services.
The firm's operations are divided into four segments: US insurance, international insurance, retirement services, and asset management. Insurance premiums account for about 75% of MassMutual's annual revenues. The firm has $617 million in policies in force.
MassMutual also has $642 billion in assets under management (based on fiscal 2015 figures). The company's OppenheimerFunds unit is a top mutual fund manager, with some $217 billion in assets under management, and manages 90 funds in more than 80 countries.
In addition to MassMutual's operations in the US, where it is licensed in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, 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 9,200 affiliated sales representatives and financial advisors across the US, as well as from select international locations. It also sells its products through third-party distributors. The company 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 2015 MassMutual achieved more than $15 billion in surplus (the highest level in its history), following the 2014 surplus of $14.2 billion.
Revenue grew 12% to $29.5 billion in 2015 thanks to 17% premium growth as membership increased. Investment gains also contributed to the revenue gain.
However, net income fell 32% to $546 million due to higher policyholders' reserves and higher dividend payouts. Cash flow from operations rose 14% to $7.8 billion as benefit payments declined.
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. In 2015 it launched a Spanish version of its website to attract more customers. The following year, it launched online life insurance portal ValoraLife.com. It also launched two new universal life insurance policies targeting executives.
In 2016 MassMutual merged four of its asset management units into a single global firm managing some $275 billion. It merged Babson Capital Management (investor services) plus its Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors (real estate investment management) subsidiary, Wood Creek Capital Management, and Baring Asset Management, with Baring being the surviving brand.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2015, MassMutual acquired Viability Advisory Group for an undisclosed amount. Viability's suite of tools help retirement plans and employers gauge retirement readiness of employees; the tools are offered through financial advisors.
In mid-2016 the company bought MetLife's US retail advisor force MetLife Premier Client Group, which employs some 4,000 advisors across the US. It also acquired MetLife's broker dealer MetLife Securities. The deal expanded MassMutual's existing agency force to some 9,200, as well as broadening its geographic reach.