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.
MassMutual has $651 billion in assets under management (based on fiscal 2014 figures). The company's OppenheimerFunds unit is a top mutual fund manager, with some $237 billion in assets under management, and manages 86 funds in 86 countries.
Insurance premiums account for about 70% 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 2014 MassMutual achieved more than $14.2 billion in surplus (the highest level in its history), following the 2013 surplus of $12.5 billion. The company's surplus, in fact, has averaged 10% growth since 1996.
After posting a 3% revenue increase in 2013, its revenue dropped 4% to $26.4 billion in 2014. The decrease was attributed to a decline in premium incomes.
In a turnaround the other way, MassMutual reported net of $799 million in 2014 compared to a loss of $113 million in 2013. The 2013 loss came from costs associated with the acquisition of Hartford Financial's retirement business.
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 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
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.
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.