While its name evolved from "metropolitan," MetLife's insurance policies are found in villages, towns, and huge cities around the world. Operating through its Metropolitan Life Insurance Company subsidiary, MetLife is the largest life insurer in the US. Its Insurance Products segment includes all of its group and individual life insurance and non-medical health insurance products (dental, disability, illness). Its Retirement Products segment includes annuity products. MetLife's Auto & Home segment works through subsidiary Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance. Internationally, MetLife is a big player in Japan, and growing in more than 50 other countries, especially in Latin America.
The company's Retail segment is organized into two businesses: life and other (variable life products, universal life products, term life products, whole life products, disability products, property & casualty); and annuities (variable annuities and fixed annuities).
The Group, Voluntary and Worksite Benefits segment is organized into Group and Voluntary and Worksite. Group insurance products and services include life, dental, group short- and long-term disability and accidental death and dismemberment coverages.
The Corporate Benefit Funding segment handles investment management for large employers that offer retirement benefits, including pension closeouts and specialized life insurance products used to fund such benefit plans.
The company also services a number of long-term care insurance policies.
The company operates in the Americas and Asia, and in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). In Latin America it operates in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay (which the bulk of regional revenues coming from Mexico, Chile, and Argentina).
It largest operations in Asia are in Japan and Korea. It also does business in Australia, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Nepal, and Pakistan, and through a joint venture in China.
MetLife operates in more than 30 countries across EMEA. The company's biggest operations are in France, Poland, the UAE, and the UK.
While the US remains its largest overall market, international sales accounted for about 30% of MetLife's revenues.
Sales and Marketing
Policies and other products are sold through a vast network of targeted marketing and sales forces, agency distribution groups, independent agents, affiliated broker-dealers, and direct marketing. In addition, MetLife sells some products through affinity groups and through employers.
After a small decline in 2012, revenue held steady in 2013 at about $68 billion as the company had higher investment income from its portfolio and benefited from additional earnings from an acquisition.
Net income continued it swings of late, going up 154% from a big slump in 2012. An absence of goodwill impairment lead to a $2 billion increase to $3.3 billion in 2013.
Changes in the value of certain assets delivered a $1 billion drop in cash from operations for 2013.
Going forward, MetLife plans to focus on insurance and employee benefits. It is exiting the bulk of its banking operations to avoid the increased scrutiny of banks under the Dodd-Frank financial regulations. The company is working to surrender its status as a bank-holding company. In 2013, the company sold its MetLife Bank depository operations to General Electric's finance division. Previously, MetLife Bank also offered residential mortgages, but in 2012 stopped writing both new mortgages and reverse mortgages. (In late 2012 it sold its approximately $70 billion mortgage-serving portfolio to JPMorgan Chase Bank for an undisclosed sum.) MetLife retained the residential home loan portion of the business.
The company has pinned much of its growth efforts on emerging markets by increasing its already strong presence in the Asia/Pacific region and in Latin America through acquisitions and new product introductions. To support this growth, the company has organized its operations along geographic lines: The Americas; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Asia.
Some of the individual and group products MetLife sells overseas include life insurance, accident and health insurance, credit insurance, and annuities and retirement products. It has also created a global employee benefits business to reach into new markets.
To focus on core international businesses Metlife has been selling off select foreign assets. In 2014 it agreed to sell its UK annuity business to Goldman Sachs Group company Rothesay Life Ltd. for $5 billion. The assurance covers benefits for more than 20,000 individuals in the UK and Ireland.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Expanding its presence in South America in 2013 MetLife acquired AFP Provida S.A. (a private pension fund administrator in Chile) from BBVA for $2 billion. The deal also includes a small asset management business in Ecuador. The purchase is part of the company's strategy of growth through acquisitions in emerging markets.
The company targeted emerging markets in Eastern Europe when it agreed to acquire the Czech, Hungarian, and Romanian life insurance operations of Aviva in 2012.