MetLife provides group life insurance through superannuation and employee groups and individual insurance products via affinity partners. MetLife launched in Australia in July 2005 and has rapidly established itself as a specialist provider of group and individual insurance solutions to its business partners.
What sets us apart from other insurance providers is that our focus is life insurance solutions through our business partners. We understand the importance of understanding our clients’ customers and their individual needs, customising our solutions to ensure the right insurance offer for the right customers.
Our strong capabilities in flexible solutions and technology platforms are designed to ensure a positive customer experience for our clients and their customers.
With over 140 years of experience, the MetLife companies are a leading innovator and a recognised leader in protection planning and retirement and savings solutions around the world. We have established a strong presence in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific through organic growth, acquisitions, joint ventures and other partnerships. We are strengthening our global brand MetLife by extending core products and competencies to markets around the world – an important driver of growth for the enterprise.
Around the world, the MetLife companies offer life, accident and health insurance, retirement and savings and reinsurance products through agents, third-party distributors such as banks and brokers, and direct marketing channels. We work with families, corporations and governments to provide them with solutions that offer financial guarantees in their lives. Our name is recognized and trusted by more than 90 million customers worldwide and over 90 of top 100 FORTUNE 500® companies in the United States. We have the experience, global resources and vision to provide financial certainties for an uncertain world.
The origins of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) go back to 1863, when a group of New York City businessmen raised $100,000 to found the National Union Life and Limb Insurance Company.
The new company insured Civil War sailors and soldiers against disabilities due to wartime wounds, accidents, and sickness. In 1868, after several reorganizations and five difficult years, the company decided to focus on the life insurance business. A new company was chartered to sell "ordinary" insurance to the middle class. The founders chose the name because they had been most successful in New York City, or the "Metropolitan" District.
This new venture also faced difficulties. A severe business depression that began in the early 1870s rapidly put half of the 70 life insurance companies operating in New York State out of business. Only very large, long-established ordinary life insurance companies remained strong. Policy lapses over successive years forced the company to contract until it reached its lowest point in the late 1870s.
In 1879, MetLife President Joseph F. Knapp turned his attention to England, where "industrial" or "workingmen's" insurance programs were widely successful. American companies had not bothered to pursue industrial insurance up to that time because of the expense involved in building and sustaining an agency force to sell policies door to door and to make the weekly collection of five- or ten-cent premiums.
By importing English agents to train an American agency force, MetLife quickly transferred successful British methods for use in the United States. By 1880, the company was signing up 700 new industrial policies a day. Rapidly increasing volume quickly drove down distribution costs, and the new program proved immediately successful.
The MetLife agent became an important person in the lives of these striving families. Manuals instructed agents to call at a home at the same time each week to ensure familiarity and contact. In the process of collecting premiums, insurance agents listened to the problems, concerns, and hopes of their clients. So successful was this approach that by 1909, MetLife became the nation's largest life insurer in terms of insurance in force, a leadership position we continue to hold today in North America
MetLife’s corporate vision – to build financial freedom for everyone – guides the company’s response to people’s growing need for first-rate financial products and services through various life stages and economic cycles. MetLife’s trusted brand, capital strength, and existing relationships with millions of individual and institutional customers around the globe uniquely position MetLife among its competitors.
The "everyone" in MetLife’s vision took on added meaning in 2000 as the company welcomed an important new constituency: shareholders. MetLife transformed itself from mutual to stock ownership in April of that year through a demutualization and initial public offering that was completed in just 18 months after Board authorization.
The year 2001 was a true test of the qualities that define MetLife. The company’s core values, brought to life in what MetLife does every day, were no more evident than in MetLife’s response to the tragic events that shook our nation on September 11. MetLife responded quickly. The company served its customers, communities and employees during this difficult time. At the same time, MetLife invested $1 billion in a broad array of publicly-traded common stocks.
In 2001, MetLife was the first insurance company to establish a financial holding company with a nationally chartered bank. Leveraging its unparalleled distribution channels, MetLife entered the retail-banking arena with the launch of MetLife Bank, making it an easy and convenient way for MetLife’s customers to realize their financial goals.
MetLife announced in 2002 that it would be continuing its long-standing relationship with Snoopy and the rest of the PEANUTS® characters. The company signed a new contract that would allow the characters to appear in MetLife’s domestic and international advertising for the next 10 years.
The sale of State Street Research & Management Company to BlackRock, Inc. was announced in 2004. In line with MetLife’s strategy to focus on core business growth, the sale benefited many of the company’s Individual and Institutional Business clients who held investments through State Street Research, as it became part of one of the largest publicly traded investment management firms in the U.S.
The company’s stated long-term goal is to become the recognized leader throughout the world for relationship building, connectedness and caring in financial services – in the "giant league" with over 100 million people as MetLife customers by the year 2010.
MetLife took a major step toward realizing this goal in 2005, when it acquired Travelers Life & Annuity and substantially all of Citigroup’s international insurance businesses for $12 billion. Completed on July 1, 2005, the Travelers acquisition made MetLife the largest individual life insurer in North America based on sales, the second largest provider of retail annuities and the largest provider of institutional annuities.
Working Mother magazine honored MetLife in 2005 by naming the company one of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers," for the seventh consecutive year. In 2005, the company was named to DiversityInc.’s list of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity. In early 2006, MetLife was also named to the National Association for Female Executives’ annual list of Top 30 Companies for Executive Women.
In 2006, MetLife appointed C. Robert (Rob) Henrikson chairman of the board of directors, president and chief executive officer of MetLife, Inc. Henrikson was appointed CEO on March 1, 2006 and chairman of the board on April 25, 2006.
Henrikson has been the architect of an aggressive growth strategy that included double-digit organic growth, the divestiture of non-core businesses, and an M&A strategy which resulted in market leadership in all of MetLife’s core product lines. Before it was commonly talked about, Henrikson recognized the opportunities presented by the changing demographics in a global marketplace and set the company on a course for continued success by developing innovative products and services and strengthening the company’s distribution power in the U.S. and 16 markets in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Europe.
Today, a time when consumers are feeling a greater financial burden than ever before, MetLife is helping millions of customers create their own personal safety net. At no time in the company’s history has MetLife been as well positioned to capitalize on its history, its reputation for security and stability, and its innovative products and services as it is today.
In the future, MetLife will continue to grow its business with focus, innovation and profitability. This will be accomplished by drawing on the reservoir of history that has produced an enduring set of corporate values based on more than 138 years of integrity, social responsibility, strong leadership and financial strength.