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New York Life Insurance

New York Life Insurance Company is one of the largest providers of life insurance worldwide, and is the largest mutual life insurance company within the United States. The insurer has around $550 billion in assets under management, as well as an additional $21 billion in surplus.

New York Life has changed significantly since it was first founded as Nautilus Insurance Company in 1845 with $17,000 in assets.  New York Life developed the predecessor to guaranteed cash value policies back in 1860, which was called a non-forfeiture option. The company was also the first American life insurer to provide policyholders with a cash dividend.

While New York Life sells itself as an innovative and customer-oriented company, consumers still need to be careful when making any investments in life insurance products or annuities. If you are considering buying life insurance or other products sold by New York Life, you should research the products carefully. If you believe you were misled or not informed of all required disclosures, you should consult with a Marin County securities fraud attorney to learn more about your options for taking legal action.

New York Life Insurance Products

New York Life has an extensive product list which includes investment annuities, long-term care insurance, retirement income products, mutual funds, and a Visa rewards card.

For those interested in life insurance coverage, policy options include term life insurance; whole life insurance; universal and variable universal life insurance, and corporate sponsored plans. Investment annuities include both fixed and variable annuities including New York Secure Term Choice Fixed Annuity; New York Flexible Premium Annuity, and New York Life Fixed Deferred Annuity Riders.

Each different product provides varying benefits to those who purchase, but reading sales literature and policy fine print is essential to ensuring you actually get the promised perks.

Class Actions & Regulatory Actions Against New York Life Insurance

While New York Life Insurance has a long history of selling insurance, annuities, and investment products, it also has a long history of legal issues.

In 1995, the New York Times reported that New York Life Insurance had agreed to a class action settlement plan* that would provide $250 million or more in benefits to approximately three million policyholders.

These policyholders had purchased life insurance between 1982 and 1994 and had been promised an investment return, but declining interest rates had prompted New York Life to sharply reduce promised returns.  Many insurers faced similar problems with falling interest rates, and class actions against insurance providers were very common at the time.

This 1995 case was not the end of legal problems, as New York Life and several other insurers were also sued in 2010* because their universal life policies were invested in funds linked to the Bernie Madoff scandal. In 2013, New York Life was again sued* — this time with claims of annuity fraud and allegations that the company had looked the other way as its registered representative committed fraud.

Since insurers can become caught up in litigation when they allegedly fail to provide appropriate protection or promised benefits to consumers, anyone buying insurance, annuities, or investment products needs to do careful research into the insurer they are trusting.

If you want help evaluating the actions of an insurer or if you believe you have been misled or financially damaged by an insurance company, you should contact the Evans Law Firm, Inc. as soon as possible for guidance. Our office can be reached at (415) 441-8669 or by email at

* The Evans Law Firm did not handle any of these lawsuits.


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