SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Nov. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Throughout its 164-year history, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) has been committed to helping millions of Americans secure their future and protect the ones they love – providing the guidance and solutions they need to address the most important issues in life.
Underscoring that pledge, MassMutual's Board of Directors has approved an estimated dividend payout of $1.7 billion for 2016 to its eligible participating policyowners. The payout is nearly a $100 million increase over 2015, and the fourth consecutive year it has reached a new record. The 2016 payout also reflects a competitive dividend interest rate1 of 7.10 percent for eligible participating life and annuity blocks of business – maintaining the same rate as both 2014 and 2015, an outstanding accomplishment in an unpredictable economy.
"Today is a special day where the commitment we've made our policyowners is brought to life through our annual dividend payout," said Roger Crandall, MassMutual Chairman, President and CEO. "Through nearly our entire history, our policyowners have received an annual dividend regardless of what is happening in our world – whether it's through world wars, pandemics, market crashes, and most recently, a historically low interest rate environment where even three-month Treasury bills are yielding zero percent."
Americans today face challenges that are out of their control: a stagnant economy, volatile markets and instability around the globe. Couple that with the fact that life expectancy is growing, the social safety net is shrinking, and many people are unprepared for the financial realities they'll face.
While dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has consistently paid them to eligible participating policyowners since the 1860s. The 2016 dividend marks nearly two decades that the company has consecutively announced an estimated dividend payout exceeding $1 billion.
"As a mutual company, operating for the benefit of our policyowners and members, we are thrilled to share our collective and cooperative success," Crandall said. "Our consistent payment of dividends is proof of the enduring financial strength and stability we provide, as well as the resiliency of our long-term strategy."
MassMutual's long history of paying dividends is due to the company's competitive advantage, which is achieved through its excellent operating fundamentals, long-term investment philosophy and diverse, distinct mix of high-performing businesses. Among the key contributors to MassMutual's record dividend payout are its retirement services and international insurance businesses as well as its world-renowned and respected asset management subsidiaries, such as Babson Capital Management LLC, Baring Asset Management Limited, Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC, and OppenheimerFunds, Inc.
The estimated payout also occurs at a time when the company's financial strength ratings 2 are among the highest in the industry and its total adjusted capital as of June 30, 2015 – a key indicator of overall financial stability – surpassed $17 billion for the first time in the company's history.
Of the estimated $1.7 billion dividend payout, an estimated $1.65 billion has been approved for eligible participating policyowners who have purchased whole life insurance. MassMutual had its ninth consecutive record year of growth in whole life policy sales3 in 2014 with $418 million, and sales of whole life continue to be strong through the first three quarters of 2015.
In addition to receiving the dividend payouts in cash, other ways whole life insurance policyowners may use the dividends include paying premiums, buying additional insurance coverage, accumulating at interest, or repaying policy loans and policy loan interest.
"Whole life insurance enables people to plan for both the expected and unexpected events in their lives – whether it's leaving a legacy for loved ones or using cash value to help fund a college education or fill an income gap in retirement4," said Michael Fanning, Executive Vice President and Head of MassMutual's U.S. Insurance Group. "We have provided millions of people with financial resources they can use to chart a course through these turbulent times, further proof that whether bulls or bears are driving the market, policyowners have received their dividend payout from MassMutual."
Founded in 1851, MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. The company has a long history of financial strength and strong performance, and although dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid dividends to eligible participating policyowners consistently since the 1860s. With whole life insurance as its foundation, MassMutual provides products to help meet the financial needs of clients, such as life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement/401(k) plan services, and annuities. In addition, the company's strong and growing network of financial professionals helps clients make good financial decisions for the long-term.
MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. MassMutual is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts and its major affiliates include: Babson Capital Management LLC; Baring Asset Management Limited; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC; The First Mercantile Trust Company; MassMutual International LLC; MML Investors Services, LLC, Member FINRA and SIPC; OppenheimerFunds, Inc.; and The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB.
1 The dividend and dividend interest rate (DIR) are determined annually, subject to change and are not guaranteed. Dividends for eligible participating life insurance policies primarily consist of investment, mortality and expense components. The DIR is used to determine the investment component of the dividend. It is not the rate of return on the policy and should not be the sole basis for comparing insurers or policy performance.
2 Financial strength ratings for MassMutual and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company are as follows: A.M. Best Company, A++ (Superior); Fitch Ratings, AA+ (Exceptionally Strong); Moody's Investors Service, Aa2 (Excellent); and Standard & Poor's, AA+ (Very Strong). Ratings are as of November 1, 2015, and are subject to change.
3 Sales are classified as weighted sales, which are based on weighted annualized new premium, with single premium payments weighted at 10 percent.
4Access to cash values through borrowing or partial surrenders will reduce the policy's cash value and death benefit, increase the chance the policy will lapse, and may result in a tax liability if the policy terminates before the death of the insured.