America’s largest mutual life insurer announced strong gains in sales of life insurance, income annuities, long-term care insurance, and mutual funds, as well as an increase in the field force for the first six months of 2010.

New York Life Insurance Co. reports that its individual life insurance sales increased 47% through June, compared to an all-time record for sales in the first six months of 2009. This growth is largely being driven by increased sales of both permanent insurance and term products, including the company’s custom whole life product, a form of whole life that allows consumers to choose how long they pay premiums.

“Our sales growth is being driven by the agent force of more than 11,500 financial representatives in communities across the country, with first-half life insurance sales through agents up 38% over the 2009 period*,” said Mark Pfaff, EVP in charge of U.S. Life and Agency. As a result, the company continues to gain market share, which now exceeds 9% of the total U.S. life insurance market.”

New York Life clients are utilizing whole life insurance for the death benefit it provides, as well as the living benefits afforded by the product¹s cash value, which help consumers meet retirement, education or other cash needs. And not only are sales of life insurance increasing: Policyholders also are placing more money into existing policies to build additional guaranteed cash value for future needs.

The company also reports a new six-month record for income annuity sales, long-term care insurance sales rise 10%.

“Reputation is key in the long-term care area, and New York Life has worked hard to avoid rate increases while offering policyholders a dividend, sending the message that our prudent approach to managing policyholder funds remains a top priority,” said Mike Gallo, SVP, Long-Term Care Insurance.

“The strong sales growth in the first half of 2010 is evidence that consumers recognize that New York Life’s mutual structure keeps us uniquely aligned with our policyholders and makes us the company of choice for including long-term care insurance in a well-designed, comprehensive retirement plan that can help preserve a legacy and protect income.”

The insurer’s mutual fund sales increased 55% in first six months, reports New York Life. Sales of New York Life’s mutual funds (MainStay Funds) totaled more than $5 billion in the first half of the year, with strong performances from third-party channels accounting for more than $4 billion of the total. First-half net sales of $2.3 billion are on a record pace for the year.

*New York Life counts agency insurance sales of single premiums at 50%.

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