SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Nov. 5 Massachusetts Mutual LifeInsurance Company (MassMutual) today announced it has approved the payment ofapproximately $1.38 billion in dividends to eligible participatingpolicyholders in 2008 -- an 11.2 percent increase over the approved payout for2007 and the largest ever for the company since it was founded in 1851. Thetotal approved payout for 2008 reflects a dividend interest rate of 7.9percent on most of its eligible participating policies, the company's highestrate in five years(1).
The record 2008 dividend payout approved by MassMutual's Board ofDirectors underscores the value of the company's mutual status and thelong-term financial interests of its policyholders. The previous recordamount was the 2007 approved dividend payout of $1.25 billion.
"The record dividend payout for 2008 and increased dividend interest ratereflects how, as a 156-year-old mutual company, we remain focused on helpingour clients achieve their financial goals over the long-term," said Stuart H.Reese, chairman, president and CEO, MassMutual. "Paying competitive dividendsis a core aspect of our status as a leading mutual life insurance company.Since we are in the business of helping customers achieve long-term financialsecurity, our mutual status and long history of dividend payouts illustrateour commitment to working in the best interest of our policyholders."
Customers who purchase participating products from MassMutual receive anequitable share of a portion of the company's divisible surplus in the form ofdividends as approved by MassMutual's Board of Directors each year. Thedividends, which are not guaranteed, come primarily from three sources:investment results, mortality savings and savings on expenses. Dividends fora given policy are influenced by such factors as policy series, issue age,policy duration, policy loan rate and changes in mortality experience. Themajority of MassMutual's dividends are paid to those who have purchased wholelife insurance.
"Together with guaranteed cash values, permanent life insurance coverage,and the ability to leave a legacy for loved ones, dividends are yet anotherexample of the many benefits of whole life insurance," said William F. GlavinJr., co-chief operating officer, MassMutual, and executive vice president andhead of the company's U.S. Insurance Group. "Dividends from eligibleparticipating products provide our policyholders with flexibility and optionsas their financial needs evolve over time, and are a prime example of thebenefits of a whole life policy from a mutual company."
Nearly 1.4 million MassMutual participating policyholders will receive adividend in 2008, with 90 percent of those consisting of whole lifepolicyholders. Nearly all eligible whole life policyholders will receive a2008 dividend larger than or equal to the dividend they received in 2007.
Policyholders can use dividends from participating products such as wholelife for a wide variety of purposes. Options include receiving dividends incash, or using them to reduce premiums, purchase additional insurancecoverage, accumulate at interest in the policy, or repay policy loans andpolicy loan interest.
The 2008 approved dividend payout reflects MassMutual's continuedfinancial strength, as the company has among the highest financial strengthratings of any company in any industry. As of November 5, 2007, financialstrength ratings for MassMutual and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life InsuranceCompany and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company, were among the best in anyindustry. They are as follows: A.M. Best Company, A++ (Superior); FitchRatings, AAA (Exceptionally Strong); Moody's Investors Service, Aa1(Excellent); and Standard & Poor's, AAA (Extremely Strong). Ratings aresubject to change.
MassMutual Financial Group is the fleet name for Massachusetts Mutual LifeInsurance Company (MassMu