Our insurance bad faith attorneys represent individuals and families in claims against a number of insurance companies including MetLife. If you feel that your insurance claim was unfairly denied or delayed, you should speak with an attorney about filing a claim. Our lawyers are available to investigate possible lawsuits on behalf of individuals nationwide. To schedule a consultation, contact us today.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company: History

As one of the largest life insurance companies in the world today, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company began business during the Civil War on March 24, 1868 as the National Union Life and Limb Insurance Company. It insured sailors and soldiers against disabilities caused by wounds, accidents and sickness suffered during the war. The company was founded by a number of New York City businessmen who established the firm with $100,000.

On March 24, 1868, the company name changed to Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, reflecting a new direction towards life insurance and away from disability insurance. In the 1870s, a deep depression forced the company to shrink its business, reaching its nadir late in the decade.

Using the British Model

In 1879, the company began to model its business after the insurance industry in Britain where "industrial" or "workingmen's insurance programs were flourishing. Insurance agents, who collected premiums either every week or every month at the policyholders' homes, came to know their clients well. The approach was so successful that by 1880, sales topped $250,000. This brought in almost $1 million in revenue from premiums.

By 1909, Metropolitan Life was the country's largest insurer, based on the total value of life insurance policies issued. Two years earlier, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower was built. It was the company's headquarters in Lower Manhattan. It also was the world's tallest building until 1913 and was the firm's headquarters until 2005. By 1930, the company "insured every fifth man, woman, and child in the United States and Canada."

MetLife's Welfare Division was established in 1909 when company vice president Haley Fiske declared that insurance should be not only a business, it should be a social program. The company undertook a campaign to combat tuberculosis, the "white plague responsible for 20 percent of all death claims." The company began to distribute brochures on preventing the disease. This was the first of many health care and disease prevention brochures the company would send out.

In the 1930s, the company began to diversify, reducing individual mortgages and increasing the sale of public utility bonds, investments in government securities, and loans for commercial real estate. Metropolitan Life also funded the building of the Empire State Building in 1929 and Rockefeller Center in 1931.

World War II

During the Second World War, more than half of the company's total assets were invested in war bonds. It was the largest single private contributor to the Allied cause. After World War II, the company moved into suburban markets. By 1979, it divided its effort among four major groups:

  • Group insurance
  • Personal insurance
  • Pensions
  • Investments

The company began selling group insurance to companies and employers.

MetLife Today

MetLife's board of directors authorized "demutualization" in 1998. In April 2000, the company had an initial public offering. It sold 202,000,000 shares for $14.25 a share. At the time of the IPO, MetLife had 9 million shareholders and was the most widely held stock in the U.S.

In 2001, the company became the first insurance company to form a financial holding company with a nationally chartered bank by buying Grand Bank, which became MetLife Bank. Just after the 2001 terrorist attacks, the company invested $1 billion in the U.S. stock market.

After numerous acquisitions reaching into the billions of dollars, the company bought Travelers Life & Annuity and essentially all of Citigroup's international insurance businesses for $12 billion. This deal made MetLife the largest individual life insurer, based on sales, in North America.

Other purchases included buying First Horizon National Corporation, the home loan unit of First Tennessee Bank National Association (outside of Tennessee), the reverse mortgage division of Everbank Financial Corp., Gen America, and American Life Insurance Company. The latter purchase expanded MetLife's life insurance and employee benefits business into over 60 countries, up from the 17 nations it held before the acquisition.

MetLife's Products

MetLife's main insurance products are:

  • Life insurance, including term life and permanent life insurance, which include whole life, universal life, variable life, and various forms of group life insurance.
  • Dental insurance, which offers PPO and HMO plans.
  • Disability insurance for both individuals and for group plans servicing employees or associations. Disability plans include short term-disability and long-term disability. Its absence management program, tailored for companies with over 1,000 employees, helps managers to track and manage planned and unplanned employee absences.

Annuities are also sold by MetLife. As one of the world's largest supplier of annuities, the company had more than $22.4 billion in sales during 2009. The types of annuities it offers include:

  • Fixed annuities
  • Variable annuities
  • Deferred annuities
  • Immediate annuities

By the end of 2009, the company managed assets of group annuities worth over $60 billion worldwide. It offered benefit payments to more than 600,000 persons each month.

Auto and Home Insurance

The company has nine affiliate types of personal insurance. Also sold are policies covering RVs, ATVs, boats, mobile homes, collectible vehicles and motorcycles.

Other Products

The company sells critical illness insurance and financial planning services, including retirement planning, wealth management, 529 Plans, banking and commercial and residential mortgage planning.

MetLife sells its products in Latin America, Europe, Asia's Pacific region, the Middle East, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Chile, and India.

Fined for Unsound Practices

In August 2012, MetLife was charged by the Federal Reserve for using unsafe and unsound practices in how it dealt with its mortgage servicing and foreclosure operations. The company was fined $3.2 million.

Bad Faith Practices

When an insurance company fails to meet the standards regarding "good faith" dealings in insurance policies, it can be charged with engaging in bad faith practices. Our attorneys represent individuals in bad faith claims against a number of insurance companies including MetLife. Examples of bad faith include:

  • Denying a claim without conducting a proper investigation
  • Unrightfully delaying payment of a claim
  • Misrepresentation of the contract
  • Denial of payment on a covered claim

If you feel that MetLife wrongfully delayed payment of or denied payment of a claim, we can help you. Our lawyers have stood up to the largest insurance companies and are equipped with the knowledge, skills and resources to take on any case involving bad faith. To find out if you have a claim, contact us today.

Be assured your matters will be in experienced & caring hands.