A number of large insurance companies have signaled plans to sell more
But New York Life Insurance Co., the nation's fifth-largest life
Sy Sternberg, chairman and chief executive officer, said New York Life
And though insurers such as Travelers, John Hancock, Nationwide, and
"Sometimes you want to go in the opposite direction of the herd," he
In a speech at a recent insurance industry conference, Mr. Sternberg
Though life insurance executives are courting banks like never before,
"I think they can do term insurance well, because it's a transaction-
"Banks operate more on a transaction than on a relationship basis."
By contrast, Mr. Sternberg said, life insurance agents have the skills
Mr. Sternberg called his company's agency system a "long-term
"We have the ability to control them, compared to the brokerage world.
Though other companies are trying to sell through various channels, Mr.
"How do you introduce supplemental distribution without offending the
But consumers are changing the way they choose insurance and other
Many financial services companies are experimenting with the Internet
"I disagree with that philosophy that New York Life has," said Glen
"If they have a lot invested in their agency force, the have to defend
But insurance experts empathize with Mr. Sternberg's position.
It can cost up to $150,000 to train an agent, and Mr. Sternberg does not
"Given this company's investment in the agency system, if I were him, I
Steven M. Landberg, the head of the insurance practice at Sibson & Co.,
Mr. Landberg, Mr. Scheid, and others said New York Life will have no
The company is experimenting with direct-mail marketing to members of