The Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company (CM) was founded in 1846. It was headquartered in Hartford by a group of businessmen led by Eliphalet Bulkeley. The company was the first life insurance company in history to be chartered in Connecticut. CM became one of the leading life insurance companies in the United States.
Connecticut Mutual’s early years were marked by steady growth. The company issued its first policy in 1847. By 1850 it had over 1,000 policyholders. CM continued to grow throughout the 19th century. At the turn of the century it was one of the largest life insurance companies in the country.
In the early 20th century, Connecticut Mutual faced a number of challenges. They included the Great Depression and World Wars I and II. However, the company weathered these challenges and emerged stronger than ever. In the postwar years, CM continued to grow and expand its product offerings. In 1959, the company introduced the first variable life insurance policy. Now policyholders had the opportunity to invest their premiums in a variety of mutual funds.
Recognition for Quality
Connecticut Mutual continued to prosper throughout the 20th century. Rating companies, such as A. M. Best, consistently ranked CM at or near the top of its lists of life insurance companies that provided the greatest return to policyholders for premiums paid. Connecticut Mutual was now in a rarified group of carriers that also had similar track records. They included Northwestern Mutual, New York Life, Guardian, Penn Mutual, and MassMutual.
Connecticut Mutual had been a strong supporter of its communities. It donated millions of dollars to local charities and organizations. CM was a proud member of the Hartford community.
Here are some of the key milestones in the history of Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company:
1846: The company begins in Hartford, Connecticut.
1850: CM issues its first policy.
1870: The company opens its first branch office outside of Connecticut.
1900: Connecticut Mutual has over 1 million policyholders.
1959: The company introduces the first variable life insurance policy.
1995: Connecticut Mutual merges with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company to form MassMutual Financial Group.
Today, MassMutual is one of the largest life insurance companies in the world. It has over 1.5 million policyholders and over $300 billion in assets. As part of the 1995 merger, Connecticut Mutual changed over to a stock company as a new subsidiary of MassMutual. This subsidiary is named CM Life.
The Wave of Demutualization
Up until the merger, Connecticut Mutual resisted an industry trend to demutualize. There were a number of factors that contributed to demutualization. Some of the most important factors included:
Increased competition: The insurance industry was becoming increasingly competitive in the late 20th century, as new companies entered the market and existing companies expanded their product offerings. Mutual companies were at a disadvantage in this competitive environment, as they were unable to raise capital through stock sales.
Changes in the regulatory environment: The regulatory environment for insurance companies was also changing in the late 20th century. These changes made it more difficult for mutual companies to operate efficiently and effectively.
The desire for shareholder value: Many believed that demutualization would create shareholder value. By converting to a stock company, mutual companies would be able to raise capital through stock sales. Thus, a wave of demutualizations occurred in the insurance industry. Between 1990 and 2000, over 100 mutual insurance companies demutualized. These had a significant impact on the insurance industry, as they led to increased competition and shareholder value.
Here are some of the changes in the regulatory environment that made it more difficult for mutual companies to operate efficiently and effectively:
Increased capital requirements: In the late 20th century, regulators began to require insurance companies to hold more capital. This was part of an effort to protect policyholders in the event of an insurance company failure. The increased capital requirements made it more difficult for mutual companies to raise capital, as they were unable to sell stock.
Increased regulation of investment activities: In the late 20th century, regulators began to increase the regulation of insurance company investment activities. This was an effort to protect policyholders from investment losses. The increased regulation of investment activities made it more difficult for mutual companies to invest their policyholders’ money effectively.
Increased regulation of marketing activities: In the late 20th century, regulators began to increase the regulation of insurance company marketing activities. They did this to protect consumers from deceptive and unfair marketing practices.
Mutual vs. Stock Companies
The increased regulation of marketing activities made it more difficult for mutual companies to market their products effectively. They made it more difficult for mutual companies to operate. As a result, many mutual companies decided to demutualize in order to raise capital and operate under a less restrictive regulatory environment. Here are reasons why regulators were harder on mutual companies that on stock companies in terms of regulation:
Mutual companies were seen as having a conflict of interest: Mutual companies are owned by their policyholders. This means that they have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of their policyholders. However, regulators were concerned that mutual companies might make decisions that were not in the best interests of their policyholders. They might instead act in the best interests of the company’s management. For example, regulators were concerned that mutual companies might pay excessive salaries to their executives. They also might invest their policyholders’ money in risky investments.
Mutual companies were seen as being less transparent: Mutual companies are not required to disclose as much information to the public as stock companies. This made it difficult for regulators to make sure mutual companies were operating in a safe and sound manner.
Mutual companies were seen as being less accountable: Mutual companies are not required to have a board of directors, which means that they are not subject to the same level of scrutiny as stock companies. This made it difficult for regulators to hold mutual companies accountable for their actions.
Regulators were harder on mutual companies that on stock companies in terms of regulation. This made it more difficult for mutual companies to operate efficiently and effectively. It contributed to the wave of demutualizations that occurred in the insurance industry in the late 20th century.
- Year Started: 1846
- Year Ended: 1995
- Origin Of Name: Generic Descriptive
- Location Sales: United States
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: MassMutual
- Owner Original: Mutual Company
- Owner While In Use: Mutual Company
- Owner Successor: N/A
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: MassMutual
- Naics Code: 524113
- Location Headquarters: Hartford, Connecticut USA