After several years of working together on many large-market opportunities, MetLife and Atlanta Life expanded their relationship in 2002 by forming a reinsurance alliance to provide group life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance to employees of companies with specific diversity goals or business requirements. This alliance provides a model for how majority and African-American insurance carriers can work together to leverage their collective capabilities in the marketplace.

How would you describe the MetLife/Atlanta Life Partnership?

While MetLife is the leading group life insurance company in the industry, there are certain markets — most notably state entities and municipalities — where traditionally we have not achieved our desired level of success. Atlanta Life, prior to our partnership, also had difficulties growing business in certain markets where MetLife historically has been a strong leader. The partnership has paved the way for both MetLife and Atlanta Life to add a number of new clients, through penetration of previously untapped markets for both companies.

In addition, the partnership has truly proven to be a win-win for both companies and their clients. As a result of creating and developing our partnership with Atlanta Life, we have been able to prove how valuable diversity is to both of our businesses. In fact, diversity is one of the core elements that will shape MetLife’s future business performance, customer relationships and corporate reputation.

In your opinion, to what do you credit those new cases between the two companies?

The primary factor is trust. Since Atlanta Life has strong and deep relationships with certain groups such as governmental municipalities and companies that specialize in serving minority markets, they trust Atlanta Life. MetLife is also a company that is trusted as one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the U.S. for more than 135 years. Our partnership with Atlanta Life gives the potential client assurance that MetLife will provide the products and level of service that clients want and need and, at the same time, since we are sharing some of the risk with Atlanta Life, we can help the client achieve their diversity objectives. MetLife and Atlanta Life work closely together to show prospects that we share their commitment to diversity and present the ideal partnership for them.

What trends do you see in the reinsurance industry?

There has been a pull back and price increase in the reinsurance industry for businesses that are concentrated in few prime locations or that have a small number of companies and individuals they insure. However, there is increased recognition that doing business with minority-owned firms is good business, and this gives companies like MetLife a competitive advantage in the workforce, workplace and the marketplace. MetLife and Atlanta Life avoid the more problematic trends by sharing a portion of the risk of each client’s group life insurance.

How does the partnership work, and what are the benefits of working with Atlanta Life?

Often, the specific portion of the group life market segment we have been discussing is a bid-driven business. When these entities market their business, often 10 or 15 companies will respond. It is very important that the offer that companies such as MetLife and Atlanta Life put on the table is competitive both in terms of price and, very importantly, how they will service the business. Therefore, our companies work together to make sure that all these aspects are covered. To date, we have been quite successful in conveying to potential clients that we are the partnership with which to do business.

What are the benefits of working with Atlanta Life?

From MetLife’s perspective, there are numerous benefits in working with Atlanta Life. By getting to know Atlanta Life, it has helped us to better understand certain markets, markets that we are now more successful in than ever before. There is also tremendous untapped opportunity for MetLife and Atlanta Life to explore new markets and create new approaches for both minority businesses and, for that matter, any company or entity that has a solid commitment to diversity. The partnership provides ways for MetLife to gain entry into businesses with which it previously had not developed strong relationships and for Atlanta Life to grow in financial stature and expertise. With executives from both companies learning from each other, both companies have an opportunity to win in the marketplaces that are vibrant and growing.

What are some of the highlights/milestones of the partnership?

Since we have heightened our commitment to work with Atlanta Life, we have been awarded business from Amtrak, Miami Dade County, the State of Montana and the University of Georgia. We believe this is a terrific achievement in a short period of time and is just a glimpse of the future success of this partnership.

When did MetLife and Atlanta Life forge their partnership?

Our relationship began over ten years ago. Today, Atlanta Life representatives are visiting nearly all the group offices of MetLife to make sure that the Atlanta Life/MetLife relationship is top of mind.

How many employees are served through the MetLife/Atlanta Life Partnership?

Almost 800,000 employees and retirees are covered by the partnership.

How much insurance is in force through the MetLife/Atlanta Life Partnership?

Over $4.3 billion.

What are some of the issues that corporations and carriers face in the group insurance market?

Increasingly corporations are pulling back from offering employer-paid benefits and offering benefits where the employee pays all or most of the cost. With this trend comes a detailed level of record keeping and Web requirements in order to ensure that HR administrators are providing employees with the right information so that they can both review and enroll in their benefits as well as make administrative updates and changes throughout the year. Today, companies must make significant investments in online capabilities to provide self-service platforms. At MetLife, we are committed to the online benefits experience, and are well into an ongoing effort to make sure that we are continually providing state-of-the-art capabilities to our clients and their employees.

What are some of the challenges in serving your corporate group clients?

MetLife counts among its group customers many of the largest companies in the world, including 88 of the Fortune 100. These blue-chip companies are a sophisticated and demanding client base. Clients rely on MetLife for benefits, funding and administrative solutions that allow them to solve their complex business demands. Our deep relationships with our largest clients, which span an average of 22 years per client, require us to know the many intricacies of our clients’ businesses. In fact, these relationships are highly sought after by our competitors; which is just one reason why MetLife places such a high importance on not just meeting, but anticipating our clients’ needs. At the same time, we carefully manage our expenses and improve our efficiency in delivering benefits to them.

The biggest challenge is that corporations are now more than ever focused on the bottom line. At times, as potential clients choose their business partners, price alone can influence a decision — often significantly more than the carrier’s capability to service the business. The present life insurance market is more competitive than ever. What that means is that you must have the underwriting and pricing expertise to ensure that when you submit a quote on the business, you get it right.

MetLife has the largest block of group life insurance business in the country and that was achieved through underwriting, superior products and service expertise. We are continually improving our capabilities in this area to ensure that our expertise is second to none. This benefits both MetLife and Atlanta Life.

Who are the corporations served through the partnership?

  • United Airlines
  • MetLife
  • Dow Chemical
  • Rockwell Automation
  • General Motors
  • Georgia Pacific
  • U.S. Steel
  • Johnson Controls, Inc.
  • American Airlines


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