MetLife Inc. is the biggest life insurer in the U.S. by assets. Its planned acquisition of American Life Insurance Co. is expected to propel the company into an elite club of global insurers, vastly expanding its geographical reach from its U.S. base and into Asia. MetLife companies, operating under the holding company of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., provide insurance and financial services to individual and institutional customers around the world. In addition to life insurance, offerings include annuities, automobile and homeowners insurance, group insurance, retail banking, reinsurance and retirement and savings products and services.
The company is readily known for its MetLife blimp, seemingly omnipresent at sporting events, and its beloved rep, Snoopy, the company's mascot. In 2008, the company entered talks with Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. about a merger, but the talks didn't go anywhere. Also of note is that the credit crunch has driven the firm to scale back its securities-lending business.
Recently MetLife moved to buy American Life Insurance Co. from American International Group Inc. Known as Alico, the insurer is a big seller of cancer and medical policies in Japan where it has about 200 offices, 4,600 consultants and 10,000 agents. In 2009, The Wall Street Journal named MetLife Bank President Donna DeMaio to its "The Most Powerful Women in Banking" list.