New York Life Insurance strives to always keep humanity at the forefront of all corporate decisions and actions.
“We sell something from the life insurance standpoint that is intangible,” says Frank Boccio, chief operating office of the company’s Long Island General Office. “For someone to act and purchase a policy, we would refer to it as the ultimate love letter.”
Based out of two Melville offices, New York Life’s Long Island General Office also has locations in Jericho, Medford, and two each in Brooklyn and Flushing.
“We’re, if not the largest and most successful, then one of the largest and most successful for New York Life,” notes Boccio.
Don’t let the name fool you: New York Life has 110 sales offices around the country with 11,000 employees. Ranked 67 in total revenue on Fortune 500’s 2021 list of the largest United States corporations, New York Life is now the third largest life insurance company in the United States.
Founded in New York City in 1845, New York Life offers more than life insurance.
“Life insurance is the lifeblood of what our agents do, but the majority of our agents are also registered reps with FINRA,” explains Boccio, referring to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which enables them to sell securities, annuities, and mutual funds.
“We consider ourselves to be a holistic planning firm,” Boccio says of the company’s comprehensive retirement planning strategies.
As for the next 177 years, New York Life’s focus will remain the same: bringing financial security to the community.
“At the end of the day, we continue to do what we do because it’s needed. Insurance and retirement planning don’t go away,” Boccio says.
Life insurance, naturally, is a delicate subject which New York Life counters by providing its agents, many of whom live in the community they serve, with a robust training program.
“When we hire our agents, they’re considered to be career agents with us,” says Boccio. “Because of that, we take our training very seriously.”
Discussing people’s finances, premature death, or financial insecurity in retirement are all very sensitive subjects, says Boccio, “So we need to ensure that our people are very well trained to handle these types of conversations.”
That very training program is, in fact, what sets New York Life apart from other agencies.
“Our training is second to none,” says Boccio. “We have designated development managers or trainers and their job specifically is to train new agents and continue to develop our existing officers as a resource to them.”
The Long Island General Office has a 100-person administrative and management team and 700 insurance and financial advisors, many second- and third-generation employees, and some who’ve been with the company for four and five decades.
“We have a very family-oriented culture. People really embrace it and I think it helps keep our organization together and people here,” says Boccio.
To further boost morale, the Long Island General Office holds an annual black tie gala, celebrating agents’ accomplishments during the previous year. There are also barbecues at managing partner John Curry’s Setauket home, picnics at Belmont Park, and regular in-office events.
But at the end of the day, Boccio says, everything is dependent on New York Life’s skillful advisors.
“It’s their hard work and their dedication to their profession that allows us to even have the success that we have,” Boccio says. “Without our agents, we’re not where we are today. They’re the people who built the organization and they’re the people that will take the organization into the next 20, 30, and 40 years.”
New York Life also offers plentiful opportunities for advancement, with most people starting as agent/advisors and transitioning into managerial positions, from development managers to recruiters, partners or being promoted to other corporate offices. Boccio himself, worked as an agent for the company for 15 years, before his promotion to his current post six years ago.
A nurturing corporate culture is evident in the many glowing comments obtained through the Long Island Press’ confidential Top Workplaces survey of New York Life employees.
Assessments of why employees loved their jobs ranged from “Compensation, flexibility, benefits,” to “I love protecting families,” “I can be as successful as I want,” “I have unlimited room for growth,” “I’m allowed to be my own person,” and “My job loves me.”
Due to the overwhelmingly positive response from New York Life’s Long Island General Office staff, for the third year in a row, ranks the number one large business on Long Island.