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MUTUAL OF NEW YORK CELEBRATES ITS 150TH ANNIVERSARY; SALE OF FIRST MUTUAL POLICY A LIFE INSURANCE INDUSTRY MILESTONE

 /ADVANCE/ NEW YORK, Jan. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Mutual Of New York (MONY) celebrates its 150th anniversary Monday (Feb. 1), marking the date in 1843 when it sold the first mutual life insurance policy issued by a U.S. company.
 On Feb. 1, 1843, Thomas Ayres, a New York City stock broker and one of the company's first 11 sales agents, won the honor of having the company's first policy issued in his name.
 Over the course of the next 150 years, MONY pioneered many innovations in the life insurance industry. It was the first company to insure the life of a woman, the first to insure a member of the military, the first to establish a career sales agency system, and the first mutual life insurer to pay a dividend.
 Mutual Of New York became the first mutual life insurer to invest its clients' premiums with the purchase of New York Water Loan bonds (paying 6 percent interest) in 1843 and the first to insure the life of a reigning monarch, King Kalakaua of Hawaii.
 "It's hard to imagine a time in the past five generations of Americans when life insurance was not an important part of how we planned for the future of our families and businesses," said MONY President and CEO Michael I. Roth. "Thanks to the spirit and dedication of our company's founders and first agents, the people of the United States have a means of protecting their families and their hopes and dreams for the future."
 In 1843, when the first policy was sold, the mutual life insurance concept, in which policyholders received a share of ownership in their insurance company, was well-established in England, but virtually unknown in the United States. Two entrepreneurs, Morris Robinson and Alfred Pell, obtained a charter for the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York from the New York State Legislature in 1842.
 MONY appointed its first 11 agents in December 1842. Within six weeks, they had secured subscriptions for $1 million of life insurance, enough for the company to issue its first policies. Because life insurance was a revolutionary concept at the time, the first agents found themselves selling an idea as much as the protective benefits of a policy.
 They also faced a number of obstacles, including the opposition of religious groups that believed life insurance implied a distrust in divine providence.
 But over the years, the mutual concept was embraced and supported by a number of notable policyholders and MONY trustees. The company's policyholders included Thomas Edison, U.S. Presidents Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, and William Howard Taft; Louisiana Governor Huey Long, Mary Pickford, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Will Rogers, William Seward, and Ezra Cornell, founder of Cornell University.
 It has counted among its trustees Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, three U.S. Presidents, a Supreme Court Justice, several U.S. cabinet secretaries, two governors of New York, and one of the founders of the New York Stock Exchange.
 Today, life insurance is considered a key component of personal financial portfolios and is a benefit offered routinely to millions of American workers. More than 156 million Americans are life insurance policyholders, including nine out of every 10 married couples.
 From its founders and first 11 agents, MONY has grown to a company of 3,400 employees and 3,400 field underwriters who serve more than 1 million clients across the country.
 Since 1842, Mutual Of New York has been headquartered in New York City. MONY's World Headquarters on Broadway is a West Side landmark whose "weather star" changes color to provide a weather forecast for visitors to midtown Manhattan.
 The company also has marketing and operations centers in Teaneck, N.J., Purchase, N.Y., and Syracuse, N.Y.
 Through field underwriters located in more than 80 key cities across the United States, MONY offers individuals, families, executives, and small business owners traditional term and whole life insurance, disability income protection, annuities, and a variety of investment options including the Enterprise Group of Mutual Funds through MONY Securities Corp. The company also offers 401(k) plans and group pension products and services.
 -0- 2/1/93
 /CONTACT: Tom Healey, 212-708-2492, or Charles Wasilewski, 212-708-2472, both of MONY/


CO: The Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York ST: New York IN: INS SU:

GK-OS -- NY001 -- 1089 01/31/93 12:00 EST
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