New York Life Insurance strives to always uphold humanity at the forefront of all corporate decisions and actions.
“We’re selling something from a life insurance perspective that’s intangible,” says Frank Bocchio, chief operating officer of the company’s Long Island headquarters. “For someone to act and buy a policy, we’d call it the ultimate love letter.”
Based out of two offices in Melville, New York Life’s Long Island headquarters also has locations in Jericho, Medford and two each in Brooklyn and Flushing.
“We are, if not the largest and most successful, then one of the largest and most successful for New York Life,” Bocchio notes.
Don’t let the name fool you: New York Life has 110 sales offices nationwide with 11,000 employees. Ranked 67th by total revenue on the 2021 Fortune 500 list of the largest corporations in the United States, New York Life is now the third largest life insurance company in the United States.
Founded in New York 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 representatives with FINRA,” Bocchio explains, referring to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority that allows them to sell securities, annuities and mutual funds.
“We consider ourselves a holistic planning firm,” Bocchio says of the company’s comprehensive retirement planning strategies.
For the next 177 years, New York Life’s focus will remain the same: providing financial security to the community.
“At the end of the day, we keep doing what we do because it’s necessary. Insurance and retirement planning are not going away,” Bocho says.
Life insurance, naturally, is a sensitive issue, which New York Life counters by providing its agents, many of whom live in the community they serve, with a solid training program.
“When we hire our agents, they are considered career agents with us,” Bocchio says. “That’s why we take our training very seriously.”
Discussing people’s finances, untimely death or financial uncertainty in retirement are very sensitive topics, Bocho says, “So we have to make sure our people are very well trained to handle these types of conversations.”
It is this training program that really sets New York Life apart from other agencies.
“Our training is second to none,” Bocho says. “We have designated development managers or trainers and their job is specifically to train new agents and continue to develop our existing employees as a resource for them.”
The Long Island headquarters has an administrative and management team of 100 people and 700 insurance and financial advisors, many second- and third-generation employees and some who have 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 the people here,” Bocchio says.
To further boost morale, the Long Island General Office holds an annual black-tie gala celebrating the accomplishments of agents during the previous year. There are also barbecues at managing partner John Curry’s home in Setauket, picnics in Belmont Park and regular office events.
But ultimately, Bocho says, it all comes down to New York Life’s skilled advisors.
“Their hard work and dedication to the profession allows us to even have the success we have,” Bocho says. “Without our agents, we would not be where we are today. They are the people who built the organization and they are the people who will carry it through the next 20, 30 and 40 years.
New York Life also offers plenty of opportunities for advancement, with most people starting out as agents/advisors and moving into management positions, from development managers to recruiters, partners, or being promoted to other corporate offices. Bocchio himself worked as an agent for the company for 15 years before being promoted to his current position six years ago.
The nurturing corporate culture is evident in the many glowing comments received through Long Island Press” a confidential Top Workplaces survey of New York Life employees.
Ratings of why employees love their jobs range from “Compensation, flexibility, benefits” to “I love protecting families,” “I can be as successful as I want,” “I have unlimited room to grow,” “I’m allowed to be myself’ and ‘My work loves me’.
Thanks to an overwhelmingly positive response from staff at New York Life’s Long Island Headquarters, it has been ranked No. 1 for Big Business on Long Island for the third year in a row.