The nation’s largest African American-owned, privately-held stock insurance company and one of the nation’s foremost insurance groups have formed a strategic alliance, and it spells success.
In early July, Atlanta Life Investment Advisors and MetLife came to an agreement whereby ALIA would manage $50 million of MetLife’s assets. Ronald D. Brown, CEO and president of Atlanta Life Financial Group (No. 3 on the BE INSURANCE COMPANIES list with $99.7 million in assets), said that “MetLife is saying, ‘Make it grow for us.’” ALIA is distributing the assets among their investment products as follows: $20 million in Large Cap US Growth Equity, $20 million in Large Cap US Value Equity, and $10 million in Large Cap Core International Equity.
“What you see here is a classic example of minority firms and majority firms working together to the economic betterment of both firms,” says Brown. “Both MetLife and Atlanta Life have made money because of the partnership. So we have gotten MetLife into places that they could not have gotten into on their own and vice versa.”
Presley Surratt, senior vice president of MetLife, agrees. “There’s been nothing but progress with respect to the partnership over the past three or four years, and it’s our intention to grow it.”
The partnership with MetLife nearly doubled ALIA’s assets under management from $67 million to $117 million. Atlanta Life’s total assets are well over $200 million. Combined, MetLife and Atlanta Life cover more than 800,000 employees at various companies and have more than $4 billion of insurance in force.
The relationship between Atlanta Life and MetLife began in 2002 as a result of meetings through the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition’s Wall Street and Peachtree Street projects, where minority- and nonminority-owned businesses partner to assist one another. The CEOs of Atlanta Life and MetLife got together and decided to partner through asset management.
“Several capable financial institutions were locked out of those opportunities,” says Brown. “The Wall Street and Peachtree Street projects opened up doors where there was limited opportunity for minority organizations.”
Surratt says MetLife’s partnership with Atlanta Life is “one of our strongest partnerships and the partnership that we hope to grow and explore new venues with.”
Atlanta Life, started by a former slave, will celebrate its 100-year anniversary next year.