MetLife Incorporated is the main corporation that Metropolitan Life Insurance Company works under. Better known as MetLife, using the cartoon characters of Snoopy and Charlie Brown in TV commercials as created by the late cartoonist, Charles Shultz, the life insurance branch operates as a subsidiary company underneath the overall holding company of MetLife, Inc. Today the company has grown so large with all its subsidiaries included that MetLife Holding represents the world's largest organization providing insurance products. At last count, the company was reputed to have more than 90 million customers around the world. And all of this growth has happened since the company was first started in 1868.
Originally, MetLife operated as a stock life insurance company until 1915 when it mutualized. For almost one hundred years, the company did not operate on the public market after that date until 2000, when it first issued its public stock to external stakeholders. Today, MetLife operates in six of the world's contintent regions, operating as a leading insurance provider in all areas of business presence. For example, in the U.S. MetLife is the largest provider of life insurance policies, hitting position rank 90 in the Fortune 500.
Ironically, MetLife went through a process of demutualization in 1998, reversing the direction the company had taken almost 85 years before. Doing so allowed MetLife to go public and gain further investment leverage from public institutional investment brokerages and related stock sales in the initial purchase offering. Ironically, a share of stock in MetLife sold for a inexpensive $15 per share at the time. Today the company's stock now sells for $33 per share, a doubling of value since the original issuance.
In 2005 MetLife purchased a famous competitor, Travelers Life & Annuity, as well as the entire international insurance branch of Citigroup. This move greatly expanded MetLife's reach in both areas of the insurance market, boosting the company to the top life insurance issuer in the U.S. Since that time, MetLife has considered and engaged in purchasing other life insurance companies, adding to its portfolio thousands of accounts and policies each time. It was not until 2012 that MetLife began to stream off some branches of its business, dropping a mortgage servicing business to JP Morgan Chase. Part of this disassociation was due to a penalty by the Federal Reserve on how MetLife handled its mortgage business.