Although it may not have the same level of name recognition as some other life insurance companies, TIAA-CREF has a long and distinguished history.
TIAA was founded by famed philanthropist Andrew Carnegie as the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association in 1918. CREF, the College Retirement Equities Fund, came into existence in 1952. It was created in that year to introduce the world’s first variable annuity.
Together, TIAA-CREF offers consumers today a broad range of financial products.
· Life insurance
· After-tax annuities
· College savings accounts
· Retirement accounts
· Brokerage services
The company offers both term life and permanent life policies. Its plans include: level term life insurance, annual renewable term life insurance, universal life insurance and variable universal life insurance.
Unlike publicly traded firms, CREF is a non-profit entity while TIAA is stock life insurance company that pays dividends to policyholders. In addition, life insurance customers are served by a company that has received high marks for customer service and overall corporate culture.
TIAA-CREF Life was selected for a 2011 Insure.com ‘People’s Choice Award’ for customer service. In 2013, the company ranked as one of the world’s most admired companies according to Fortune.
Overall, TIAA-CREF manages approximately $502 billion in assets as it serves 3.7 active and retired individuals. It employs nearly 8,000 workers at its 80 local offices. The company headquarters are located in New York City.