Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company

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Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company
Industry insurance
Fate dissolved
Founded 1845[1]
Defunct June 14, 2001
Headquarters Newark, New Jersey
Key people
Frederick Frelinghuysen (1848–1924)
Mutual Benefit Life Building
Mutual Benefit Life Bldg-Newark.jpg
General information
Type Office
Location 520 Broad Street
Newark, New Jersey
Completed 1957
Roof 75 m (246 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 20
Design and construction
Structural engineer George A. Fuller Company

The Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company was a life insurance company that was chartered in 1845 and based in Newark in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. The company was headed by Frederick Frelinghuysen (1848–1924).[3][4] The company was known as the "Tiffany" of insurance companies, a reference to its reputation as the life insurance company to the upper classes.

Mutual Benefit Life was taken into receivership for rehabilitation by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance on July 16, 1991, after losses in an overheated real estate market led to a run by policyholders, who ultimately lost the purported "cash value" that had been said to have accrued in their policies. At the time, the collapse was the largest ever of an American insurer. AMEV acquired the group life, accident and health insurance Mutual Benefit in 1991.[5] SunAmerica acquired the remaining divisions in 1998.[6] Effective June 14, 2001, Mutual Benefit was liquidated and dissolved.[7]

Landmark buildings[edit]

Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company
Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company is located in Essex County, New Jersey
Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company
Location 300 Broadway and 2nd St., Newark, New Jersey
Coordinates 40°45′40″N 74°10′10″W / 40.76111°N 74.16944°W / 40.76111; -74.16944Coordinates: 40°45′40″N 74°10′10″W / 40.76111°N 74.16944°W / 40.76111; -74.16944
Area 3.9 acres (1.6 ha)
Built 1925
Architect John H. & Wilson C. Ely[9]
Architectural style Other, Civic Renaissance
NRHP reference # 83004031[8]
Added to NRHP November 17, 1983

The company's original headquarters building at 300 Broadway in Newark is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The building was sold to the Archdiocese of Newark and served as home to Essex Catholic High School until 1979. The building was again sold, and today serves as a nursing home.

The company moved to larger headquarters at 520 Broad Street in 1957, a modern structure that was built in the International Style as part of the New Newark movement and centered to the north of traditional downtown at Washington Park, currently owned by IDT Corporation. [10] As of December 2012 there were plans to convert the building to residential and retail space marketed to the city's student population[11]'

The Mutual Benefit Life Building in Philadelphia is another structure associated with the firm.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ History of Mutual Benefit Life
  2. ^ Broad
  3. ^ "Frederick Frelinghuysen. Ex-President of Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company Dies". New York Times. January 2, 1924. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  4. ^ International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 3. St. James Press, 1991
  5. ^ ZONANA, VICTOR F. (1991-08-01). "Ailing Mutual Benefit Sells Off Units to AMEV". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  6. ^ "New Acquisitions By SunAmerica". The New York Times. 1998-07-16. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  7. ^ Re: Inquiry to Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company, New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, Updated December 8, 2005. Accessed May 31, 2007.
  8. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  9. ^ Lurie, Maxine N; Mappen, Marc (2004), Encyclopedia of New Jersey, Rutgers University Press, ISBN 0-8135-3325-2, John H. Ely and Wilson C. Ely formed a well- known father-and-son Newark ... were responsible for the East Orange City Hall, the Morristown Memorial Hospital.... 
  10. ^ Depalma, Anthony (January 1, 1984). "In Newark, Greening Of A Sick Park". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ De Poto, Tom (December 19, 2012). "Newark OKs early plan to revitalize the Four Corners downtown district". Retrieved 2012-12-20. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]