May 17, 2019

Financial Times: Life Annuity Specialist – We Dug Into Insurers’ Exec Perks, Golden Parachutes, Pay Ratios. We Found $$$

By Daphne Zhang

Once a year, publicly traded insurers come clean about how their best-paid executives are compensated. They provide a trove of fine details for everything from restricted stock units to auxiliary savings plans.

We combed through regulatory filings to find the top 10 executives, and companies, in four different categories. We looked at who got the biggest perks, who were the second-most highly compensated executives, who has the richest golden parachutes, and where is CEO pay highest relative to what average workers make.

(Note: we already looked at overall CEO compensation in this story if you missed it.)

For perks, there’s no consistent category for that per se. So we looked at the “other compensation” column. That’s where most perks, like costs covering expenses for installing home security systems or lease apartments, are found.

CEOs at MetlifeAmerican FinancialAmeriprise and Prudential received the most perks among all life insurers, according to filings with the Security and Exchange Commission.

MetLife CEO Michel Khalaf raked in over $3 million, including almost $2.9 million in “tax-related items.” Khalaf became the company’s president and CEO earlier this month after Steven Kandarian stepped down.

American Financial Group co-CEOs Carl Lindner and S. Craig Linder received around $2 million of perks in total, half of which were from personal aircraft use. The company said in its proxy filing that the board “encouraged the co-CEOs to use corporate aircraft for all travel whenever practicable for productivity, security and confidentiality reasons.”

In general, the frequent personal use of company aircraft has fallen in the last 10 years, said John Roe, head of analytics at ISS, a proxy advisory firm. Traditional perks like country club membership and other entertainment don’t pop up in filings as often as before, Roe said.

A new trend has emerged for some companies to offer a perquisite allowance, with no further disclosure of how that money was used, Roe said.

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