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AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company

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Title: AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company  
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Subject: Flatiron Building, Arnold Orville Beckman, Tontine, List of United States insurance companies, Paul Morton, Pathmark, List of companies based in New York City, Jacob Schiff, Fred Tenney, This is Your FBI
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AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company

AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company
Type Subsidiary
Industry Insurance: Life & Health
Founded 1859
Headquarters 1290 Avenue of the Americas
New York City, United States
Key people Andrew McMahon, President
Total assets $533 billion
Parent AXA

AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, formerly The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, also known as The Equitable, was founded by Henry Baldwin Hyde in 1859. In 1991, AXA, a French insurance company, acquired majority control of The Equitable. In 2004, it officially changed its name to AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company.[1]


Equitable Building at 120 Broadway on an old postcard

Equitable Life Insurance opened its headquarters at the Equitable Life Building in 1875 near Wall Street. It had an excellent location with three entrances on Broadway (Manhattan), Pine Street, and Cedar Street. The edifice had six elevators and incomparable facilities for lawyers, who were located almost entirely in the building's upper stories. Aside from Hyde, who was president of Equitable, the firm's officers included James Waddell Alexander (Vice President), George W. Phillips (Actuary) who was Vice President of the Actuarial Society of America,[2] and Samuel Borrowe (Secretary).[3] Borrowe's family was a prominent New York family connected to the Hallett and Alsop families.[4]

James Waddell Alexander, the son of James Waddel Alexander, was the company president at the time of the Hyde costume ball scandal in 1905, in which James Hazen Hyde, the son of the founder and a vice president of the company, was falsely accused through a media smear campaign initiated by Alexander and board directors E. H. Harriman, Henry Clay Frick, J.P. Morgan of charging a fabulous $200,000 costume ball to the company. The repercussions rocked Wall Street, and resulted in an investigation of the entire insurance industry by the State of New York.

After the company's headquarters building burned down in 1912, Equitable moved to the Equitable Building at 120 Broadway in Manhattan.

In 1985, the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, then the U.S.'s third largest life insurance company, formed Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, a subsidiary used by Equitable Life to develop and finance new real estate projects and manage the US$20 billion worth of real estate under Equitable's control.[5]


  1. ^ "AXA Equitable History". AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. Retrieved February 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Obituary". New York Times: p. 7. 1898-10-01. 
  3. ^ The New Equitable Life Building, New York Times (January 22, 1875) pg. 7.
  4. ^ "Death of Samuel Borrowe". New York Times: p. 5. 1896-05-04. 
  5. ^ David LaGesse (June 14, 1984). "Equitable Life Assurance to Create Subsidiary to Manage Real Estate: Move Illustrates Drive for Diversification in Insurance Industry". American Banker. p. 1. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 

External links

  • Corporate website
  • Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States Records at Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School

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