AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company

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.

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, and Samuel Borrowe (Secretary). Borrowe's family was a prominent New York family connected to the Hallett and Alsop families.
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.

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