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Former MetLife CEO Kandarian tops life insurer pay list for '18

Top executives at three publicly traded U.S. life insurers earned more than $15 million in total compensation in 2018.

Steven Kandarian, formerly of MetLife Inc., was the highest-paid CEO of a public U.S. life insurer in 2018. He earned $16.8 million in total compensation, an increase of nearly 20% compared to the prior year. Kandarian received $5.5 million in nonequity incentive plan compensation, $2.5 million more than in 2017.

Kandarian retired as MetLife's CEO on April 30 and has since been succeeded by Michel Khalaf.

The second-highest-paid CEO in the group, Brighthouse Financial Inc.'s Eric Steigerwalt, saw a substantial year-over-year increase in compensation in 2018. His total compensation jumped 687.9%, largely due to the $10.6 million he received in restrictive stock grants in 2018. No stock grants were awarded to him the previous year.

Aflac Inc.'s Daniel Amos also earned at least $15 million in 2018, but his compensation fell yet again. He received total compensation of $15.4 million in 2018, down 6.0% compared to the prior year.

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