US financial regulators on Thursday put insurer MetLife on its list of systemically important financial institutions (SIFI) -- also known as the "too big to fail" list -- setting it up for tougher capital standards.
MetLife immediately objected to the preliminary designation by the high-level Financial Stability Oversight Council, arguing that has a record of remaining strong during the financial crisis and that, if it did fail, it would not pose a danger overall to the US financial system.
The company said it should not be restricted by rules designed for banks and not insurers.
The current regulation structure for insurers "oversees a stable industry that pays out more than $500 billion every year," it said.
"Imposing bank-centric capital rules on life insurance companies will make it more difficult for Americans to buy products that help protect their financial futures."
"In fact," it added, "MetLife has served as a source of financial strength and stability during times of economic distress, including the 2008 financial crisis."
The SIFI or too-big-to-fail designation singles out very large financial institutions which are seen as posing a danger to the stability of the US financial system if they fail.
The designation was developed after the near-collapse in 2008 of the US financial system, setting tougher capital and stability criteria for the institutions, mostly banks, under the post-crisis Dodd-France Act regulations.
MetLife, however, disagreed, saying it "is not systemically important under the Dodd-Frank Act criteria."