TIAA-CREF is the name commonly used to refer to the companion organizations TIAA and CREF.
Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) is a New York-based life insurance company, which provides products such as life insurance and retirement annuities.
College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF), which is the companion organization to TIAA, is an open-end investment company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and provides retirement annuities.
TIAA and CREF are two separate corporations. Insurance and annuity products are available through TIAA, TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company and, in some states CREF, each of which is responsible for its own financial obligation.