John Hancock is certainly one of the best life insurance companies in the U.S. and continues to lead the way in innovation with the John Hancock Vitality Program. In this John Hancock review we will take a closer look at the various life insurance policies offered, as well as the Company’s history, financials and ratings. Our goal is to help you decide if John Hancock is the right fit for you, based on your unique goals and objectives.
Review of John Hancock Life Insurance Company
Before we take a deep dive into the different life insurance coverage John Hancock offers, let’s first learn a little more about the company and its history.
About John Hancock
John Hancock was founded over 156 years ago in 1862. The Company’s headquarters is located in Boston, MA. In 2004, John Hancock was acquired by Manulife Financial.
Originally, the company was known as John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, but later demutualized to become a stock company in the year 2000. As an article in the NY Times states,
The decision by John Hancock, which was founded in Boston during the Civil War, follows similar action by the Prudential Insurance Company of America and several other smaller companies. All were originally structured as mutuals, or cooperatives owned by policyholders, and all converted or plan to convert to companies that issue stock sold to investors. (1)
For 2017, US Life insurance sales were $464 million. This represents an 11% increase over 2016. (2)
Two innovative approaches that John Hancock uses are its Vitality program and Express Track underwriting.
John Hancock Vitality
The John Hancock Vitality Program helps its clients save money on life insurance. The program offers savings and rewards in return for certain healthy lifestyle habits.(3)
Once your life insurance policy is placed in force, you can visit the Vitality site and fill out some information about your current health and lifestyle. The Vitality program offers goals and tips on how to reach those specific health goals.
A free Fitbit® is included, along with advice on how to stay fit and eat healthy.
The Vitality site also offers free courses to grow deeper in your understanding of healthy living topics.
The more engaged you are and the more goals you accomplish, the more Vitality points you will earn, increasing your status from bronze, silver, gold and platinum, which can earn you up to 15% premium savings in the following year based on the Vitality status you earned.
Finally, additional benefits of the Vitality program include discounts and rewards from various companies, such as CVS, Amazon, Hyatt, REI, iTunes, Seabourn, Royal Caribbean and more.
John Hancock Express Track
Express Track is an automated accelerated underwriting life insurance program that does not require an in-person medical screening (i.e. no exam life insurance). For qualifying applicants, your policy can be issued fast, with some underwriting decisions made in as little as three days.
The Express Track program is available for applicants ages 18 – 60, for face amounts up to $1,000,000 on single life policies, including those with a long-term care rider.
John Hancock Life Insurance Company Ratings
John Hancock is a top rated life insurance company, earning close to the highest ratings from each of the ratings agencies.
John Hancock Ratings as of April 2018:
- A.M. Best rating: A+
- Fitch rating: AA-
- Moody’s Investor Service rating: A1
- Standard and Poor’s rating: AA-
- Comdex Ranking: 93
As at February 2, 2018, S&P, Moody’s, Fitch, and A.M. Best had a stable outlook on these ratings.
John Hancock Life Insurance Policies
Many financial pundits lump life insurance into term vs whole life, the reality is the life insurance market is much more nuanced. John Hancock Life Insurance Company offers four types of life insurance coverage, term, whole, universal and variable.
Benefits of Term Life Insurance
- Lower Premiums Initially
- Income Replacement
- Mortgage Loan Protection
Benefits of Permanent Life Insurance
- Tax Benefits
- Tax Deferred Cash Value Growth
- Tax Free Death Benefit
- Business Continuation and Succession
- Buy Sell Agreements
- Key Man Insurance
- Corporate Incentives
- Executive Bonus (Section 162) Plans
- Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans
- Split Dollar Life Insurance
- Estate Planning
- Estate Preservation
- Legacy Creation
- Wealth Building
- Infinite Banking
John Hancock Life Insurance Policies [Plans and Features]
Term Life Insurance
John Hancock Term with Vitality provides convertible term life insurance coverage. Term life durations include 10, 15 or 20 year term lengths.
In addition, the term life policy offers additional riders such as:
- Total Disability Waiver
- Accelerated Benefit
- Conversion Extension
Permanent Life Insurance
John Hancock Life Insurance Company offers some of the best cash value life insurance, including universal, indexed universal life and variable universal life insurance coverage. John Hancock no longer offers whole life insurance, although it does maintain a book of active in force participating policies.
The main difference between universal life vs whole life is that universal life insurance offers more flexibility. With most universal life policies, the premium payments can be increased or decreased and the death benefit can be increased or decreased.
John Hancock is one of the top universal life insurance companies, particularly when it comes to the Accumulation IUL insurance policy, which will will provide a more in depth review of below.
John Hancock has two different UL policies, Protection UL and UL-G. Both are focused more on guaranteed death benefit protection. The policies are a good choice when it comes to guaranteed universal life, which focuses on life insurance plans with a long -term horizon, such as for estate planning and business succession planning, where cash value accumulation is not the primary focus.
For those looking for a product more focused on maximizing cash value growth, John Hancock’s IUL insurance is a better option.
Accumulation IUL with Vitality
John Hancock really knocks it out of the park with the company’s indexed universal life insurance product.
As with most IUL policies, the primary benefit of IUL insurance is the early cash value growth, and the Accumulation IUL ranks as one of the best in class, competing with only Pacific Life and Lincoln National in terms of overall performance.
And since the Accumulation IUL is also part of the Vitality Program, qualifying policyholders can earn rewards, such as more income earned by staying healthy.
The Accumulation IUL uses the S&P 500 as its index. Interest credited to your IUL insurance policy are based in part upon the performance of the underlying index.
You can choose two different death benefit options. Option 1 provides for a level death benefit (plus ROP if elected). Option 2 provides total face amount plus policy value (no available with ROP).
The Accumulation IUL offers the following interest crediting options:
- Fixed Account (2% interest guarantee)
- High Par Capped Indexed Account (0% floor)
- Capped Indexed Account (0% floor)
- Uncapped Indexed Account (0% floor)
The Accumulation IUL offers several different riders, such as an Accelerated Benefit Rider, Long-Term Care Rider, Overloan Protection Rider, Waiver of Monthly Deduction and Return of Premium.
Long-Term Care Rider:
The long-term care rider allows you the ability to access funds from the policy’s death benefit for qualifying long-term care services.
The Maximum Monthly Benefit Amount is based on 1%, 2% or 4% of the accelerated benefit amount that you choose upon policy issue.
Variable Life Insurance
John Hancock offers two different variable universal life insurance policies, Protection VUL and Accumulation VUL. As the name implies, one is focused on death benefit protection while the other is focused on cash value accumulation.
Survivorship Life Insurance
As with the other types of life insurance offered by John Hancock, the company’s survivorship life insurance is available as either a product focused on protection or accumulation.
John Hancock has 4 different survivorship policies, including survivorship universal life as well as survivorship variable universal life.
Additional Benefits of Permanent Life Insurance
When most people hear the word “life insurance” they think of a death benefit. However, the death benefit is only one of the many life insurance benefits that you should be aware of. Benefits such as:
Tax free life insurance policy loans
Tax free life insurance loans are available. You can borrow directly from the insurance company. Another option is to borrow from a local bank using your cash value as collateral that might provide more favorable terms on your loan, increasing your potential for positive arbitrage.
Tax deferred cash value growth
IRC 7702 governs cash value life insurance, and under the code, cash value accumulation grows tax deferred. And if you utilize the policy correctly you will never need to pay taxes on the cash value growth.
Tax free death benefit
The death benefit from life insurance is not taxable in most situations. However, one way a death benefit is taxed is if your estate exceeds the federal estate tax exemption limit, which is $11.2 million in 2018.
John Hancock Life Insurance Review Conclusion
John Hancock is a fantastic life insurance provider, offering many different types of policies, unique underwriting and enhanced benefits, such as its Vitality Program. With high ratings from the different ratings agencies, John Hancock is certainly worth a long look when considering which company is going to best fit your specific needs, goals and objectives.
If you are considering permanent life insurance but have some questions or you need some additional guidance on which company and policy are the right fit for you, please give us a call today for a free strategy session.