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MetLife Whole Life Insurance Review

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metlife whole life insurance review

About MetLife

Popularly known as “MetLife,” the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company has been a serious player in the insurance industry for well over a century.

During the U.S. Civil War, MetLife’s ancestor company, then known as National Union Life & Limb Insurance Company, began marketing policies designed to provide protection to soldiers.

A few years later, the company changed its name and shifted its focus to life insurance.  By 1909, it was the largest life insurer in the U.S., measured by insurance in force.

Today, MetLife holds the same distinction for North America.

Though it operated as a mutual insurance company for most of its history, MetLife converted to a public, for-profit corporation at the beginning of the 21st Century.

The change allowed the company to branch out into other coverage areas and increase the compensation paid to its highest-paid officers.

Once upon a time, MetLife was one of the best dividend paying whole life insurance companies.

However, as of 2017, MetLife discontinued selling most individual life insurance policies under its own brand.

While MetLife still offers group plans, annuities and life insurance policies for individuals are no longer available directly from MetLife.

Brighthouse Financial

Much of MetLife’s former individual life insurance and annuity business is now handled through an affiliated company, Brighthouse Financial.  Along with Brighthouse, MetLife has dozens of other affiliated companies selling a wide variety of insurance products throughout the world.

MetLife Financial Ratings

A.M. Best: A+
Fitch: AA-
Moody’s: Aa3
S&P Global: AA-
Comdex Ranking: 95

MetLife is an exceptionally strong company financially.  Along with its excellent scores from all of the leading financial rating services, MetLife is firmly entrenched in the Fortune 500—coming in at number 48 in 2020.

MetLife and its combined affiliates earn nearly $70 billion in annual revenue and $6 billion in annual profits, with almost three-quarters of a trillion dollars in total assets.

Products Offered by MetLife (or a closely-related affiliate):

  • Term Life Insurance
  • Group Life Insurance (through employers)
  • Annuities
  • Auto, Boat, and Motorcycle Insurance
  • Homeowner’s and Condo Insurance
  • Renters’ Insurance
  • Vision and Dental Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Pet Insurance

MetLife Whole Life Insurance

Please note: MetLife no longer offers direct to consumer whole life insurance policies.

MetLife had many options to choose from including limited pay whole life insurance.

MetLife Whole Life Policy Options:

 

  • MetLife Promise Whole Life – This policy was designed to have premiums paid until age 100.
  • MetLife Promise Whole Life 120 – This policy was designed to be a more affordable option, stretching premium payments out another 20 years.
  • MetLife Promise Whole Life Select 10 – 10 pay policy designed to be paid up in year 10.
  • MetLife Promise Whole Life Select 20 – 20 pay policy designed to be paid up in year 20.
  • MetLife Promise Whole Life Select 65 – This policy was designed to be paid up at age 65.

MetLife’s policies were participating insurance policies, which would offer an annual dividend based on company profits.

 

Life Insurance Policies Offered by MetLife

(via Brighthouse Financial)

Brighthouse One-Year Term.

The One-Year Term policy is essentially what it sounds like.   A term policy with a year-long, nonrenewable term.

The coverage is designed to “bridge the gap” between jobs or cover extended trips.

By purchasing an optional conversion option, an applicant can extend the coverage period to five years.

Brighthouse SimplySelect (Term Life).

Brighthouse offers term coverage to new applicants from age 18 through 69 in term lengths of 10, 20, or 30 years.  Starting at age 50, the maximum term is 20 years, and applicants age 65 to 69 are limited to ten-year terms.

For individual policies, coverage amounts start at $100,000 and go up to $2 million.  However, maximum coverage amounts are reduced starting at age 55.

A very similar policy, BrightHouse Guaranteed Level Term, has the option of a 15-year level term, along with the other periods available with SimplySelect.

Premiums are fixed during a policy’s initial term.  Upon conclusion of the initial term, policyholders have the option of renewing annually, though premiums will almost always increase upon each renewal.

An initial term period will never extend beyond age 79, and the right to renew coverage ceases once an insured reaches age 95.

Brighthouse’s policies are no exam term life insurance, which means that a medical questionnaire is required as part of the application process and applicants with certain medical conditions will not be eligible for coverage.

The simplified-issue structure is generally quicker and more convenient than going through more thorough medical underwriting, but it also usually results in higher premiums for applicants who are in all-around good health without any significant medical conditions.

SimplySelect comes with a built-in conversion option allowing policyholders to convert the term coverage to whole life.

Brighthouse Conversion Whole Life

Conversion Whole Life is designed specifically as an option for holders of term policies, including group term policies, who want to upgrade to permanent coverage.

The whole life policy features fixed premiums, guaranteed level death benefits, and cash-value growth at guaranteed rates.

Brighthouse SmartCare (Hybrid UL, Long-term Care through Brighthouse)

SmartCare is combines an indexed universal life policy with a long-term care rider allowing acceleration of a policy’s guaranteed death benefit if the insured requires nursing home or similar long-term care.

The policy is available for new applicants between 40 and 75 in benefit amounts up to $1 million. The application process requires a medical-history review and interview (for older applicants), but a physical exam and lab work are not required for most applicants.

Policyholders have the option of linking cash-value and LTC benefit growth to an equity index, allowing for improved appreciation in strong markets.  However, growth is subject to a cap, and policy value can also decrease in down markets.

Alternatively, SmartCare lets policyholders opt for fixed growth or a level LTC benefit that never varies.

If the LTC rider is triggered, after a 90-day waiting period, benefits are paid out monthly in a fixed amount—rather than as a reimbursement for actual care expenses.

Thus, the payments can exceed the cost of care, and policyholders have flexibility in choosing how to apply the funds.

Accelerated amounts can total up to 95% of a policy’s face value and last for two years, though supplemental riders are available to extend the LTC benefit term by two or four additional years.

Available Life Insurance Riders

Terminal Illness:  In the event an insured is diagnosed by a healthcare professional as having less than 12 months to live, a policyholder may opt to accelerate some or all of the policy proceeds.  The terminal illness rider comes standard with all term policies.

Accidental Death:  In exchange for an additional premium, this rider increases a policy’s death benefit if the insured’s death results from an “accident,” as defined in the policy.  The supplemental death benefit amounts are decreased to 50% when the insured reaches retirement age and cease altogether at age 90.

Disability Waiver of Premium:  Premium obligations are waived if the insured becomes totally disabled for at least six months.

Conversion: If selected, this rider lets a term policyholder convert to whole life.

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