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Equitable Life Insurance Company Review

Equitable Life Insurance

As an independent life insurance brokerage, IBUSA has the flexibility to partner with many different life insurance companies, including Equitable Life Insurance Company. While Equitable may not always offer the most competitive pricing for their term life insurance products, they do have lenient underwriting guidelines for certain conditions such as high cholesterol. This means that some people may qualify for a better rate class and a lower price, but this advantage can easily go unnoticed without the help of an agent familiar with Equitable.

Therefore, it’s important to understand who Equitable is, what products they offer, and when they may be the best option. While they may not always have the lowest prices, they have a strong financial history and offer a variety of life insurance and retirement products. Additionally, their lenient underwriting guidelines may make them a good choice for individuals with certain health conditions or risk factors. However, it’s important to shop around and compare quotes from different companies to ensure that you are getting the best possible price and coverage for your needs.

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About Equitable Life Insurance

Previously known as AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, Equitable Life Insurance Company of America is a subsidiary of Equitable Holdings, LLC, headquartered in New York. The company has been in existence for over 150 years, dating back to the mid-19th century.

In the early 1990s, Equitable Life became a part of AXA, a massive insurance group based in France that does business in numerous countries worldwide.

Though Equitable was formerly a mutual company, it became a stock company around the time of the AXA acquisition and started trading on the NYSE in 2018, under the symbol EQH.

Equitable Life Insurance Company, also known as AXA Equitable, issues policies throughout the United States under the Equitable America or AXA Equitable brands, except in New York where policies are issued by “Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company.” The company’s distribution network consists of nearly 5,000 agents and financial advisers who primarily market Equitable’s insurance and annuity products. In addition to life insurance and annuities, Equitable also offers financial and retirement planning services, as well as employee benefit administration.

Equitable also has an interesting piece of history worth noting. During World War II, the company waived policy exclusions for deaths resulting from armed conflict between states, leading to the payout of thousands of policies that may have otherwise been denied. Equitable takes pride in this history, even though it is now owned by a French insurance group.

Equitable Financial Ratings

A.M. Best: A+
Fitch: A+
Moody’s: A1
S&P Global: A+
Comdex Ranking: 82

Equitable’s financial ratings are solid with all of the major ratings services.  The company is backed by significant worldwide wealth, with greater than $700 billion in assets under management for its parent company Equitable Holdings.  Thus, policyholders face little risk that Equitable will be financially unable to meet its policy obligations in the foreseeable future.

Equitable has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau for 80 years and scores an A+ rating from BBB.  Though consumer reviews for the company are limited, it seems to be a fairly well-thought-of operation.

Accumulation Streamlined UW Program

With the COVID-19 Pandemic still underway, many people are looking for life insurance with no medical exam.

Equitable’s Accumulation Streamlined UW Program is available in all states for applicants up to age 55 for face amounts up to $2,000,000.

The Program is accelerated underwriting, which means the company still does a thorough underwriting, looking at prescription databases, MVR, MIB, and other data resources. However, no face to face meetings,  fluids or blood draw are required.

Life Insurance Underwriting Niches

One potential drawback of Equitable is it often fails to offer the best life insurance rates. However, if you fall into one of its niche categories, it may turn out to be the best option because you will secure a better health rating than with a different company.

One area where Equitable’s underwriting excels is with total cholesterol. The company is one of a handful of insurers who will offer a preferred plus rate class to an applicant that has cholesterol levels up to 300.

Another area where the company differentiates itself is build, allowing a larger Body Mass Index (BMI) than most other carriers.

Products Offered by Equitable Life Insurance:

  • Term Life Insurance
  • Indexed Universal Life Insurance
  • Variable Life Insurance
  • Group Term Life
  • Annuities
  • Retirement Planning

Life Insurance Policies Offered by Equitable

Term Life

Equitable offers three basic options in term coverage:  Level-Term, ART, and a single-premium, one-year policy.

Level term life insurance policies come with initial terms of 10 (“Term 10”), 15 (“Term 15”), or 20 years (“Term 20”).  Premiums are fixed through the duration of a policy’s term.

Equitable’s ART (“annual renewable term”) policy provides for annual renewal of one-year terms.  Subject to a maximum amount, premiums increase at each renewal, except that the first three years’ rates are guaranteed.

A final term option, TermOne, is a one-year, non-renewable term policy payable with a single premium.  The policy can’t be renewed, isn’t eligible for any riders, and has only one “standard” underwriting class.

Equitable’s term policies include a built-in conversion option letting policyholders convert term coverage into an Equitable Life permanent policy.  The option can be exercised until the insured turns 70 or the policy’s initial term ends, whichever happens first.  ART policies can be converted anytime while the policy remains effective until the insured reaches 70.

Final Expense (whole life):  Equitable is not currently offering a guaranteed-acceptance final expense policy.

Universal Life Insurance

Equitable has four different policy options built around the UL structure, two of which are indexed and two of which are variable.  The UL policies accumulate cash value, with premium payments split between underwriting costs and the investment component.

The amount of premium paid is flexible, subject to required minimums necessary to keep the coverage in place.  Once it grows sufficiently, cash value can be applied toward premiums.


Equitable Life’s indexed policies base policy growth on performance of the S&P 500 Index.  Growth is subject to a cap (10% in Equitable’s examples).  Policy growth can’t exceed the cap amount over the relevant period, even if the index earns higher returns.  Policies also have a 0% loss floor.  So if the market drops, the policy won’t grow, but it also won’t lose value.

IUL Protect is an indexed universal life policy that emphasizes the death benefit and is designed to provide for guaranteed coverage through age 90 (or for 40 years) with relatively lower premiums.

The policyholder gets to choose the allocation of cash-value funds between an indexed account and an account that grows at a fixed, guaranteed rates (at least 2.5%).  A policy’s death benefit can be either the policy’s face value or face value plus cash value, at the policyholder’s election.

BrightLife Grow is also an IUL policy but is geared more toward cash-value growth.  It still provides a death benefit but assigns a higher percentage of premium payments to cash value.

Along with the S&P, cash value can also be assigned to a small-cap index, an international index, or a fixed-growth account.  An optional rider reduces the surrender charge that normally apply during the first eight years, allowing earlier access to policy funds, and can provide for a refund of certain policy fees.

Variable Universal Life

Equitable’s two variable universal life options are VUL Optimizer and VUL Legacy.

Like most VUL policies, both have a flexible structure and higher fees than other types of life insurance.  Rather than linking growth to an equity index, policyholders can choose among multiple investment portfolios offered by Equitable.

VUL Policy growth depends on performance of the investments picked by the policyholder, with an optional Market Stabilizer Option allowing for an indexed growth account that’s protected against losses of up to 25%.

The main difference between Optimizer and Legacy is in the emphasis on cash-value accrual versus death benefit.  Optimizer focuses on growth and the investment component.  Legacy is designed more to provide permanent coverage with lower required premiums.

A paid-up death benefit option is built in—allowing a policy to stay in place indefinitely with a lower death benefit and no future premiums—and an optional no-lapse guaranty is also available.

Available Life Insurance Riders

Living Benefits Rider:  This rider allows acceleration of a portion of a policy’s death benefit if the insured is diagnosed with less than 12 months to live.

Children’s Term Insurance Rider:  The Children’s Rider provides term coverage for all of the insured’s dependent children and can be converted to permanent coverage.

Disability Waiver of Monthly Deductions Rider:  If the insured becomes disabled for at least six months prior to reaching age 60, the premium obligations are waived while the insured remains disabled.  If disability occurs after age 60, the waiver is effective through age 65.

Option to Purchase Additional Insurance Rider:  This rider provides the right to purchase additional coverage on the insured in a specified amount and at specified dates without any further underwriting.

Long-Term Care Services Rider:  The long-term care rider allows acceleration of policy benefits to cover qualifying long-term care expenses.

Charitable Legacy Rider:  If the rider is purchased, the policy pays out a supplemental death benefit to up to two charities of the policyholder’s choice.

Final thoughts…

Equitable Life Insurance Company offers a wide range of insurance and financial products, making it a potential option for many people. However, just like with any other insurance company, it’s important to shop around and compare prices and coverage options before making a decision. While Equitable may not always have the most competitive pricing for term life insurance, they may be a good option for those with certain health conditions, as their lenient underwriting guidelines may allow for a better rate class.

Additionally, Equitable offers annuities, financial and retirement planning services, and employee benefit administration, which may be attractive to some individuals or businesses. Ultimately, the right life insurance company will depend on a person’s individual needs and circumstances, so it’s important to do your research and compare options before making a decision.

2 comments… add one
  • James R. W. December 2, 2022, 4:58 pm

    I have a policy # 574509388 that was paid up on 11/7/1977 can i find out if it is possible to cash it out or find out what the value is?

    • IBUSA December 7, 2022, 2:17 pm


      You would need to contact Equitable Life directly.



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