For many years, MetLife offered some of the best life insurance in the U.S. And although the company no longer sells to individuals, many people are still curious about this historic company. And for anyone curious, MetLife cuts ties with Snoopy and Charlie Brown in 2016, choosing to take its marketing in a different direction.
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About MetLife Life Insurance
For over 100 years, New York-based Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (popularly known as “MetLife”) has been one of the insurance business’s best-known carriers. The company began its existence during the Civil War as National Union Life & Limb Insurance Company.
National Union started off selling policies insuring northern soldiers. After the war, it adopted its current name and quickly became one of the country’s leading life insurance companies.
MetLife spent most of its history as a policyholder-owned mutual company. However, MetLife recently converted to the stockholder-owned, for-profit model.
The change let MetLife increase its top officers’ compensation and begin offering new insurance products.
Today, MetLife (under its own name and through affiliates) offers a dizzying array of insurance and investment products, employee benefits, and financial planning assistance.
In 2017, MetLife stopped issuing new life insurance policies to individual consumers. Instead, MetLife’s consumer insurance business was spun off to a new related entity—Brighthouse Life Insurance Company.
Some existing policies stayed with and are still administered by MetLife. Most are now serviced by Brighthouse, subject to the same contractual terms.
From its Charlotte, North Carolina, headquarters, Brighthouse (which does business under the name “Brighthouse Financial”) sells life insurance and annuities to individual consumers in all fifty states. MetLife continues to offer group life insurance plans—usually offered through employers—under the “MetLife” brand.
MetLife Financial Ratings
A.M. Best: A+
Comdex Ranking: 95
MetLife enjoys a well-earned reputation as a one of the most financially strong and stable insurance companies. Its 95 score from Comdex puts the company comfortably within the top ten percent of U.S. life insurance carriers.
And MetLife’s A+ from A.M. Best and strong scores from the other major ratings providers place it barely outside the best of the best.
MetLife reports just shy of $70 billion in annual revenue, $6 billion of which represent profits, and is backed by assets totaling an impressive $740 billion.
As a Fortune 100 company with a solid track record, MetLife presents prospective policyholders with very little risk of the company becoming financially unable to meet its policy commitments in the foreseeable future.
While not quite as strong as MetLife, Brighthouse Financial resides within the Fortune 500, with well over $200 billion in total assets. Brighthouse’s “A” rating from A.M. Best and 78 Comdex score are a grade below MetLife but still very strong and indicative of little policyholder risk.
MetLife Consumer Ratings:
MetLife is not presently accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and its B- score from BBB is lower than most comparable insurers. That means MetLife is less responsive to consumer complaints lodged with BBB.
Customer reviews for MetLife on BBB’s cite are dismal. MetLife averages one star (out of five), with a sample size of nearly 100 reviews.
MetLife’s customer-satisfaction score in J.D. Power’s 2020 life insurance study was a little above the mean for rated companies—the brightest spot being claims handling.
Brighthouse Financial hasn’t been around very long, and, thus far, consumer complaints to state insurance commissioners have been fewer than average, which is good.
Brighthouse also has an A rating from BBB, despite not being accredited with the Bureau.
However, Brighthouse’s customer satisfaction rating in J.D. Power’s 2020 study is awful. Brighthouse came in last place out of the 23 companies included in the report. Brighthouse did a little better for annuities but was still below the study average.
BBB’s sample size for consumer ratings for Brighthouse is too small to have any reliability.
What Products Does MetLife Offer?
For individual consumers, MetLife sells home, auto, and dental coverage, along with a few more-specialized policies like legal insurance and pet insurance.
Through employers, MetLife offers a variety of group plans, including group life insurance, disability, vision, and accident coverage, and supplemental health plans.
MetLife also provides a variety of financial planning products and services, like annuities, investment management, and employer tools for funding pensions, retirement plans, and employee benefits.
Along with individual life insurance policies, Brighthouse Financial also offers an assortment of annuities.
Life Insurance from MetLife:
As of 2017, MetLife no longer issues life insurance polices to individual consumers.
MetLife Final Expense Insurance
In 2014, MetLife introduced a somewhat popular final expense insurance policy. At the time, many people searched out MetLife final expense insurance to see how this policy compared to the other options on the market.
MetLife’s Final Expense Whole Life Insurance policy was guaranteed acceptance, which means you were guaranteed to be approved as long as you meet the guidelines based on age and you live in a state where the product is offered.
The guaranteed acceptance life insurance policy was whole life insurance and had the following features:
- Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance
- No Exam Required
- No Health Questions
- Available for ages 45-75
- Face amounts from $2,500 – $50,000
- Cash value
If you are looking for a similar final expense insurance policy, we invite you to give us a call or use our final expense quoter.
Now, although the company no longer sells life insurance to individuals, MetLife still provides group policies to employers and remains one of the biggest players in that field.
MetLife’s employer-sponsored group plans include term life, universal life, variable universal life, and accidental death coverage. Term plans also allow employees to purchase supplemental coverage for the named insured and dependent coverage extending the term life insurance to the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, or eligible children.
Brighthouse Financial focuses on two primary consumer life insurance products: SimplySelect (a term policy) and SmartCare (an indexed UL policy with a long-term care rider).
Brighthouse Financial Term Life Insurance
SimplySelect provides level term life insurance for adults up to age 69 in coverage amounts ranging from $100,000 to $2 million. Coverage maximums are lower for applicants over age 55. SimplySelect comes in term lengths of 10, 20, and 30 years, though the 30-year term isn’t available for applicants aged 50 and older, and applicants from 65 through 69 years can only get the ten-year term.
SimplySelect policies are simplified issue life insurance, which means that medical history is considered during the underwriting process but a medical exam is not required. Policies have fixed premiums and can be purchased through independent agents, including some online brokers.
Terminal illness and conversion riders are built into SimplySelect policies. The former allows early access to death benefits if the insured is diagnosed with less than 12 months to live. The latter gives the policyholder the right to convert the term coverage to Conversion Whole Life.
Brighthouse Financial Permanent Life Insurance
Conversion Whole Life is Brighthouse’s permanent whole life insurance policy. As the name suggests, it can only be acquired by converting from a term policy. As with other whole life policies, it has guaranteed-for-life coverage, accrues interest-earning cash value, and premiums are fixed (though higher than term premiums).
SmartCare is an indexed universal life policy that comes with a built-in long-term care rider allowing access to policy benefits if the insured requires long-term healthcare. New insureds must be between ages 40 and 75 and can obtain coverage amounts as high as $1 million.
As a permanent IUL policy, SmartCare accrues cash value that grows tax-deferred. Growth can be measured based on one of several indexes chosen by the policyholder (such as the S&P 500), or policyholders can opt for growth at guaranteed fixed rates.
Indexed growth is subject to a cap that limits earnings in strong markets, and cash value can also decrease if the chosen index performs poorly.
If the insured requires long-term care, the LTC rider kicks in after a waiting period of 90 days. Policy benefits are then paid out through a fixed monthly payment.
The regular payments allow for flexibility in how funds are used, but proceeds might not cover the full cost of care (or can exceed the actual cost).
Long-term care benefits are paid out for a period of up to two years, and the total benefits paid can reach as high as 95% of the policy’s death benefit.
An optional rider can extend the benefit period by either two or four more years. Any portion of policy proceeds not applied toward long-term care is paid out to the named beneficiary as a death benefit upon the insured’s death.
In most cases, SmartCare applicants do not have to undergo a medical exam, though a review of medical records is part of the underwriting process. Premiums can be paid via a single up-front payment or paid over a period of up to five years.
Due to the long-term care rider and short premium payment period, SmartCare’s premiums are generally higher than with an IUL policy that does not include LTC benefits and spreads premiums over a longer period.