At New York Life, protecting the well-being of our employees, agents, policy owners, and community has been our top priority for the past 175 years. Our team of professionals understands the concern and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and we are here to help.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions that our policy owners might have about the impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

If you have a policy or contract that was issued in one of the states below, please click on the appropriate link for more information:

DelawareDistrict of ColumbiaMaine | New Jersey | New York

New York Life’s Preparedness and Response to COVID-19

Our response to the current COVID-19 pandemic started with a simple premise—protect what matters most.

Protecting the health and safety of our employees and agents has been a top priority. We have taken a series of actions that include implementing a work-at-home approach for nearly all employees and agents, suspending all business travel, and broadly increasing the use of virtual communication capabilities across the company to ensure that we are able to continue to support our clients and policy owners in the U.S. and globally.

As a mutual company, accountable only to our policy owners, New York Life has also taken steps to ensure that we remain committed to providing the best service and support to our policy owners. This includes maintaining all our operations globally, providing advice and guidance through our agents and customer service professionals, and fulfilling our promises by paying claims. It also includes introducing payment flexibility and accommodations for those who may need it, which is described in greater detail in the policy and service questions below, as well as self-service enhancements that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

And our commitment to protecting what matters most extends to our communities. The New York Life Foundation has pledged $1.7 million to local and national non-profits to help our communities impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.    

Financial Strength

During the past 175 years—through the Yellow Fever epidemics in the 19th century, the 1918 influenza pandemic, two world wars, the Great Depression, and the Financial Crisis of 2008-2009—we have been able to show both strength and empathy as we protected the future for our clients and their loved ones.

Today, no U.S. life insurer has a higher financial strength rating than New York Life. New York Life has the highest financial strength ratings currently awarded to any U.S. life insurer from all four of the major credit rating agencies (Standard & Poor’s, AM Best, Moody’s, and Fitch.)1 We continue to be positioned to deliver on our promises by investing wisely, growing our portfolio of strategic businesses, and remaining true to our mission as a mutual company and we remain confident in our ability to continue to fulfill the promises we have made to our policy owners.    

 

1 The “highest ratings currently awarded” refers to the highest ratings currently awarded to any U.S. life insurer, specifically: AM Best A++ (as of 7/24/2019), Fitch Ratings AAA (as of 12/18/2019), Moody’s Aaa (as of 12/18/2019), and Standard & Poor’s AA+ (as of 12/18/2019). Source: third-party reports. Learn more: https://www.newyorklife.com/about/our-strength/what-rating-agencies-say    

Working with New York Life During the Pandemic

New York Life will continue to provide regular updates to our website to help keep our policy owners informed about the important actions we are taking as a company. In addition, our 12,000 dedicated financial professionals across the country remain committed to being there for you—ready to provide advice and guidance to help our policy owners navigate an uncertain time.

If you are already working with one of our financial professionals, please reach out to them. If you need assistance getting in touch with your financial professional, their name and contact information is prominently displayed on much of the correspondence we send you. You can also view their contact information when you register or log in to your newyorklife.com account. If you’re unable to reach them or something has changed, please contact us. Our team of dedicated customer service professionals is available to help answer any questions you may have about your policy or account with us.

Our New York Life financial professionals are all able to serve you and your family’s needs virtually over the phone or via video chat. It’s important to us to be there for you, until we’re able to re-open our offices across the country. 

Our 12,000 dedicated financial professionals across the country remain committed to being there for you—ready to provide advice and guidance to help our policy owners navigate an uncertain time.

If you are already working with one of our financial professionals, please reach out to them. If you need assistance getting in touch with your financial professional, their name and contact information is prominently displayed on much of the correspondence we send you. You can also view their contact information when you register or log in to your newyorklife.com account. If you’re unable to reach them or something has changed, please contact us.

In addition, we remain open for business and ready to help with your requests. You may reach one of our service professionals at 1-800-225-5695, or review your information online, 24/7, at newyorklife.com, where you can view your New York Life policies and investments, make payments, update beneficiary information, update contact details, and more. 

We understand that what is going on in the financial markets can be unsettling. Our 12,000 dedicated financial professionals across the country remain committed to being there for you—ready to provide advice and guidance to help our policy owners navigate an uncertain time. 

If you no longer have a relationship with one of our financial professionals, we can put you in touch with someone who can assist, or you can speak to one of our service professionals. You may contact us at 1-800-225-5695.

Policy- and Service-related Questions

Because missing premium payments can affect a policy in several ways, we strongly encourage our policy owners to continue to pay their premium, if possible, or speak to their financial professional about options.

We understand, however, that making a premium payment may not be possible for some of our policy owners in the days and weeks ahead due to COVID-19.

We're offering several forms of assistance. First, New York Life does not charge any late fees. Second, in all states, we have temporarily paused cancellation of New York Life insurance coverage due to non-payment for policy owners who have made at least their first premium payment and need more time to pay their bill as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. No action is needed to initiate this payment flexibility. This temporary pause on cancellations applies only to policies issued prior to March 24, 2020. These changes will remain in effect through June 23, 2020.

All missed payments will be due once this period ends.

Because missing premium payments can affect a policy in several ways, we strongly encourage our policy owners to continue to pay their premium, if possible, or speak to their financial professional about options.

However, New York Life has temporarily paused cancellation of New York Life insurance coverage due to non-payment for policy owners who have made at least their first premium payment and need more time to pay their bill as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. No action is needed to initiate this payment flexibility. This temporary pause on cancellations applies only to policies issued prior to March 24, 2020. These changes will remain in effect through June 23, 2020.

For those policy owners with an upcoming bill or a monthly bill that’s due while we have temporarily paused cancellations, you will continue to receive your billing notices either by email or mail as you have in the past. All missed payments will be due once this period ends. 

Yes. New York Life understands that in times like these, you may be relying on others for financial assistance. And if you prefer that we accept a payment from a family member or loved one, you can use our “one-time payments without logging in” experience on newyorklife.com. If others are paying on your behalf, they will need some information from you to complete this task, including the policy number and bill amount. Your designated payee is not required to log in or register on newyorklife.com to make a payment. 

In many cases, there are other options to consider that allow you to use existing policy benefits to cover the current premium bill. We can help you determine what options may be available and provide you with the information necessary to make the best decision for you and your personal situation.

If you are already working with one of our financial professionals, please reach out to them. If you don’t remember who was helping you, their name and contact information is prominently displayed on much of the correspondence we send you. You can also view their contact information when you register or log in to your newyorklife.com account.

If you’re unable to reach them or something has changed, please contact us.

Many of our policies provide you with the option to reinstate your policy after lapse. Depending on your policy and the amount of time that passes after lapse, we may need some additional information to resume your coverage at the current benefit level and premiums. As always, it’s best to contact us promptly after your policy lapses to minimize any further disruption to your coverage. 

Policy owners who chose to purchase a New York Life annuity made a great decision to purchase from a company with New York Life’s financial strength and stability. We understand, however, the impact that the current situation may have on our policy owners’ finances. As a result, we are offering the following accommodations until further notice.

For those policy owners that have been impacted financially by COVID-19, we are increasing the surrender charge free withdrawal amount from 10% to 15% across all in-force deferred annuities. 2 For variable annuities, a prospectus supplement dated March 23, 2020 contains additional details.


2
Withdrawals may be subject to regular income tax and, if made prior to age 59 ½, may be subject to an Internal Revenue Service penalty. 

Yes. New York Life will continue to fulfill our promises and contractual obligations to our policy owners, as we have for the last 175 years. If you have questions regarding benefits that may be available to you under the terms of your policy, you can review all the features and benefits 24 hours a day on newyorklife.com. Simply register for an account or log in to your existing account.

If you are already working with one of our financial professionals, please reach out to them. If you need assistance getting in touch with your financial professional, their name and contact information is prominently displayed on much of the correspondence we send you. You can also view their contact information when you register or log in to your newyorklife.com account. If you’re unable to reach them or something has changed, please contact us.

In addition, we remain open for business and ready to help with your requests. You may reach one of our service professionals at 1-800-225-5695, or review your information online, 24/7, at newyorklife.com, where you can view your New York Life policies and investments, make payments, update beneficiary information, update contact details, and more. 

New York Life will continue to fulfill our promises and contractual obligations to our policy owners, as we have for the last 175 years.

We remain available to help our policy owners, beneficiaries, designated successor owners, or representatives who are legally authorized to act on your behalf. We have recently updated our website to provide clear and simple information to help in these circumstances. Click here to learn more. 

New York Life will continue to fulfill our promises and contractual obligations to our policy owners, as we have for the last 175 years. There is no change to the benefits available to you under the terms of your policy.  Please call us at 1-800-225-5695 or consult with your financial professional if you have questions about the terms of your coverage.    

One of the many benefits of being a New York Life Whole Life policy owner is the loan feature, which is a guaranteed option. You can borrow up to the maximum loan value from your policy’s cash value, generally on a tax-free basis.3 You are entitled to access this feature without any applications or credit approval. When you take a loan from your policy, there is an interest rate charged, which may increase or decrease over time.

You can learn more about this feature and your eligible loan amount on newyorklife.com (some limits apply). We encourage you to talk to your New York Life financial professional, or one of our service professionals if you have questions about this feature.

Loans and surrenders of cash value will reduce the total cash value and total policy benefit by the amount of the outstanding loan and accrued loan interest. Loans can cause a policy to lapse.



3 If your policy is classified as a “Modified Endowment Contract”, a withdrawal (including a policy loan) is treated as taxable income to the extent there is gain in the policy. In addition, if you are under 59 ½, a penalty tax of 10% could be assessed on those amounts and upon surrender of the policy. New York Life will report any taxable gain to you, the Internal Revenue Service, and any applicable state taxing authorities.  

Yes, for many of our life insurance policies, you can make a one-time payment or set up recurring monthly premium payments online by registering for an account on newyorklife.com. You can also make a payment 24 hours a day by calling our toll-free number and using our self-service phone option. If you’re having trouble or have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-800-225-5695.

The Departments of Insurance in a number of states have published bulletins for insurance companies related to the treatment of insurance coverage in the current environment. In all cases, New York Life will meet or exceed these requirements. 

In the event the actions described in this FAQ do not satisfy applicable requirements in a state, we will adjust our approach in that state to meet or exceed the requirements. We will continue to closely monitor the regulatory environment to ensure we remain in compliance with all government mandates.

Yes, we are temporarily accepting one-time Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT) if the employer is unable to provide a paper check via U.S. mail. Employers should call (800) 695-1272 each time they need to remit a payment electronically.