Uncertain times spark thoughts about how to move forward and establish a plan that can hedge against an uncertain future. Consumers might be thinking, “What can I control?” or “How can I prevent my family from facing financial obstacles down the road?”
When it comes to creating a plan focused on protecting who and what matters most, it’s important to carefully consider your options and find the right partner to guide the way. Life insurance is the bedrock of a protection-first approach to a financial strategy and can be a source of peace of mind for years to come.
When it comes to choosing a life insurer, these are some of the key elements to evaluate:
1. What is the insurer’s financial strength rating?
It’s important to know that the company backing your coverage can deliver on its promises today, tomorrow – or whenever the time comes. When you establish your future plans and put your policy in place, trusting that the institution will be able to withstand unanticipated events and a variety of economic conditions over time is vital to insuring your family while ensuring your peace of mind. (You may find it comforting to know that New York Life earned the highest financial strength ratings currently awarded to any U.S. life insurer, one of only two U.S. life insurance companies to do so.)
2. Does the insurer have an array of products to fit your financial needs?
When selecting a life insurer and policy, it’s important to remember there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s just a matter of finding what’s right for your circumstances. For insurance, do you want temporary protection or lifetime coverage? Cash value accumulation or simple, straightforward protection? Would you like a financial professional to help you start thinking about retirement and guaranteed income? Is extended care in the back of your mind? Start with what you think you want and need, as well as how the insurer will be able to support that. The ability to mix and match products, policies and riders will enable you to feel secure and confident that you have the best protection for yourself and your loved ones.
3. Does the insurer offer dividends?
Determine whether the insurer is publicly traded or privately held. If it is a mutual company, that means the insurer doesn’t operate to satisfy outside investors – because it doesn’t have any. When you purchase a participating life insurance policy, you are eligible to receive dividends. As policy owners’ financial needs change over time, many use dividends to increase coverage without additional underwriting, but can also use the dividend to pay a portion of premiums (thus lowering out-of-pocket costs), be taken in the form of a check the policy owner can use in any way they see fit or left on deposit with the company where dividends can earn interest.
New York Life is a mutual company, which means the company operates for the benefit of current and future policy owners. The mutual company business model allows the company to make long-term decisions, which is ideally suited for the type of long-term promises that New York Life makes to its policy owners. In 2019, the company paid eligible participating policy owners a dividend payout of $1.9 billion , the largest in the company’s history1.
4. Does the insurer provide holistic planning and align with your values?
It’s helpful to have guidance as you determine which options and products best align with you, your needs and your values. While you may be only shopping for life insurance, it is worth investigating whether the company you’re buying from offers other financial planning solutions through its affiliates and if your relationship can evolve as your needs in life change. You may also want to understand more about the company’s mission and values to ensure they match yours. Insurance companies are people companies at heart, and it’s a good idea to understand how they serve their policy owners and communities.
5. What level of human guidance would work best for you?
There are several insurance companies and many offer a variety of ways to transact. Some companies only offer purchase through a website. Others offer trained professionals to help guide clients through financial decisions or some combination of online and person-to-person resources. Although it’s common to complete financial transactions online, often a conversation with a financial professional can help ensure you understand how what you’re buying will fit into your overall plans for the future. It’s important to consider whether you’re willing to purchase such an important piece of protection from a newer company without consulting an expert first – or if you’d feel more comfortable buying from a more established brand with knowledgeable financial professionals and a long history of keeping its promises.
Choosing a life insurer is big leap toward protecting your family’s future. It’s a decision that will give your loved ones the financial security they deserve – and you the peace of mind you deserve. And because the guarantees of a life insurance policy are backed solely by the claims-paying ability of the issuer, choosing the right partner for you makes it even better.
1Note, dividends are not guaranteed. New York Life is also the parent of domestic wholly owned stock subsidiaries whose products are not participating and not eligible for dividends.
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