Jackson National Life Insurance Review

Alternative life insurance options through fixed and variable annuity plans

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Jackson National Life Insurance

Jackson National Life Insurance

Our Take

Jackson National no longer offers life insurance products, but instead offers fixed and variable annuities. Its products are designed to give customers a fixed-income savings strategy, as well as a steady stream of income in retirement. Jackson is the largest seller of annuity products in the U.S.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Fixed and variable annuities offered

  • Online education available

  • Tax-deferred retirement savings

Cons
  • Independent agents are paid a commission to sell you Jackson annuities

  • No longer sells life insurance products

  • Cannot purchase annuities online

Key Takeaways
  • Jackson National Life Insurance is a financial company that, despite its name, no longer sells life insurance products
  • Jackson offers fixed annuities, fixed index annuities, and variable annuities
  • Jackson is a founding member of the Alliance for Lifetime Income
  • Jackson was the top seller of annuities in 2020 according to LIMRA
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1961
  • Kinds of Plans Fixed, Fixed Index, and Variable Annuities
  • Number of Plans 3
  • Payment Options Annual, Lump-sum
  • Official Website https://www.jackson.com/

Introduction

Jackson National Life Insurance does not offer life insurance. Instead, they focus on providing income in retirement, offering fixed, fixed index, and variable annuities. We researched Jackson National’s financial stability, plan options, riders, website tools, and customer service reviews to help you compare the life insurance policy options of Jackson National with the competition. 

Company Overview

Jackson National Life Insurance was founded in 1961 in Lansing, Michigan, with a focus on selling term life insurance. Its products were sold through independent agents instead of an in-house sales team. In 1986, Jackson became a subsidiary of Prudential PLC (a British insurer, not affiliated with Prudential Life) and is now the largest seller of annuity products in the U.S.

Jackson National offers fixed, fixed index, and variable annuities designed for tax-deferred savings and growth, giving customers a fixed-income vehicle for retirement.

Expert Tip

Annuities held in an IRA or 401(k) do not provide additional tax savings, as the account itself is already tax deferred.


Jackson National Life Insurance is licensed in all 50 states, but actual availability varies by product and state.

Available Plans 

Jackson National Life Insurance offers three types of annuities: fixed, fixed index, and variable annuities. An annuity is a type of financial product that gives you guaranteed income during retirement. There are two phases for annuities: the accumulation phase and the annuitization phase.

During the accumulation period, there is typically an initial minimum deposit (lump sum), then additional contributions are made annually to the annuity, and the money is invested. Once the annuitization phase is reached, the money is distributed in regular payments to the account holder.

Fixed Annuity

Jackson National Life Insurance offers several fixed annuity options, which are best suited for investors who want steady retirement income with a low level of risk. A fixed annuity is an insurance contract with a guaranteed interest rate for a predetermined period. These can be invested in over time or contributed to in a lump sum for an immediate stream of income.

Fixed Index Annuity

A fixed index annuity is an insurance product designed for growth where your contributions into the plan are invested in an index, such as the S&P 500, for more potential growth than a fixed-income annuity. The payments from this product are tied to the performance of the underlying investments. 

Fixed index annuities are best for those who want the potential growth of the stock market but with a minimum guaranteed interest rate. These annuities pose more risk than a traditional fixed annuity, but less than a variable annuity. 

Jackson National’s MarketProtector fixed index annuities allow clients to choose 5-, 7-, and 10-year index periods, with both commission-based and fee-based offerings available. Clients can choose how much of their premium and interest earned are invested in the market-indexed account, and how much stays in the fixed-interest account. These annuities also give clients access to up to 10% of the accumulated contract value per year without a withdrawal fee.

Note

Fixed index annuities typically have a guaranteed minimum interest rate, so even if the value drops due to market changes, there is still a guaranteed minimum income paid out.

Variable Annuity

A variable annuity is a tax-deferred investment designed for retirement, where participants choose to allocate their funds into a wide array of investment options. These annuities are riskier than fixed annuities, and your investment may lose value. 

Variable annuities function similarly to an investment account, as investors get to choose which investments to allocate their contributions to. Jackson National Life Insurance offers over 140 investment options for investors to choose from. 

Available Riders

Similar to life insurance policies, Jackson National Life Insurance offers access to several riders for their annuity products. A rider is an optional policy enhancement that adds additional benefits or custom coverage options to the annuities.

Here are the rider options for Jackson National Life Insurance annuities:

Return of Premium Death Benefit

The Jackson National Life Insurance variable annuity has an optional death benefit rider, guaranteeing a return of premium to beneficiaries upon death, even if the portfolio has lost value. This rider typically costs a small percentage of the value of the policy, but amounts vary by each type of annuity. Rider fees and term details are available by speaking with a Jackson National agent.

Living Benefit Rider

The living benefit rider is offered on Jackson National Life Insurance variable annuity products and offers a guaranteed payout while the insured is still alive. Costs and terms can vary and are available by speaking directly with a Jackson National agent directly.

Note

Annuity payments are taxed as ordinary income and may incur a 10% tax penalty on withdrawals taken before age 59½.

Customer Service: Many Ways to Connect

Jackson National Life Insurance annuities are sold through independent insurance agents, brokers, or financial professionals and cannot be purchased directly from Jackson through their website. 

For customer service issues, Jackson offers support via phone, fax, mail, or email. They also have an extensive FAQ section on their website.

Jackson National Life Insurance customer service business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET.

Customer Satisfaction: Very Few Complaints  

Jackson National Life Insurance received fewer complaints than other insurance companies, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Its complaint index scores insurance companies in the U.S. on the number of complaints received, with the national average score of 1.0  (the lower, the better). Jackson National Life Insurance received a score of 0.16, far below the average complaints for a company their size. This score is slightly up from the 0.15 score in 2019 but is still impressive.

J.D. Power also ranks annuity companies based on customer satisfaction. Jackson National Life Insurance ranked seventh out of 15 annuity companies in the U.S. in their 2020 Life Insurance Study. This is slightly below average compared to other life insurance companies in the U.S.

Financial Strength: A (Excellent)

Jackson National Life Insurance received an A (Excellent) rating from AM Best, affirming their financial strength. This rating means that Jackson is in a good financial position to pay out their guaranteed annuity contracts, giving customers peace of mind when purchasing from them. 

Cancellation Policy: Free Look Period Only

The U.S. requires a minimum “free-look” period for insurance policies, and Jackson annuities are considered insurance. Jackson National Life Insurance does not advertise their cancellation policy on their website, so they are held to each state’s minimum free look period. This is usually a period of 10 days (or more) that allows customers who purchased an annuity to cancel it and receive a full refund.

After the free look period, cancellation terms vary between annuity products, so make sure you ask your agents about the terms of cancellation before signing up.

Price of Jackson National Life Insurance: Quotes May Vary

Jackson National Life Insurance prices for their annuities are not available online. Prices will vary depending on the type of annuity, the total amount invested, and the optional riders selected. Quotes will need to be obtained directly from an independent agent.

How Jackson National Life Insurance Compares to Other Life Insurance

Jackson National Life Insurance no longer sells traditional life insurance and instead has opted to focus on selling annuities. While other life insurance companies may sell annuity products, Jackson is the largest seller of annuities in the U.S.

While annuities help you generate income in retirement, life insurance is designed to protect your assets if you pass away. If you are looking for life insurance products, you are better off working directly with a company that offers term, whole, or universal life insurance products. 

Jackson National Life Insurance vs. New York Life

While Jackson is the largest seller of annuities in the U.S., New York Life is the largest life insurance company in the U.S. (by market share). Jackson National Life Insurance offers annuity products to help customers create guaranteed income in retirement. New York Life offers a variety of life insurance products to provide income and protect customer assets.

Here are a few key differentiators between Jackson National and New York Life:

  • New York Life offer term, whole, and universal life policies in addition to annuities
  • Jackson National Life Insurance offers tax-deferred investment options through annuitization, while New York Life offers tax-deferred cash value life insurance policies
  • New York Life has local offices around the country, while Jackson sells their products through independent agents
  • New York Life does not offer a fixed index annuity product, but Jackson National does

If you are looking for life insurance, New York Life is one of the strongest life insurance companies around, with policies for most Americans. If you are looking to create guaranteed income in retirement, Jackson offers many options for saving and investing through their annuities.


Read our full New York Life Insurance review.

  Jackson National Life Insurance New York Life Insurance
Market Share The top seller of annuities in the U.S. Largest, 6.75% of the market
Number of Plans 3 10
Online Quotes Available? No No
Service Method Email, phone, in person Email, phone, in person
AM Best Rating A (Excellent) A++ (Superior)
Complaints Index 0.16 (excellent) 0.15 (excellent)

Final Verdict

Jackson National Life Insurance is a great option for those looking for fixed or variable rate annuities, as they are the leaders in that industry. They also offer additional riders to help customize your annuity for more flexibility in how you receive your income. 

Though investing in annuities can generate guaranteed income, you may also want to protect your investment with traditional life insurance. If you are looking for policies such as term or whole life insurance, you won’t find those with Jackson National Life Insurance and are better off shopping around to find the best life insurance for your needs.

Methodology 

All of our reviews of life insurance companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company based on offerings, customer service, financial stability, cost, and more. For each company, we compared the life insurance products offered, as well as available features, and reported customer experiences. Visit our life insurance review methodology for the full breakdown of what we evaluated for over two dozen companies.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. IRS. "Publication 575 (2020), Pension and Annuity Income." Accessed Apr. 8, 2021.