John Hancock Life Insurance Review

Find perks and discounts for healthy lifestyles

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John Hancock

John Hancock

overall rating
4.5

Our Take

John Hancock is the only insurer we reviewed that offered discounts, perks, and benefits based on your lifestyle. They enable a hands-on approach to savings and investments with the Vitality program. John Hancock life insurance is a great bet if you are looking for a life insurance company that goes the extra mile to help you lead a healthy lifestyle.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Vitality Plan—offers discounts for a healthy lifestyle

  • Great rates for smokers with some policy incentives to quit smoking

  • Life insurance plans available for people with diabetes

  • A free fitness tracker

  • Discounts or perks with partners like Amazon and others

  • Range of universal life with conservative to aggressive style investing

  • LifeTrack interactive tool to help you track premium adjustments and goals

  • A Quit-Smoking Incentive with non-smoker rates

Cons
  • Suicide is never covered—industry standard is after two years

Key Takeaways
  • John Hancock offers great rates and a special life insurance program for people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. They offer a tailored plan with access to advice to help manage and improve your health. 
  • If you lead a healthy lifestyle or want to get healthy, John Hancock has a great plan called “Vitality” to help meet or keep those fitness goals. It’s life insurance with health perks: they will give you a fitness tracker or a discount on an Apple Watch, and give you discounts on your life insurance based on results. 
  • Variable universal life allows you to aggressively grow your cash value and save on premium increases when the market is good.  
  • There is an incentive to quit smoking to qualify for more affordable non-smoker rates after 12 months.  
  • Consumers give John Hancock the thumbs up with one of the smallest Complaint Indexes in the industry.
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1862
  • Kinds of Plans Term life, universal life, indexed universal life, variable universal life, survivorship life, final expense, guaranteed acceptance.
  • Number of Plans 14
  • Official Website https://www.johnhancock.com/index.html

John Hancock offers options for all types of life insurance, including term and permanent life insurance. It has a wide range of universal life products with survivorship life options. As you compare life insurance policy options, one major feature that makes John Hancock stand out is its focus on health and prevention.

We reviewed 25 insurance companies to see how John Hancock stacks up against the competition, taking into account price, underwriting, service, and more. Read on to see our full take.

Learn More: Read our life insurance methodology to see how we rated each company.

Company Overview

John Hancock is a U.S. division of Manulife Financial Corporation, which is the 11th largest insurance company in the world. John Hancock Life Insurance Company has been in business for more than 150 years and is among the top 10 life insurers in the U.S. by direct premiums written. In addition to life insurance, they also offer annuities, investments, 401(k) plans, and education savings plans. 

Available Plans 

John Hancock offers 13 different life insurance plans with health features that are an innate part of the policy or added by a rider. Its plans are based on two fundamental policy types: term life and a large selection of universal life plans. It also markets a life insurance policy designed for people with diabetes.

Aspire With Vitality Plan—for People with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes

Aspire with Vitality is a special life insurance plan designed for people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. It combines a life insurance product with diabetes management and support. This is available in both term and permanent policy types.

Perks of the Aspire Vitality Plan are:

  • Participation in the Vitality GO or Vitality PLUS programs
  • Savings of up to 25% in premiums for people in the Vitality Plus program
  • Access to Onduo, subject to eligibility, a state-of-the-art program for people with Type 2 diabetes that provides coaching, clinical support, and education

Vitality Wellness Rewards Program

Vitality allows policyholders with a Vitality Plan or rider add-on to participate in one of two programs that support a healthy and financially fit life. They do this by giving discounts and points based on your physical activity. These discounts can result in perks or savings on your life insurance policy. There are two options for the Vitality program: Vitality Go and Vitality Plus.

Vitality Go benefits include:

  • A fitness device discount 
  • Amazon.com discounts
  • Healthy gear discounts
  • HealthyFood benefit points and savings 
  • Free subscription to Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter

Vitality Plus benefits include everything in Vitality Go, plus additional perks such as:

  • Annual premium savings up to 15% on the life insurance premium
  • The ability to earn an Apple Watch (based on regular exercise which translates into points that then accumulate to either help finance or pay for the watch, depending on your activity levels.)
  • A free Fitbit
  • Amazon.com gift cards
  • Amazon Prime membership
  • Discounts on hotel stays with Hotels.com
  • Free subscription to the Headspace app
  • Shopping and entertainment gift cards
  • HealthyFood benefit points and savings of up to $600 a year in fresh fruit and vegetables

Quit Smoking Incentive (QSI)

The Quit Smoking Incentive (QSI) gives qualified smokers the opportunity to benefit from standard nonsmoker charges for the first three years of the policy. After the first three years, the policyholder must provide evidence that they have quit smoking for 12 months, or the premiums will change to smoker rates. The program is available for ages 20 to 70 with certain conditions. This can be a huge advantage in premium savings for smokers to give them a chance to quit while benefiting from lower rates.

If you lead a healthy lifestyle or want to get healthy, John Hancock has a great plan called “Vitality” to help meet or keep those fitness goals. It’s life insurance with health perks: it will give you a fitness tracker or an Apple Watch, and give you points and discounts on your life insurance based on results.

Term Life Insurance

John Hancock offers term life insurance with several term length options, from 10 years to 30 years, depending on your age and which products you qualify for.

Coverage limits on the term life insurance products depend on how much you want to purchase. John Hancock has a large capacity to insure you for between $100,000 to $65 million in death benefits. You can purchase term life online through John Hancock for amounts of up to $500,000. For amounts more than $500,000, you can ask to speak to a financial representative who will be able to provide quotes.

John Hancock offers two types of term life insurance, both with Vitality Plan options: Vitality Term and Protection Term. John Hanock’s term life insurance policies are convertible, which means that once the term ends you can change this into a permanent life policy.

  • Vitality Term: This policy type is quotable online. The advantage is that you can get an instant decision, and coverage is available from $25,000 to $500,000.
  • Protection Term: This policy can provide coverage and has a guaranteed conversion feature up to age 70. Coverage starts at $100,000 and there is no limit to the value of your policy.

Although details about adding a spouse to the policy are not available online, we were told by a John Hancock agent that there is an option to add coverage for a spouse to the policy within three years, which could be an option to inquire about if you are looking to insure yourself and your spouse but do not want to have to purchase two life insurance policies to save money.

Universal Life Insurance

John Hancock offers three universal life insurance options: universal life indexed, universal life, and variable universal life. It also offers survivorship universal life plans in each of the three options and plans with guaranteed death benefits.

The Vitality Plan also is available to be added as an option on some plans.

Universal life insurance provides the opportunity to have whole life coverage with cash value options that you can select depending on your long-term goals. The different plans with John Hancock provide various investment options for the cash value allocation of the premium. The universal life policies also give you flexibility with premium payments to allow you to adjust how you pay them over time as needed.

  • Accumulation UL: This plan allows you to adjust the amount of your premium payments as well as the frequency. The cash value account growth is based on a credited interest rate but does not place your funds directly in the market, so they remain protected. You can borrow or withdraw money from the cash values in this account.
  • Protection UL: The Protection UL plan is one of John Hancock’s most affordable universal life policies. It includes a Death Benefit Protection which is a no-lapse guarantee up until age 121, which guarantees that the policy will not default even if the cash surrender value drops to zero or less. The guarantee is subject to certain criteria, such as making sure that the debt on the policy never exceeds the death benefit value.

Indexed Universal Life

The John Hancock indexed universal life policies offer premium flexibility, cash values, and a death benefit, but also include the added advantage of earning interest on a linked indexed account. The policy takes advantage of building more cash value than the standard universal life policy and is available with different plan options to give you the opportunity to decide what level of risk you are comfortable with.

  • Protection IUL: The Protection Indexed Universal Life (IUL) plan includes similar features of the Universal Life (UL), but it allows you to earn interest based on placing cash values in a linked indexed account. The linked account does not participate in equity or stock investments directly, and performance will depend on which indexed account options you select. Like the universal life policy, you may switch how your premiums are allocated as your needs or strategy changes, and the plan offers the use of the LifeTrack tool to help you see the impact of the various changes. The Protection IUL policies also include the no-lapse guarantee Death Benefit Protection.
  • Accumulation IUL: This plan is available for issue ages three months to 90 years old, and the minimum value is $50,000. The policy provides you with cash value account options where you can allocate your values: a fixed account and indexed accounts. The indexed accounts are linked to the markets but provide the security of a 0% floor which means you will not go into the negative based on the market performance but may benefit from interest crediting when the market results are good. The fixed account has a guaranteed rate of 2% or better. As with the other line of John Hancock products you may opt for living benefits riders and participation in the Vitality Plan which could result in savings on your premiums.

In all cases, policy products, interest rates, and guarantees should be discussed with a John Hancock adviser since the terms and conditions of these policies will change over time or based on market performance. The information we researched should provide a good basis to start the conversation and understand some of the differences in the available plans.

Variable Universal Life

The Variable Universal Life (VUL) plans with John Hancock are similar to the Indexed Universal life plans, except the performance of the cash value account is based on the performance of the investment options and there is no guarantee. The variable universal life plan includes the ability to access the cash values via withdrawals and loans, as well as to transfer funds between various investment options and build your own investment strategy. In the Variable UL plans, you have the option of the Protection VUL plan or Accumulation VUL as well.

Survivorship Universal Life

John Hanock offers different options for survivorship universal life insurance, based on the Universal Life plans described above. The plan features are similar, except that instead of insuring one life, it is a survivorship life policy which means it insures two people on the policy and pays out only on the second to die. Plans include Accumulation SVUL, Protection SUL, and Protection SIUL. 

List of John Hancock Life Insurance Policy Riders

John Hancock offers a number of riders, in particular a series of living benefits riders, and the option to add the Vitality Plan to many of their policies. A life insurance rider is like an endorsement on an insurance policy; it may be included as part of a policy package, but often has a cost associated with it. You may have to request to add it to the policy or it may not be included.

Depending on the type of life insurance policy or plan you choose with John Hancock, there are various riders available. Here is an example of some of the riders they offer:

  • Vitality Plan: Although the Vitality Plan is included with some insurance plans, it may be added to others, such as Protection UL, for example.
  • Unemployment Protection Waiver of Premium Rider: For an additional fee you can add this rider to your policy. It provides coverage to waive your insurance premiums for the policy (and any riders) for up to 12 months, and up to a premium value of $10,000 (with a maximum policy limit value of $5,000,000). This rider comes into effect if you become unemployed for more than four weeks and can prove that you have been receiving federal or state unemployment benefits during this time and is subject to a waiting period. The coverage can be used twice during the level term period.  
  • Critical Illness Benefit Rider: This rider is part of the living benefits options and offers a lump sum income tax-free payment in addition to the life insurance benefit. It may be used in the event of a critical illness, such as a heart attack, cancer, or stroke. 
  • Long-Term Care Rider: This rider is part of the living benefits options John Hancock offers. This is an optional rider that can be added to some policies which offer the option to have an accelerated death benefit to help pay the costs of long-term care insurance. This amount is taken from the death benefit value of the policy, so any amount not used would be paid out in the death benefit.

Customer Service

John Hancock offers information on its programs and products through the website.

The value-added perks in the Vitality Plan include support for helping you lead a healthy lifestyle, and discounts on things like fresh fruits and vegetables, health and nutrition newsletters, and partner discounts and free perks with companies like Amazon. They go above and beyond trying to provide resources to their policyholders so they have resources to improve or maintain health, which is unusual for a life insurance company.

John Hancock offers a few options for customer service. Online or call center support is provided via an online service representative who is able to answer basic questions on the term life products and the guaranteed issue policies. However, if you want to discuss any of the permanent life options, such as Universal Life, they will transfer you to another department that takes care of the permanent insurance and connect you with an advisor.

LifeTrack Policy Management Interactive Service

John Hancock empowers their policyholders with a number of tools and support services to keep them healthy, but they also offer another tool: LifeTrack. LifeTrack is an interactive tool to help you manage your policy premiums for certain types of policies that offer flexible premium payment options, like the Protection UL plan.

The advantage of the LifeTrack tool is that you can use it to make sure that as you adjust your premium payments, you are still in line with your insurance objectives and cash value accumulation plans. Another nice perk is that if you participate in a Vitality Plan, this information also will be integrated into the tool so that you can take into account any premium savings you are getting from that program.

Vitality is not a guarantee that you will get lower rates; it is contingent on meeting designated milestones of success.

Customer Satisfaction: 17th out of 23

John Hancock scored 17th out of 23 life insurers reviewed for Customer Satisfaction Overall in the 2020 J.D. Power Life Insurance Study. The study rates various areas of customer experience including price, product offerings, and application and orientation. Here’s how John Hancock ranked with customers in each of the related areas:

Customer Service Category Rank
Overall Satisfaction The rest
Product Offerings About average
Price About average
Statements About average
Interaction The rest
Communication About average
Application and Orientation Insufficient base for rating

Complaints About John Hancock: Very Few

John Hancock has a low level of complaints in comparison to what is expected in the market for its premium volume. We researched John Hancock’s complaints trends for the most recent three years, and complaints have been consistently low, with the most recent complaint trend score at 0.40 for a total of 26 complaints in 2020, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s (NAIC) National Complaint Index Report. John Hancock is also a Better Business Bureau accredited company, this means they have a track record of addressing complaints, their BBB rating is A+.

Financial Strength: A+ (Superior)

If you are researching life insurance companies to choose the best one for you, it is a good idea to check the financial strength of the company. John Hancock has an AM Best financial strength rating of A+ (Superior) and it has held this rating for several years running. 

Price of John Hancock Life Insurance

Smokers participating in the Quit Smoking Incentive will benefit from nonsmoker rates for three years to give them a chance to quit smoking, and these savings are significant. No other insurer we reviewed offered a program like this.

We looked up the rates for John Hancock’s Vitality Simple Term Life Insurance for sample ages 25, 35, and 45 years old. In the table below we included our findings for the monthly cost for a healthy nonsmoker and smoker pricing for $250,000 of term life insurance. It is important to note, the choice of “health options” on their quote are: fair, average, good, and excellent.

When we tested the 45-year-old male and female and used “excellent” health for a smoker rating, instead of the average health rating, we found that prices were the same.

  • $277.83 per month for the female smoker
  • $318.73 per month for the male smoker

Rates were obtained from the John Hancock website where you can enter your own personal information and get a quote. The quote is shown instantly, so you do not need to wait for a call back to have your price estimate.

John Hancock Smoker vs. Non-Smoker Life Insurance Term Rate Samples
Age Term 20 - Male Term 20 - Female
25 years old $75.05 vs. $50.33 $62.18 vs. $38.15
35 years old $113.00 vs. $57.90 $85.95 vs. $46.30
45 years old $235.18 vs. $112.45 $179.43 vs. $82.25

The Competition

John Hancock is the only life insurer out of the 25 that we reviewed that offered discounts and tools to policyholders for getting fit and living healthy lifestyles. They were one of the few companies that also offered an unemployment protection rider, which is a good feature, especially for younger clients and families.

John Hancock vs. MassMutual

John Hancock and MassMutual both provide a variety of options for life insurance, one key difference is that MassMutual also pays dividends on participating policies because they are a mutual company which means they are owned by the policyholders and not the shareholders. 

John Hancock is not a mutual company, but they do provide the Vitality Plan, the special program for diabetics, and they also offer the Quit Smoking Incentive program, which basically gives qualifying smokers the non-smoker rates for three years to give them a chance to quit smoking. This would make a significant difference in price savings if, for example, we use the rates below. In comparing John Hancock with MassMutual, there could be a definite advantage for smokers with the QIS, and John Hancock comes out on top.

Monthly Rates $250,000 Smoker vs. Non-smoker
Age MassMutual Term 20 John Hancock Term 20
25 years old $42.64 vs. $15.01 $75.05 vs. $50.33
35 years old $58.51 vs. $16.54 $113.00 vs. $57.90
45 years old $133.55 vs. $34.37 $235.18 vs. $112.45

John Hancock vs. Northwestern Mutual vs. New York Life

When comparing John Hancock with Northwestern Mutual and New York Life, all three companies are able to provide options for permanent life insurance. Northwestern Mutual and John Hancock have the most options, both providing various levels of investment in the universal life plans for people who want to be more (or less) involved. New York Life and Northwestern Mutual offer dividends, whereas John Hancock does not.

However, John Hancock provides the benefit of the Vitality Plan, with its associated perks and benefits, which may include discounts on the cost of your life insurance, in addition to giving you tools and motivation to be active and healthy.

When comparing these three companies, if being fit or staying in shape is important to you, John Hancock definitely works with you to keep you on the path. For diabetics and smokers, they also provide incentives and customized plans, which we did not see with either Northwestern Mutual or New York Life. For their health incentives and the number of plan options available, John Hancock is the stronger choice.

  John Hancock Northwestern Mutual New York Life
Market share Seventh largest in the U.S., 3.5% Largest in U.S., 8.4% Third largest in U.S., 6%
Number of Plans 13 17 8
Dividends for 2020 Not applicable $6 billion $1.9 billion
Wellness Program Discounts/ Quit Smoking Incentives Yes Not applicable Not applicable
Service Method Financial advisors Financial advisors and agents Agents
Customer Satisfaction (J.D. Power) Score 737 out of 1,000 (17th out of 23) Score 790 out of 1,000 (Award winner, #4 out of 23) Score 784 out of 1,000 (6th out of 23)
Price Rank About Average Among the best Better than most
Complaints Trend 0.40 excellent 0.07 excellent 0.24 excellent
Final Verdict

John Hancock goes the extra mile when it comes to helping you get or stay healthy by providing perks and discounts based on leading an active lifestyle with their Vitality Plan. If you are shopping around for life insurance options, John Hancock offers term life plans with the possibility of an instant decision and simplified underwriting. It offers special programs for smokers and diabetics. For those who want to improve their health, or have a hands-on approach to their life insurance options and strategy, then John Hancock is a top pick.

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. To compare each company, we used our life insurance review methodology to evaluate the products offered, as well as available features, and reported customer experiences.

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. AM Best. "World's Largest Insurance Companies—2021 Edition." Accessed Oct. 2, 2021.

  2. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Life and Fraternal Insurance Industry 2020 Top 25 Groups and Companies by Countrywide Premium." Accessed Oct. 2, 2021.

  3. J.D. Power. “2020 J.D. U.S. Life Insurance Study.” Accessed Oct. 2, 2021.

  4. NAIC. "John Hancock Life Ins Co USA National Complaint Index Report." Accessed Oct. 2, 2021.

  5. Better Business Bureau. "John Hancock Financial Services, Inc." Accessed Oct. 2, 2021.

  6. AM Best. "John Hancock Life Insurance Company." Accessed Oct. 2, 2021.