MassMutual Life Insurance Review
Eligible consumers get free life insurance for your child’s education
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MassMutual Life Insurance has a long history of offering life insurance, as a mutual insurer they have paid out dividends to eligible policyholders for over 150 years. They offer both term and permanent life insurance options, as well as a free life insurance program to qualifying lower-income families. We researched rankings, reviews and product options available with MassMutual Life Insurance to help you compare your life insurance policy options and decide if MassMutual is a good insurance choice for you.
What We Like
Some policies eligible for dividends
Convertible term insurance options available
Direct Term offers online application and immediate approval
Plain language policy to make understanding easy
LifeBridge free life insurance trust policy for parents
A good selection of riders
Online policy management including loan requests
What We Don't Like
Limited information on policy details and riders online
Time limits on conversion policies
All policies have medical underwriting
Must speak to a representative to quote (other than for Direct Term)
Direct Term premiums may increase following medical exam
Rates are above average for mid-life to older applicants
Higher than average rates for smokers
Information on blog may be confusing (not company-specific)
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, more commonly known as MassMutual, is the 4th largest life insurance provider in terms of premiums written. Headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts, they have been selling insurance for over 150 years. As a mutual insurance company, they are accountable to their policyholders and offer dividends to eligible whole life policyholders. They offer a full range of financial products and services besides life insurance, including disability income insurance, long term care insurance, annuities, retirement plans, and other employee benefits.
MassMutual offers all the major categories of life insurance plans such as term life, convertible term life, whole life, universal life, variable universal life, and a whole life survivorship policy option. Here’s an overview of the Mass Mutual product line:
Term Life Insurance
Mass Mutual offers two different options for term life insurance, some of them may have conversion options. A conversion option allows you to change your term life policy, which has a limited duration, into a permanent life insurance policy, such as whole life policy. Not all term life insurance policies have conversion options.
Conversion options may have time limitations, and if you miss the time limit you may not be able to convert your policy. The conversion period is listed in your policy and online account. As a loose guide, the conversion period is within two to 10 years of the start of term, depending on your age. You may have the option to purchase a rider that will extend the conversation period through the length of the term.
MassMutual Direct Term Life Insurance
MassMutual offers the ability to apply for your term life insurance online and get immediate temporary coverage. This is available for issues ages: 18 to 64 with coverage starting at $100,000 and up to $3,000,000.
Although coverage may be temporarily immediate, they may require you to take a medical exam, depending on the answers to your questions on the form you filled online.
MassMutual may provide you with temporary coverage, in which case you will have 90 days to complete the medical exam.
If you did not receive temporary coverage, then you will have 30 days to complete the medical exam. Prices and policy conditions could change if the medical exam reveals information that was not in the original application. The Direct Term policy offers 10- or 20-year term coverage with level premiums.
MassMutual Term Life
MassMutual also offers a standard term life insurance policy that you can purchase and get quotes through one of their financial representatives. Convertible options may be available for this coverage. You will have to request contact from an agent through their website, or by calling their call center.
LifeBridge Program: Free Life Insurance to Protect Children’s Education
The Lifebridge Program is part of MassMutual’s corporate social responsibility program providing the opportunity to children whose parents pass away to benefit from $50,000 life insurance death benefit to be used for their education. The program issues a 10-year term policy in the name of a trust.
There are certain qualifications you must meet in order to be eligible for coverage, including being between the ages of 19 to 42, having a child under 18 years old for whom you are the legal guardian, with a family income between $10,000 to $40,000.
Participating Whole Life Insurance
MassMutual’s Participating Whole Life Insurance is a permanent life insurance policy with guaranteed cash value with potential eligibility to earn dividends. MassMutual has a good track record of paying dividends and have been paying them every year since 1869. It is important to note that dividends are not guaranteed.
Some people use dividends in different ways – a portion of the profits paid to the policyholders similar to a stock dividend paid to shareholders. As a cash value policy, it is also important to be aware that accessing the cash value through loans or partial surrender will reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit. This is standard with most life insurers.
Advantages of MassMutual’s whole life policy:
- Build guaranteed cash values: Cash values allow you to use your life insurance to save money. Part of your payment to pay the death benefit, but another part that goes into savings. These savings grow over time and can be used to access as cash if you need it through a policy loan or partial surrender.
- Participate in dividends: Being able to participate in dividends gives you access to additional cash value and also may allow you to increase the death benefit of the policy. You may also choose to use dividends to pay the premium. Not all life insurers offer dividends and this advantage gives you more money overall if all other things are equal.
- Guaranteed death benefit: MassMutual guarantees the death benefit portion of your premium regardless of how long you live.
Universal Life Insurance
MassMutual offers universal life insurance policy options which include the following advantages:
- Flexible premium options: As the cash value builds in your policy you can shift some of the value to pay premiums; when you have more cash at hand, you can also choose to pay more into your policy at different stages in your life.
- Death benefits: Depending on the type of policy you choose you can also select an option for a guaranteed death benefit or not.
- Customizable premium options to build cash value: You can pay more in premiums to build higher cash values which you can, in turn, use to later borrow against (if your cash values accumulate).
Working with a MassMutual financial professional, you can figure out what options are best for you, and adjust the universal life policy to meet your needs as your life or family situation changes. If you need to change the amount of premium you pay, you can do so month to month or year to year on policies that have accumulated enough cash value.
Variable Universal Life Insurance (VUL)
If you are looking for investment options and are comfortable with taking some risk with the cash values of your life insurance policy, then MassMutual offers a Variable Universal Life policy for your consideration. The VUL policy offers the potential to grow cash value if market performance is good for the choice of investments you make.
The policy also offers the option of flexible premium payments if the cash value in your account is sufficient. You may choose a level death benefit, and also have the choice of allocating cash value to the investment portion of your plan, or Guaranteed Principal Account (GPA) which earns guaranteed interest.
For complete details of the VUL, MassMutual recommends speaking to one of their financial professionals and asking to check the prospectus of the underlying investments carefully before making your decision. Limited information is available online.
Survivorship Life Insurance
Survivorship life may be available, although policy information was not on their website. This type of policy provides the opportunity to transfer wealth to an estate after both insureds have died. The death benefit then goes to the beneficiary of the policy.
Does MassMutual Life Insurance Offer Riders?
A life insurance rider is an endorsement or add-on to your life insurance policy. Here is a list of some of the MassMutual riders that may be available to you. Riders are not available for every policy type, so you will have to speak to a MassMutual representative to find out the details.
List of MassMutual Life Insurance Policy Riders:
- Extended Conversion Period (ECP): This rider allows you to extend the conversion period on certain policies.
- Life Insurance Supplement Rider: Provides additional whole life or term life that is paid for by rider premiums and policy dividends
- Long Term Care Access or Accelerated Benefit Rider: A rider that allows access to an accelerated death benefit under specified conditions, such as a disability, critical illness or chronic illness (policy terms vary depending on the rider).
- Renewable Term Rider: Used to allow the purchase of term life insurance as a supplement to whole life insurance. Premiums will increase annually, but the concept is that purchasing additional insurance on term life is less expensive than the premium for whole life. The advantage is when you can afford it, you could convert to whole life.
- Guaranteed Insurability Rider: This rider offers the option to purchase additional life insurance at a future date without having to undergo additional qualifications like a medical exam.
- Yearly Term Purchase Rider: Provides the option to direct dividends towards the purchase of one-year term insurance
- Disability Waiver of Premium Rider: Available for ages 18 to 59 on the Direct Term policy. This waiver allows reimbursement of premiums after proven eligible disability of a period of six months, and then a continuing waiver of the premium as long as you are disabled due to an eligible injury or illness.
- Waiver of Premium on the Death of Insured Rider: This rider is used in life policies that may insure two individuals).
Customer Service: Personalized Service or Online Self-Serve
MassMutual provides a few ways to get a policy or service your account: You can work with one of their 9,000 financial professionals by searching for one in your area on their website, you can speak to someone with MassMutual direct, and you can also access and manage your policy online or through their app. If you choose the direct issue term life insurance policy, it allows you to fill in your application online and get coverage right away in many cases.
Overall, MassMutual gives you almost every possible option to get service in the way you prefer, the only limitation is you will have to speak to someone to get most quotes and set up your account and policy. Their website offers some good information, videos and a blog to help you understand life insurance and explore the basics, but the information is not product-specific, so it may be confusing to figure out how to get the coverages you are interested in. Speaking to an agent is the best way to make sure you are well informed.
MassMutual scored 13th out of 25 life insurers reviewed in the 2019 J.D. Power Life Insurance Study. The study had consumers rate various areas of their customer experience including price, product offerings, and application and orientation. Here’s how MassMutual ranked with customers in each of the related areas:
MassMutual or the Massachusetts Mutual Life Life Insurance Company has a very low complaint incidence in the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s (NAIC) National Complaint Index Report with only 11 complaints in 2019. Similar results were found for the previous two years. We researched the complaints trends with several life insurance companies to compare with MassMutual’s complaint trend. MassMutual’s index score of .08 is very low. The complaint index score is used to compare performance to others in the market. A score of 1, would represent the expected normal performance.
Financial Strength: AM Best Rating A++ (Superior)
The financial stability rating of an insurance company is an important indicator as to whether a life insurance company will be able to meet its obligations. AM Best has rated Massachusetts Mutual since 1928, we looked at an overview of the most recent years (since 2015) and found that it shows a consistent A++ (Superior Rating). With over 160 years in business and strong financial ratings, MassMutual is a financially sound and stable company to deal with.
Cancelation Policy: Talk to a Rep
If you want to cancel your life insurance policy you will need to speak to your financial professional for the details. If your premium increases following a direct policy quote due to a medical exam, then MassMutual states that you can cancel the policy and get a refund, or apply for a lesser amount of coverage. They also state that if you change your mind during the process of your direct term policy being issued, then you can cancel at any point. There is a 10-day “Free Look” period for which you will not have a penalty if you cancel. Cancellation terms after the 10 days would then be subject to regular policy terms where you may have a surrender charge or penalty.
Pricing: Easy Quote Process
MassMutual offers quotes for Direct Term Insurance on their website. We researched sample Term Life quotes for both female and male profiles to give you some examples of pricing. Our quotes were based on the following criteria:
- Very Good Health
- Ages 25, 35, 45 for both female and male
- Term 20 Direct
- $250,000 of coverage
- Location: California
MassMutual Term Life Insurance Prices
MassMutual Term Life Insurance Prices for Smokers
We also researched the sample pricing for smokers, using the same ages and location, but used average health rating, and got the following prices for MassMutual Term 20 life insurance at $250,000 of coverage.
With MassMutual, the rates for smokers were two to three times more expensive than the term life rates for non-smokers, making their pricing very high once you hit a smoker category, and as you get older.
The Competition: MassMutual vs. Mutual of Omaha vs. John Hancock
We wanted to see how MassMutual stacked up to the competition when it came to life insurance policies. We reviewed and researched the products and offerings from 25 life insurance companies, including other mutual insurers.
MassMutual was the only insurance company that offered free life insurance (as seen in their LifeBridge Program). MassMutual’s dedication to corporate social responsibility and community is demonstrated by the innovative and generous program.
When it comes to pricing, MassMutual didn’t rank “Among The Best” pricing, but our independent research on term prices did show that their prices for healthy individuals were about average.
- When compared with Mutual of Omaha they were slightly higher in price.
- MassMutual compared to John Hanock was much lower.
For smokers, their rates were much higher than Mutual of Omaha, for age 35 and up, but significantly lower than John Hancock.
Term 20 Life Insurance Rate Price Comparison:
MassMutual vs. Mutual of Omaha vs. John Hancock
Using the sample values for term 20 male rates, here is a comparison for these companies. Using male rates for illustration purposes (in all cases female rates were lower).
- The smoker rate is for “average health” rates may be lower for smokers whose health is determined to be very good or excellent.
- Non-smoker rates are based on good health, rates could be lower if your health is excellent.
Rates were obtained in February 2020 from the MassMutual, Mutual of Omaha and John Hancock websites.
*John Hancock offers premium return options for their Vitality Life insurance program which uses a fitness tracker to provide policy discounts. This feature may compensate for these higher rates. See our John Hancock Life Insurance review for more details.
Final Verdict: Financially Stable, Fairly Priced and Good Corporate Citizens
While shopping for life insurance, especially if you are younger and in good health, MassMutual has some interesting options to explore. If you have a young family, MassMutual’s free life insurance is a really nice program to look into. For term life, you can get quick coverage by applying direct online. Whole Life policies may make you eligible for dividends, and provide cash values. Overall, MassMutual has some good features for consumers to take advantage of that some of the competition doesn't. Speaking to one of their financial professionals will help you best understand your options when comparing and shopping around for life insurance.