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Metlife is a well-known name in insurance that used to sell individual life policies in the U.S. Since 2017, they separated their life and annuity business for individuals and no longer offer individual life. Life insurance is instead available through the new company Brighthouse Financial.1 Metlife offers limited life insurance options through employers with permanent life and term life policy options. We researched their life insurance policy options to see how they stacked up to 24 other top life insurance carriers based on price, coverage options, service, and more.
Learn More: Read our life insurance methodology to see how we rated each company.
What We Like
- “Mutual Perks” program
- Guaranteed issue policy for employees
- Group insurance, premiums may be partially covered by employer
- Coverage for dependents
- Supplemental amounts of insurance may be available
- Great reputation
- One-year term life insurance options
- Discounts for insuring your home and car
What We Don’t Like
- New policies only available through the workplace (since 2017)
- Very high level of complaints due to “delays”
- Metlife individual life insurance now managed by Brighthouse
- Must speak to your employee benefits advisor for detailed information
- Coverage options managed by employer’s choices
- The universal life plans do not have guarantees on cash values
The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, known as MetLife, was founded in 1868 and is headquartered in New York. It is the sixth-largest insurance company in the world.2 You may be familiar with MetLife’s long-standing relationship with Snoopy and the Peanuts characters who appeared in MetLife campaigns for over 30 years.
In 2016, Metlife stopped using Snoopy and the gang in their marketing as the decision was for MetLife to move away from individual life insurance sales, which involved rebranding and shifting their individual life business to a new company: Brighthouse Financial.3 MetLife has a Better Business Bureau Rating of A-; this rating would apply to all of their various insurance lines but does not reflect their life insurance division alone.4
They offer life insurance as well as other insurance products such as home and auto insurance, long-term care, critical illness coverage, medicare plans, and some investment options. When you have MetLife life insurance you may be able to get discounts when you insure other products with them too.5
Metlife does not sell life insurance to individuals, they offer a limited selection of life insurance options through employer group plans. Individual life insurance was shifted to Brighthouse Financial in 2017. MetLife is the number one insurer for group life insurance in the U.S.
Are MetLife and Brighthouse the Same Company?
Although Brighthouse Financial came from MetLife, they are no longer the same company and operate completely separately. Brighthouse Financial is an independent company that spun off from MetLife in August 2017. At that time the following MetLife entities became Brighthouse Financial:6
- MetLife Insurance Company USA
- MetLife Investors InsuranceCompany
- New England Life Insurance Company
- Brighthouse Life Insurance Company
- Brighthouse Life Insurance Company of NY
According to Brighthouse, “MetLife, Inc. divested its remaining ownership stake in Brighthouse Financial in June 2018 and has no other control.” As a result policyholders from MetLife individual life insurance policies that spun off to Brighthouse are directed to their financial services representative for any questions, or are directed to Brighthouse Financial for service from the MetLife “Contact Us” page.7
MetLife’s plans are only offered through employer group benefit plans, they offer three types of term life insurance and two types of universal life insurance. They do not offer any traditional whole life insurance policies
Met Life offers three different types of term life insurance through the workplace:
Basic term life: This covers you as an individual for a set term; the length of the term would have to be discussed with your group benefits advisor since each employer may have different agreements with MetLife.
Supplemental term life: Supplemental term life is life insurance that may be available as an add-on to your regular employee term life insurance plan if you would like to have more coverage. The purchase of the supplemental term life option may only be available during specific periods or “open enrollments” determined by your employer.8
For example, one plan we researched offered an open enrollment period in which you could choose to add $10,000 increments up to $500,000. However benefits would then be reduced as follows: reduced to 65% at ages 70, 42% at ages 75, and 31.7% at age 79 and older.
Dependent term life: Dependent term life is term life insurance for your children, spouse, civil union or domestic partner.
For spouses already on a plan, they allowed $10,000 in increments up to $100,000 (or 50% of your optional life insurance coverage, whichever was less), with maximums of $20,000 if you did not have optional life. For spouses not already on a plan, a full application may be required. And for dependent children, coverage of $15,000 was available.
Term Life Through Brighthouse Financial
If you do not have MetLife insurance already and are looking to purchase coverage, then you could look into individual term life with Brighthouse financial. Brighthouse offers life insurance coverage for various term lengths, such as 10-, 20- or 30-year term on level term premiums for limited parts of the term, which then increase dramatically over time.9 Brighthouse Financial uses medical underwriting so they do not have any guaranteed issue insurance.
If you intend to purchase a term life policy to cover you for a brief time, and then plan to convert to a long-term whole life policy afterward, be sure to inquire about a term life plan with conversion options. The conversion option may help you prevent undergoing full underwriting with medical exams at the time you do decide to switch to a whole life policy. Having a conversion option allows you to lock in your current state of health. Brighthouse offers convertible term life insurance, but only if the option is selected at the time of the policy purchase.
Universal Life Insurance
MetLife offers two universal life insurance policies: Group Variable Universal Life (GVUL) and Group Universal Life (GUL).10 Due to the investment aspects in some universal life policies (namely variable universal life), a universal life insurance policy may be riskier than a whole life plan.
Group Variable Universal Life (GVUL)
The Group Variable Universal Life plan by Metlife provides life insurance coverage (death benefits) plus the opportunity to build tax-deferred cash values. When you pay into the plan, you will pay the premium for the life insurance portion and pay another part of your payment into an account to invest or build cash values. You may pay premiums into the cash value portion in regular payments or lump sum amounts; you can change this at any time.
The amount that goes into building cash values goes into:
- An interest-bearing account that will provide you with a guaranteed minimum interest rate. MetLife specifies that the guaranteed interest rate is dependent on MetLife’s company performance, so the conditions of that guarantee could change.
- Investment options drawn from the selection of the various funds that MetLife offers, the selection may be based on your employer’s plan selections so you should check with your employer for the most up to date list and plan options.
- The performance and values in these accounts are not guaranteed.
It will take some time for the values to build in your MetLife account before you can access the values through a withdrawal or loan. In the first 15 years, you may only have access to “premiums paid”. Although you may access these values without any penalty or surrender charges, MetLife specifies there may be an administration fee of 2% of the amount of withdrawal or $25 (whichever is less). You should also be aware that in addition to withdrawals or loans impacting the value of the death benefit portion of your life insurance, it may also be subject to taxes depending on how long you had the account, your age or other tax-related criteria.
Gathering Universal Life (GUL)
The Group Universal Life plan by Metlife offers no different highlights of the Variable Universal life plan aside from the sum you pay into the money esteems doesn’t go into ventures. Rather, the installments go into an expense conceded money esteem aggregation segment (an enthusiasm bearing record with an ensured least loan fee). Once more, in the important part, it is determined that the ensured least financing cost is liable to organization execution and that there is no assurance that the cash that goes into that record will be more and perhaps not exactly the sum when gotten the money for out.
MetLife offers online self-serve alternatives on their site that permit you to download structures to make changes to your strategy, including making a case, changing recipient data, or mentioning strategy give up by getting to their online forms.12 Forms should be sent into MetLife for handling.
Administration may be mistaking for individuals who purchased strategies with MetLife preceding the move over to Brighthouse. MetLife remembers some data to help these policyholders for the FAQ area of their site:
- MetLife strategies gave through a business are adjusted through the representative advantages guide of the business.
- Brighthouse items must be bought through a money related advisor.13
Those with strategies acquired by Brighthouse might need to observe the cases procedure and add guidelines to any approaches they have for their recipients to effectively explore recording the case.
Protests Trend: Climbing Complaints
We explored Metropolitan Life Insurance Company’s objection history with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) National Complaint Index report and their outcomes were disturbing. They have high grievances (in excess of multiple times higher than the normal standard for an insurance agency of their size). Their protest pattern for 2019 was 7.24 with 288 objections for singular life insurance.14
Preceding 2019, they had just arrived at the midpoint of around 50 protests every year with state controllers, which would have been considered at or beneath expected levels.15 Since 2019, there has been an abrupt increment in objections that have made it to the state controllers. At the point when we checked the purposes behind the objections to increase a superior comprehension of what we were seeing, we found that 253 of the grievances were for guarantee dealing with delays.16
On the off chance that you are a policyholder or a recipient of a previous MetLife oversaw strategy that is presently overseen by Brighthouse, you can in any case contact the operator who you initially managed to acquire help in the event that you are making a claim.17 This might be a simpler way than reaching the organization legitimately and will give you the benefit of having your protection agent help control you and work for your sake. You can likewise attempt to get to your approach on the web. On the off chance that you don’t know whether an approach was given through MetLife and are searching for a strategy they offer an arrangement discoverer page here.
MetLife AdvantagesSM Value Added Program
Metlife offers a worth included advantages program, known as “AdvantagesSM” to policyholders.18 This is a decent element of the MetLife life business based plans. AdvantagesSM accessibility might be founded on the business’ arrangement choices, however by and large this present program’s help administrations help with an assortment of circumstances, for example,
- Burial service arranging administrations
- Direction advising administrations
- Sorrow directing
- Will arrangement
- Consumer loyalty
Metlife positions fifteenth out of 25 organizations for consumer loyalty in the 2019 J.D. Force Life Insurance Study.19 The examination positions life coverage organizations dependent on client encounters and generally speaking fulfillment over a few classifications. Here are MetLife’s appraisals by class, we have additionally included Brighthouse Financial’s evaluations (who scored 23rd out of 25) since the administration of numerous past independently sold MetLife strategies are currently in their consideration:
Money related Strength: A+ (Superior)
MetLife, Inc. has a money related quality rating of A+ (Superior). They were in the best 10 journalists of individual disaster protection in 2017 and 2018 when they moved their business center. They were additionally the main backer of gathering extra security and keep up that position as of the most recent updates from the Insurance Information Institute.20
MetLife Cancellation Policy
Since MetLife disaster protection is offered through bosses, their scratch-off strategies and terms may differ by manager. The best activity is to speak with your gathering benefits counsel at work to discover how this would function, particularly in situations where you are thinking about giving up your extra security strategy. For the strategies that were sold through MetLife, yet then moved to Brighthouse Financial in 2017, it is ideal to discover the terms and conditions by reaching Brighthouse Financial legitimately.
Cost of MetLife Life Insurance: Low (or No-Cost) Through an Employer
The cost of MetLife strategies isn’t accessible to the general population since valuing is haggled by managers for their workers dependent on bunch size and segment. Regularly a gathering protection plan will have preferred rates over standard individual disaster protection, and in some cases the business may add to your premiums. As per MetLife, they offer their term life coverage through bosses “at low or now and again no expense to you.”21
MetLife offers a set number of extra security items and just sells through bosses. This restricted accessibility of the item may not settle on them the most ideal decision as your essential extra security supplier because of the reality inclusion is reliant on your boss and might be constrained to mishap just inclusion.
A work-based disaster protection strategy is consistently a decent choice to exploit because of lower costs, yet we suggest you investigate other life coverage organizations to enhance your gathering extra security.
Contrasted with other disaster protection organizations we looked into, MetLife’s objections pattern with the NAIC is higher than most and offers extremely constrained inclusion alternatives.
MetLife versus Common of Omaha
Despite the fact that MetLife offers all inclusive life coverage through a business, you may even now need to contrast this and different items out there that have more secure venture alternatives. For instance, Mutual of Omaha offers an all inclusive life strategy that has a “base” on the speculation bit of the arrangement meaning you won’t lose cash in any event, when the market drops.
Shared of Omaha offers an increasingly secure widespread life strategy, they are top of the line for client care evaluations, and they have a low protest pattern. Common of Omaha likewise offers advantages and strategy riders that give a great deal of focal points in the long haul. When contrasting MetLife with Mutual of Omaha as alternatives for your disaster protection, our exploration shows that Mutual of Omaha is a superior decision.
MetLife versus Northwestern Mutual
Metlife offers a variable widespread life strategy and a standard all inclusive life strategy, however beside these two alternatives, they don’t offer other entire extra security plans. In the event that you are taking a gander at an entire life strategy, Northwestern Mutual will have the option to give you extra focal points, for example, profit qualified protection plans, and a lot more arrangement alternatives to consider for entire or general life.
Northwestern Mutual is an honor winning consumer loyalty life back up plan who will offer support to you through an individual budgetary counsel, rather than the advantages director at your working environment. Northwestern Mutual offers a variable all inclusive life strategy, similarly as MetLife does, yet they likewise offer one with less hazard that has a base enthusiasm crediting rate.
When looking for life coverage, Northwestern Mutual gives more alternatives, and the capacity to offer you a more extensive scope of guidance than MetLife. Also, a Northwestern Mutual disaster protection strategy will be attached to you and not your business status, so you won’t have to stress on the off chance that you change managers. In light of our examination and various rankings and surveys, Northwestern Mutual is an unmistakable champ when looking at these two organizations for all the reasons referenced here and the sky is the limit from there.
In the event that you are looking for extra security choices your MetLife manager based gathering protection is a decent base to exploit. The MetLife bunch protection might be accessible at low (or some of the time no expense), and you might have the option to cover your wards under a comparable arrangement.
Despite the fact that MetLife is a solid insurance agency, the way that they have constrained arrangement choices puts you off guard contrasted with a significant number of the other extra security organizations we audited. When taking a gander at anything over term life, you should check different organizations to ensure you are getting the best counsel, choices, and inclusion for your necessities.
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