MassMutual Life Insurance Review: Great Financial Strength and Good Simplified Issue Insurance Policies

MassMutual Life Insurance Review: Great Financial Strength and Good Simplified Issue Insurance Policies

Wide variety of term and permanent policy options, but not the best rates for smokers and seniors.

Good for

  • Excellent financial stability
  • No medical exam and guaranteed acceptance policies
  • Online application and acceptance for Direct Term and Simplified Whole life insurance policies
  • Free life insurance (MassMutual's LifeBridge Program)

Bad for

  • Smoker and senior life insurance rates

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

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Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance is a strong insurer whether you are shopping for basic term insurance or looking for lifelong coverage through a permanent insurance policy. The company has competitive rates for standard applicants, but you may be able to find better quotes elsewhere if you smoke or are a senior. And if you have a preexisting condition and are looking for a guaranteed acceptance or no medical exam policy, then MassMutual would be a great choice, as it offers plans with these benefits. Customer reviews and ratings are above average—MassMutual cares about settling complaints and catering to its policyholders.

MassMutual Life Insurance Products

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, better known as MassMutual, is a mutual insurance company that offers life insurance as well as other investment products like 401(k)s and annuities. For this reason, MassMutual could be a great option if you are looking to handle your life insurance and retirement planning with a single company. The company's online portal allows you to log in to view all your retirement planning investments and easily adjust your benefits if your financial situation changes.

Policy offerings include term, whole and universal life insurance. All life insurance products through MassMutual have standard rider add-ons, such as waiver of premium and accelerated death benefit, at no additional cost—similar to other major insurers. The company also allows you to change your beneficiary at any time by filling out a change of beneficiary form. Once the form is completed, you would need to prove the existence of insurable interest.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is available through MassMutual's Vantage Term policies, which provide affordable life insurance coverage for a set period of time. Term policies through MassMutual are guaranteed level, meaning premiums will not increase during the term period.

You can purchase Vantage Term plans with a death benefit from $100,000 to over $10 million. Coverage lengths for this policy include:

  • 10 years
  • 15 years
  • 20 years
  • 25 years
  • 30 years

Once the initial term period has ended, you have the ability to renew the policy annually but will likely incur a larger premium. Alternatively, all Vantage Term plans can be converted to permanent life insurance such as MassMutual's Whole Life Legacy products.

MassMutual offers competitive rates for its term life insurance products when compared to other top insurers. The graph below shows quotes for MassMutual's Vantage Term 20 product against other 20-year term policies.

MassMutual vs Top Rated

As you can see, MassMutual offers better than average rates for a standard applicant when compared to some of the top rated insurers like New York Life. However, it is not the cheapest option available—Protective Life Insurance offers the same product for $3 less per month.

MassMutual also is more expensive than similar insurers for other applicant groups like smokers and seniors. For this reason, you may want to consider a different life insurance provider with cheaper rates if you fall into this category. For instance, Northwestern Mutual has some of the cheapest rates for smokers and seniors in the industry. In the graph below, we have compared MassMutual quotes with Northwestern Mutual's Level Term insurance.

MassMutual vs Northwestern

MassMutual Direct Term

The Direct Term life insurance option through MassMutual allows you to buy life insurance quickly through a simple online application process. Direct Term insurance is best if you are looking for instant insurance coverage and do not want to take a medical exam. This policy has coverage lengths of 10, 20 or 30 years but smaller possible face values of $100,000 to $2 million. Once you complete your application, and if you are approved, then your life insurance coverage would be in effect immediately. However, if MassMutual also requires you to complete a medical exam based on your responses, you would need to have this completed within 90 days of your application being approved for coverage to remain in effect.

MassMutual also sells term life insurance online through its subsidiary Haven Life. This online provider similarly uses your medical history to set rates, and it is common for healthy and younger individuals to not be required to take a medical exam or drug test at all. All policies sold through Haven Life are underwritten by MassMutual, but they do have some differentiating factors that you should consider. For example, Haven's InstantTerm product only offers up to $1 million in coverage immediately with no medical exam required.

Whole Life Insurance

The simplest form of permanent life insurance offered at MassMutual is its Legacy whole life insurance policy. Whole life insurance provides lifelong coverage by allowing you to pay premiums for a set period of time. Legacy products include:

  • Legacy 100
  • Legacy 65
  • Legacy 20
  • Legacy 10
  • Legacy High Early Cash Value (HECV)

Above are the product marketing names for all of MassMutual's whole life products. The Legacy 65 and 100 imply that premiums are guaranteed level until you reach the age of 65 and 100, respectively. This is different than the Legacy 10 or 20, which imply that the policy can be paid up in 10 and 20 years, respectively. For example, the Legacy 10 or 10 Pay whole life insurance product has the shortest pay period offered by MassMutual, but since this policy has a short pay period, the premiums will be more expensive than a longer policy like the Legacy 20.

The most unique Legacy product is the Legacy High Early Cash Value whole life policy. This insurance is similar to single premium life insurance in that a large portion or all of the premiums will be paid within the first year. This means that the policy would be fully funded and have the greatest cash value accumulation.

All Legacy whole life insurance plans are participating, meaning the policy is eligible for dividends. MassMutual is a mutual insurance company and all whole life policyholders are classified as stakeholders in the company. For this reason, if the company has a positive financial performance during the year, then a policyholder may receive a dividend. MassMutual has consistently paid a dividend throughout its history. These dividends could be used to increase the death benefit or cash value in the policy or subsidize your monthly premium payments.

Long-Term Care (LTC) Access Rider

With all Legacy whole life insurance products, you have the option to add the LTC Access rider, which is similar to an accelerated death benefit rider offered by most life insurance companies. This policy add-on will come with an additional premium and allows you to use a portion of your death benefit to pay for long-term care. Any benefit that you use for long-term care will reduce the death benefit left over in your legacy whole life policy. However, the money you receive is not taxable as income, and thus you would receive the full amount. This type of rider is best if you are older or worried about your family's ability to pay for long-term care if you need it when you are a senior.

Simplified Issue Whole Life Insurance

The Simplified Issue Whole Life product is similar to MassMutual's Direct Term policy, as it can be applied for completely online. This policy is available for people between the ages of 40 and 80 years old and is designed to cover end-of-life expenses like funeral costs or debts. Coverage amounts range from $2,000 to $25,000.

Simplified Issue is unique in that no medical exam will be required for coverage. Instead, you would answer a few health and lifestyle questions. If you still do not qualify for the Simplified Issue policy after the questionnaire, MassMutual also offers Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance for people aged between 50 and 75 years old. When applying for MassMutual's Guaranteed Acceptance plan, you cannot be denied coverage for any health reasons, but the quote you receive for coverage will be higher.

Universal Life Insurance

MassMutual has a universal life insurance product that is similar when compared to other companies' policies in the life insurance industry. These policies have a death benefit that is guaranteed throughout your life if premiums are paid into the plan. Furthermore, universal life gives you the ability to increase or decrease the premium that you pay each month to accommodate your financial situation.

Universal life insurance also has a cash value component that builds over time. As you pay premiums for your policy, a portion of the money will go toward fees while a separate portion will be deposited into the cash value account. This account will grow at a minimum guaranteed interest rate throughout the life of the plan but can perform better depending on the insurer's market performance. The cash value can be used as:

  • Surrender Value- You may decide you want to cancel your life insurance policy, in which case, you could give it back to the insurer and receive the cash value back.
  • Premium Payments- Cash value can be used to pay a portion or all of your monthly premiums.
  • Loan Collateral- You can take out a loan from your insurance provider and use the accumulated cash value as collateral.

Variable Universal Life Insurance

Variable universal life (VUL) insurance differs from a standard universal policy in that the interest rate for the cash value has more potential growth but also downside risk if the market performs poorly. When you first receive your VUL policy, you will be given a variety of options for how your cash value will be invested. These options are similar to mutual funds in that they are a group of securities such as:

  • An index (S&P 500)
  • Bonds
  • Money market fund
  • Portfolio of equities

Other than the interest rate for the cash value, variable universal life insurance operates the same as universal life in that the death benefit is guaranteed and there are a variety of options for how you can use your cash value account.

Group Life Insurance

If you own a business and want to provide life insurance as a benefit for your employees, then you could offer coverage through MassMutual's group life insurance policies. Group plans are available as term, whole or universal life insurance. You can also choose to include group policy add-ons, such as critical illness and accident coverage riders.

MassMutual's LifeBridge Program

The LifeBridge plan through MassMutual is its free life insurance program. The program provides a free life insurance policy for eligible parents and is designed to provide protection for your child's education in the event you pass away. Under the LifeBridge program, MassMutual would issue a $50,000 policy to a trust for a 10-year period with no cost to you. If you passed away during that period, payments for education expenses would begin immediately. This money could be used to pay for tuition, books and campus room and board.

Eligibility for the free life insurance program is restricted to individuals who are:

  • Between the ages of 19 and 42
  • A parent or legal guardian to a dependent under the age of 18
  • A US permanent or legal resident
  • Currently employed with a total family income not less than $10,000 or more than $40,000
  • In good health

MassMutual Customer Reviews & Complaints

MassMutual is a great choice for life insurance if you are looking for a financially stable provider. Financial strength ratings for MassMutual are overall good with an A.M. Best rating of A++ (Superior) and Standard & Poor's AA+ (Very Strong). These ratings indicate that MassMutual is positioned well to pay claims and is financially healthy.

MassMutual has received average grades and reviews from some of the largest rating companies. This includes the Better Business Bureau, which has not given MassMutual accreditation status and instead a rating of B. This is due to some negative customer reviews for its policy service and claims department. Additionally, MassMutual has an NAIC complaint ratio of 0.06. The median complaint is a 1.00, and having this low of a ratio implies that MassMutual is conscious about responding to customer issues.

MassMutual's CEO is Roger Crandall, and the company is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Comments and Questions

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.