One of just a handful of companies who made their debut predating the 1900’s, The Equitable has a very storied past with a company age doubling or tripling some of its rivals. With a national and international reach, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company has stood the test of time, and still continues to be a giant among the largest life insurance companies in the United States. But should you trust them with your life insurance simply based on this? While we think they are one of the top U.S. life insurance companies, it’s for a select few products. When you are protecting your family, your business, or even your estate, you want to buy life insurance from a company is reputable, financially strong, and is still a great value. Our AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company review will help you to discern whether you should keep them on your radar, or find another carrier. Let’s begin.
OUR AXA EQUITABLE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY REVIEW FOR
2017 Getting its start more than 155 years ago, Henry Baldwin Hyde was the original founder of The Equitable, which was previously called The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States. After just a decade of being in business, the company would go on to write more new businesses in comparison to all others companies around the globe. With innovation and an eagerness to succeed, the company continuously made strides to be the best it could be, from making it their priority to paying claims immediately to establishing new products, like their join annuity, to building massive skyscrapers unheard of at the time, The Equitable stuck to its roots and built a strong foundation which has outlasted many.
AXA IS FINANCIALLY SOUND
This has translated to some of the most prolific amounts of business being generated, and trust is strong because of the company’s exceedingly strong reputation. A.M. Best has rated them “A+” while Fitch an “AA-”, Moody’s an “Aa3” and Standard & Poor’s an “AA-” score. This puts The Equitable beyond the reach of many other companies and ranks them among the top 8% of all companies by rating. In 1992, the AXA Group purchased The Equitable in what may be one of the largest purchases of the time, raking in $1B in funding as it transitioned to a stock holding company instead of its long-standing mutual status. While few companies still hold mutual, the opportunity allowed the company to expand into more markets, especially outside of the United States. This helped them expand into all the markets they now serve, including:
- Life Insurance
- Vision Insurance
- Dental Insurance
- Individual Investments
- Retirement Plans (401k, 403b, 457b)
While each of these could be expanded greatly, we’re going to focus our attention on the life insurance from AXA Equitable.
LIFE INSURANCE PRODUCTS FROM AXA
To start, there are many types of life insurance offered by AXA, including:
- Term Life
- Universal Life
- Indexed Universal Life
- Variable Universal Life
- Survivorship Life
- Whole Life
BrightLife® Term is the name of their core term life insurance product, which varies quite a bit from many other companies in the duration availability alone. The BrightLife® Term comes in:
- 1 Year (annual renewable term)
- 5 Year
- 10 Year
- 15 Year
- 20 Year
Not many carriers have an annual term, called the BrightLife® TermOne®, and most do have a 30 year term, so in this regard, AXA clearly has a focus on owning term for less time and owning a permanent policy eventually. In fact, their term policies are convertible, with conversion credits from paid premiums, within the first 60 months of the policy. Available riders on term include a Living Benefit Rider, Children’s Term Rider, and Disability Waiver of Premium Rider.
The core universal life offering from AXA is their BrightLife® Protect. It’s a permanent life insurance product with a little bit of flexibility built in, just in case. This choice is for someone who wants to know there are built in guarantees, like the death benefit, which is guaranteed level for 40 years or until your age reaches 90.In addition, cash value builds up, and you can access the cash through loans or surrender, depending on which you choose. Of course, loans go against the policy value, and interest accrues until it is paid back. The BrightLife® Protect is best for someone who wants more focus on guaranteed death benefit, than growth.
However, if you’re looking for a little more accumulation, perhaps the BrightLife® Grow is for you. Much like the more basic universal choice above, it focuses on cash accumulation by more aggressively targeting market indices for cash growth.
The IncentiveLife Optimizer® III and the IncentiveLife Optimizer® III are the final universal products offered by AXA, though you will need to speak to a registered representative of the company for purchase, as they are tied to the market. Because of this risk, it cannot be sold in any other way. Of course, with risk, comes the possibility of more reward, which is what these policies are built for. Ideally, they aid in cash accumulation and preservation, while aiding in keeping the contents and payout in a tax-advantaged way.
There are three choices for a survivorship plan:
1. BrightLife® Grow Survivorship 2. BrightLife® Protect Survivorship 3. Athena Survivorship Universal Life℠ IV More complex situations call for more complex solutions, which is what the survivorship policies from AXA aim to do. Remember, a survivorship product is usually for asset accumulation or preservation, and the insurance portion is split over two lives, not one. You will definitely want to talk to a licensed agent, like us, if you feel your estate requires such planning.
AXA’s Interest Sensitive Whole Life is a pretty straightforward permanent product, with level premiums and a guaranteed minimum death benefit. Assuming the policy is paid on time, the guaranteed minimum cash will also equal the policy death benefit by the insured’s age of 100.As with most whole life policies, you do have access to cash via loans (or policy surrender), though it will affect the long-term performance and death benefit payout unless repaid. Here are some other key aspects of the Interest Sensitive Whole Life:
- Issues ages from 0 – 85 (based on rating)
- Some eligible for Guaranteed Issue
- The minimum death benefit of $50,000 However, something to note here is you cannot reduce the coverage amount once the policy is in force. This is also something which differs from many other whole life providers, like New York Life, Northwestern Mutual, or Massachusetts Mutual. Other carriers are usually okay with a decrease in death benefit somewhere down the road in the event $50,000 is too much, or simply costs to much. Available riders include Disability Waiver of Premium, Children’s Term, Living Benefits Rider, and an automatic premium loan option which can take a small loan from the policy to keep it in force when payments are missed.
OUR FINAL THOUGHTS
While AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company is strong, we definitely feel they are best for distinct situations tailored to those who need more permanent products. If you want cheap term, look elsewhere. However, if you are one of those individuals who require a strong, financially stable carrier to host your estate plan, permanent coverage, or accumulation product, AXA Equitable might be a solid fit.