MassMutual

MassMutual is seen as reputable and dependable and is a good choice for someone seeking a solid insurer with a ‘policyholder first’ mindset: not the cheapest, but among the best. 

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8.2
Grand Score
8
User Score
8.2
Grand Score
8
User Score
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Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, or MassMutual, is one of the largest U.S. life insurers. It is a mutual company, so it is owned by its policyholders. Customers who buy certain permanent life products are eligible to receive dividend payments when the company does well. Although dividends are not guaranteed, it has paid life insurance dividends steadily since the 1860s and estimates a dividend of $1.6 billion will be paid to eligible members in 2018. In 2017, its dividend rate was 6.70 percent. From whole, universal and variable-universal to guaranteed acceptance policies, the company has been helping people secure their futures for more than 160 years. Although not a budget insurer, all the company offers – combined with excellent service – makes MassMutual an insurance provider worth considering. 

Grandfolk Scoring
Cost 8/10
Ease of enrollment 7/10
Coverage 8/10
Waiting period 8/10
Customer support 8/10
Maximum coverage 10/10
Exclusions 8/10
Financial strength 10/10
Medical exam required 9/10
Cost
Monthly premium
Varies based on age and other factors
Ease of enrollment
Ways you can enroll
Online or phone
Coverage
What types of insurance?
Whole, universal, variable and guaranteed acceptance policies
Waiting period
How soon is the policy in effect?
Up to one month with underwriting, fast on guaranteed acceptance
Customer support
Ease of access
Agents are available Mon-Fri, 8:00 AM-8:00 PM EST
Maximum coverage
What is the maximum coverage available?
Not stated for most policies
Exclusions
What isn’t covered?
Suicide exclusion not specified
Financial strength
A.M. Best’s Financial Strength Rate (FSR)
A++
Medical exam required
Is a medical exam required?
Yes, for all but Guaranteed Acceptance policy
Age Score:
9
50-65 Years
8
65-75 Years
8
75-85 Years
8
85-Above

We know that the sooner you purchase of insurance, the better because premiums are set by your age (along with other factors). Here time is not your friend. But if after careful analysis you still want more insurance to achieve some goal, the policy’s face value, cash accumulation rate and cost are important. However, a factor you should not ignore is the quality of customer service, since you will be starting a long-term relationship with the company, typically for the rest of your days. MassMutual draws an especially low number of complaints for a company its size, according to both the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Better Business Bureau. It offers ample ways to pay premiums and allows you to switch between electronic and paper billing as you wish. As you age, your preferences might change, and MassMutual is there to change with you.

Health Score:
8
Great Health
8
Good Health
8
Fair Health
7
Poor Health

Declining health makes it harder and harder to find an affordable permanent life insurance policy if you feel you still need one for your estate-planning. MassMutual is not one of the least expensive insurance providers, and its underwriting guidelines are not the most lenient. However, to not leave seniors in a bind, it offers a Guaranteed Acceptance life insurance policy for smaller amounts ($2,000-20,000), primarily to cover end-of-life expenses. This is available to virtually anyone between the ages of 50 and 75, no medical questions asked. This is not one of those burial policies offered on television. It guarantees coverage provided premiums are being paid correctly but has a level premium going forward. One drawback: its benefits are limited during the first two years.

Pros:

  • Although dividend payment is not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid them continuously since the 1860s. Its life insurance dividend rates beat its competitors’ year after year. In 2017, the dividend rate was 6.70 percent. 
  • MassMutual draws significantly fewer of complaints to state regulators than the median number for a company of its size, based on data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. 
  • MassMutual has only had 35 customer complaints with Better Business Bureau in three years, a very low rate for a company its size, and they responded well. 
  • The company offers payment flexibility: you can opt for eBill (electronic billing) then change back to paper billing if you prefer. You can make one-time or recurring monthly, quarterly or annual payments.
  • Claims can be filed by phone or using an online form, and the website provides extensive, supportive information to ease the process. 

Cons:

  • MassMutual’s website does not provide sufficient decision-level detail on its different policies, making you contact one of their advisors. 
  • Few of its products can be quoted online.
  • MassMutual’s rates may run higher than its competitors for many of its policies.
  • Its underwriting guidelines appear to be more strict than some other permanent insurance providers.

Bottom Line:

MassMutual has policies that offer potential customers variety in permanent life insurance options. Its pricing appears to be neither the most expensive, nor the least expensive, compared with competitors. The company is financially strong (FSR rating by A.M. Best of A++ Superior). On policies that offer dividends, it is a reliable dividend payer that has paid yearly since the 1860s. It also offers a small-value ($2,000-20,000) Guaranteed Acceptance Life policy with no medical exams or questions, to cover final expenses. That policy does, however, have limited benefits for the first two years. MassMutual has won several awards, including 2016 World’s Most Ethical Company from the Ethisphere Institute. Complaints with the Better Business Bureau are low and in 2017 J.D. Power ranked it 10th of the top 24 insurance companies for customer satisfaction. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does your whole life coverage include some kind of ‘accelerated death benefit?’ Yes, if you are diagnosed terminally ill with 12 months or less to live, you can use the Accelerated Death Benefit rider to access your death benefit early and can use the cash as you wish. Also, with any policy that has accumulated cash value, you can access those funds through withdrawal or a policy loan, although that will affect the final payout of the policy at the time of death.          

When does my coverage begin? Coverage begins only when the company approves your application for insurance, and the premium is paid. For policies requiring medical underwriting, it could take a month. For the Guaranteed Acceptance Life, you have your answer right away, but coverage is limited during the first two years.

What one thing sets this insurer apart from others? MassMutual stands apart because it is a mutual company, which means its policyholders are its owners, and it is not ruled by Wall Street. Also, on the policies that receive annual life insurance dividends, although payment is not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid them every year since the 1860s. 

More Information:

Product Details 

Overview: Permanent insurance is for life: it provides a death benefit for as long as you pay the premium, but also may include cash value that can be accessed during the insured person’s lifetime as a withdrawal or a policy loan. Any tax implications of withdrawals under different circumstances should be reviewed carefully. Final death benefits will be reduced by the value of total withdrawals or unpaid loans and interest. 

Package Details: 

Participating Whole Life Insurance: This policy builds cash value, provides an opportunity to earn dividends and offers a guaranteed death benefit. It requires medical underwriting, which means it does not offer an immediate yes-or-no decision. Enrolling requires speaking to MassMutual. While not guaranteed, the company has paid dividends to eligible participating policy owners every year since 1869. Borrowing or taking partial surrenders will increase the possibility that the policy will lapse. It may even trigger a tax liability if the policy ends before the death of the insured. 

Universal Life Insurance: This policy offers flexible premiums, provides an opportunity to build cash value and offers a guaranteed death benefit. It requires medical underwriting, which means it will not be an immediate yes-or-no decision. Enrolling requires speaking to MassMutual. Within certain limits, you can also decide how much premium to pay, assuming there is enough cash value in your policy to cover insurance and administrative charges. You can pay extra, or less, as needed. Depending on the premium you choose to pay, your account may build value. And if your account builds enough value, you can borrow from your policy for any reason you choose.

Variable Universal Life Insurance: This policy offers flexible premiums, provides investment options, plus an opportunity to build cash value. You can make your own investment choices that align with your goals and tolerance for market and investment risk. It requires medical underwriting, which means it will not be an immediate yes-or-no decision. Enrolling requires speaking to MassMutual. VUL allows flexible premium payments, letting you choose the amount and the frequency of your payments within certain limits. Most policies allow you to choose between a level death benefit or one that includes account value. Securities are offered through the registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC (MMLIS), or a broker-dealer that has a selling agreement with a subsidiary of MassMutual. 

Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance: This policy offers an affordable alternative to other permanent policies, guarantees acceptance provided you are between ages 50 and 75 and requires no medical exams or questioning. Since there is no medical underwriting, you can apply online and receive an immediate yes-or-no decision. As a ‘budget’ option, it offers lower death benefits than a standard whole life policy: $2,000-$20,000. The company guarantees level premiums throughout the life of the policy, and the death benefit is guaranteed provided premiums are paid up through your death. This policy is ideal for those who need to cover final expenses, cannot qualify medically for other options or cannot afford the high premiums that come with having waited too long. Benefits are limited during the first two years. The policy isn’t available in all states. This is the only MassMutual product for which online quoting is available.

Optional Accessories or Add-on Services: MassMutual’s available add-ons, or riders, to permanent life policies include the Accidental Death, Disability Income and Critical/Terminal Illness riders. 

Additional Company Details

Contract Details: View individual policies for details. 

Warranty: N/A 

Accreditations: MassMutual is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau. However, it holds an A rating on BBB’s website. It carries A.M. Best’s highest rating of A++ for financial strength and has a Comdex ranking of 98 out of 100 (average rating from the four major rating agencies).

Company Details:  MassMutual was founded in 1851 in Springfield, MA, during a boom in the young insurance industry. The concept of ‘living mutual’ has guided this mutual life insurance company since its founding. MassMutual today sells its flagship life insurance products along with annuities and other investments through a large network of agents across the country. It services around 5 million policyholders with $560 billion in life insurance protection in force. In 2017, it ranked #77 on the 2017 Fortune 500 list. Insurance products are issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company (Enfield, CT 06082).

Contact: 

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
1295 State Street, 

Springfield, MA 01111

Phone: 800-272-2216

Website: https://www.massmutual.com/

Sharon O'Day - Senior Advisor

Sharon O’Day fixes financial lives. She is a tell-it-like-it-is money expert with a successful career in global finance, plus an MBA from the Wharton School. Today she specializes in getting entrepreneurial women over 50 back on their game so they can have more money, less stress and more joy. With her “Over Fifty and Financially Free” strategies, they take actions that lead to their ultimate goal: financial peace of mind.