John Hancock Life Insurance Review

The company was chartered in April of 1862 as John Hancock Mutual Insurance Company and, of course, the name comes from a prominent US patriot.

Fast forward to the year 2000, the original company formally ceased to exist and a new one, John Hancock Financial Services, became the new one. Four years later, Manulife Financial (based in Canada) successfully acquired the company as its subsidiary in order to boost its presence in the US.

John Hancock is a Canadian company (I had no idea)? Something just seems odd about that J

Financial Ratings

John Hancock has been one of the most highly-rated life insurance companies in the US for a long time, receiving the following scores:

A+ from A.M Best (Superior ability to meet financial obligations)

A1 from Moody’s (Good financial security)

AA– from Standard & Poor (Very strong financial security)

AA- from Fitch (very strong ability to meet contract and policyholder obligations)

Company Review

With more than 150 years of experience in the life insurance business, John Hancock is one of the most easily-recognizable brands in the insurance sector. But how does it stack up against the current competition? Let’s start by taking a look at what they currently offer.

John Hancock Life Insurance Policies

John Hancock offers the following life insurance policies:

Term Life Insurance

John Hancock’s most basic and affordable life insurance. You can choose from policies that range from 10, 15, and 20 years. This serves as the best option for people looking for coverage for a certain number of years with the flexibility to adjust as needed. Flexible because like most term coverage, they allow policyholders to convert it to permanent insurance later on.

This would be for people who need:

  • Income replacement when the primary breadwinner passes away
  • Coverage during the years when you’re kids are going to school
  • Paying off short-term and long-term debts
John Hancock Life Insurance Review
Sample quote for a 38-year old male in excellent health, non-smoker, and coverage of $350,000

Universal Life Insurance

John Hancock’s Universal Life Insurance features the option to customize your premiums. Being permanent life insurance, you’ll have lifetime coverage with a cash value feature that allows you to build up additional savings.

This would be for people who need:

  • More options for paying off their premiums while retaining permanent coverage

Indexed Universal Life Insurance

A “subtype” universal life insurance that retains its main features (flexibility in premium payments) but differs in how the cash value gets invested. In Indexed UL, the cash value earns interest based on the performance of a  linked indexed account. John Hancock actually mentions on their website that their Indexed UL has better potential in accumulating cash value compared to other types of universal life insurance.

This would be for people who need:

  • Permanent life protection that has flexible payment terms for people who prefer their cash value investment be tied to an index for potential better returns.

Variable Life Insurance

John Hancock’s Variable Life Insurance features lifetime protection while at the same time providing more flexibility in how your cash value is invested. The policyholder is given the ability to choose their own investments from a variety of options.

The growth of the cash value in the account will depend on the performance of the investments (which are not guaranteed). JH also allows policyholders to customize their investment choices over time which helps them develop an investment strategy for their cash value assets.

This would be for people who need:

  • More control over how their cash value gets invested while still having the same benefits of permanent life insurance (ability to borrow against the cash value, lifetime protection)

John Hancock Final Expense Life Insurance

JH offers guaranteed acceptance on their final expense insurance. This is actually the only product in their line-up that can be considered as whole life insurance.

The minimum coverage you can get is $2,000 and can go up to $20,000. A survey conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association in 2016 revealed that the average final expenses (funeral and burial) in the US are around $8,000 to $9,000. A final expense insurance should at least ease off the burden of the bulk of the expenses from the beneficiaries.

Payments are guaranteed to never go up (level premiums) as long as the policy is in place and there are no medical exams required.

This would be for people who need:

  • Funds to help take care of their final expenses when they pass away.
John Hancock Life Insurance Review

Life Insurance Riders

This is an area that the company can definitely improve upon as they currently don’t offer a lot of options when it comes to life insurance riders. Here are the 4 main options policyholders can opt for:

Long Term Care (LTC) Rider

  • Using this feature, you can take a portion of your death benefit and use that for paying your long-term care needs. This allows policyholders to access funds that they can use to pay nursing home expenses.
  • You can select from 1, 2, or 4 percent of the face value with the monthly acceleration benefit. This can be activated automatically if the policyholder can no longer perform 2 or more of the following activities: taking a bath, toilet use, continence, dressing, and eating.

Total Disability Waiver Rider

  • In the event that the policyholder has an accident and becomes completely disabled, John Hancock will waive the premiums for up to 6 consecutive months

Accelerated Death Benefit Rider

  • This applies to policyholders who get diagnosed with terminal illnesses and have less than a year to live. The rider allows them to use up to 50 percent of the death benefit in their policy

Conversion Extension Rider

  • Available for policyholders with term insurance of either 15 or 20 years, this rider allows them to convert their coverage to permanent life

Underwriting Process

While newer insurance companies are pushing towards more advanced, big data-driven underwriting process (like what Haven Life and Ladder Life) paired still with traditional methods (listed below), John Hancock sticks with only traditional methods of underwriting via the following:

  • Medical Information Bureau (MIB) – This agency checks the applicant’s past life insurance applications including which ones got approved or denied.
  • Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) – This agency is responsible for recordkeeping instances of vehicle penalties or violations like DUI, speeding tickets, and others
  • Rx Database – In order to determine your health risk, insurers use the services of information service firms to view and analyze your records of any prescription drugs

John Hancock Vitality Program

John Hancock Life Insurance Review

CNN Business called John Hancock’s Vitality program as the company’s attempt to “turn life insurance into a wellness game”. And it fits the bill perfectly.

The John Hancock Vitality Program is an optional service that can be added to their existing insurance policies.

The goal, according to the company, is to give their life insurance customers significant discounts for trying to stay healthy. By logging into the program, members can log their health and fitness information in JH’s database in exchange for discounts from Amazon and Recreational Equipment Inc (REI), a US-based outdoor and sporting goods retailer.

The program comes in two versions:

Vitality Go: The basic program comes free with your life insurance policy

  • What you’ll get:
    • Amazon and REI discounts
    • 20 to 40 percent discounts on Fitbit, Garmin, and Polar (wearable fitness)
    • Free subscription to healthy-living type magazines

Vitality Plus: Gives users access to all the benefits of Vitality Go (see above) plus exclusive rewards. This might be included in the price of your policy already and if not, can be purchases at $2 per month.

  • What you’ll get:
    • All the features and benefits of Amazon Go
    • Up to 15% in savings in your life insurance premium payments
    • Option to get an Apple Watch for as little as $25 (or free Fitbit Alta)
    • 1 Year subscription to the popular meditation app, Headspace
    • Up to $600 in healthy food savings from places like Nutrisavings, Edenred, and Walmart
    • Discounts from
    • Shopping and entertainment rewards from places like Amazon Prime, CVS Pharmacy, and Charity Choice

John Hancock Life Insurance Application Process

The JH website is easy to navigate and provides a decent amount of resources to help potential policyholders learn more about life insurance. That being said, their application process is quick and straightforward, requiring that you fill out some details online. Here are the steps:

  1. Visit the life insurance page of the official website
  2. On the drop-down menu, select “Get a Quote”
  3. Fill-out the required details so they can provide you with an estimate
  4. The next step is to click the “Apply Now” button on the right side
  5. Complete all the details. Some of the things they will require are:
    1. SSNs for yourself and your beneficiaries
    2. Driver’s license
    3. Banking information
    4. List of drug prescriptions and medications you have taken or are currently taking

The entire process takes about 15-20 minutes to complete. After which they will contact you for additional details or require any additional actions on your end.

Death Benefit Claim Process

They follow an easy and straightforward process for approving claims. You can either do it via this page on their website or simply call 1-800-387-2747 (USA) or 1-888-267-7784 (NY) if you want to speak with a live agent.

John Hancock Life Insurance Pros and Cons

Based on what we’ve seen so far, John Hancock pretty much offers most of the usual life insurance packages you can see on other top insurance providers in the US right now.

The main difference being they don’t have an actual Whole Life insurance policy as the focus seems to be placed on their Universal Life offerings. Here’s a breakdown of John Hancock’s life insurance pros and cons:


  • Solid financial ratings, financially stable insurance company that has been around for more than a century
  • They promote healthy living via their Vitality Program and offers it’s free on all their policies
  • Fairly fast application process via their official website
  • They are open to policyholders with existing health issues like hypertension, diabetes, and HIV
  • Their website is easy to navigate and has a decent amount of information discussing their product details along with additional educational information for both policyholders and guests


  • They don’t offer full Whole Life insurance policies
  • Overall processing of applications still takes time. The initial process is fast on the applicant’s end but the actual underwriting and approval can still take weeks to finish
  • Limited Life insurance rider options. They currently offer 4 riders only.

John Hancock Life Insurance: Is it right for you?

John Hancock is a world-recognized brand and insurance company that has been in the business for more than 150 years. With their respectable financial strength and stability, most people will feel safe to invest in and choose John Hancock as their life insurance provider.

Each one of us ultimately wants someone we can trust that will be there to support our beneficiaries when the time comes. In this regard, John Hancock is a solid choice.

John Hancock’s Vitality Program is both intuitive and helpful, allowing policyholders to get more savings and discounts if they stay healthy. Not only does this help their customers overall, but they also offer it at such a low price and even free (the basic version) on all their plans. It shows the company’s commitment to bringing both value and awareness to its customers.

Our John Hancock Life Insurance review reveals that the company remains a great choice for life insurance thanks to its financial strength, experience, and wellness programs. In 2017 alone, they claim to have paid out up to $5.7 billion in life insurance and long-term care benefits.

If you’re curious to know more about John Hancock and life insurance in general (along with other recommendations), feel free to speak with our helpful life insurance agents so they can discuss your options and answer your questions.