New York Life Insurance Review

New York Life Insurance Company is the third biggest insurance provider in the US and claims the top spot when it comes to mutual funds.

With total assets of more than $570 billion, they manage a big portion of the wealth of US residents both in insurance and other financial products. Operating since 1845, their financial experience and stability are what makes them one of the premier insurers in the world.

This is our comprehensive review of New York Life Insurance Company.

History of New York Life Company

The company was originally named Nautilus Mutual Life when it launched in 1845. Aside from life insurance, they also sold fire and marine insurance. After 4 years, the company changed its name to New York Life Insurance company.

Within less than 5 years in operation, they were already managing a third of NY city resident’s insurance policies.

They were among the first insurance companies to use agents to find new customers for their life insurance products. It went so well that in 1892, the company introduced the branch system, wherein the company opened up in several locations across the US to serve as liaisons between its main headquarters and agents.

NY Life was also the first insurance company in the US to price their life insurance products equally for both men and women in 1894. Two years later, they claimed the recognition for being the first company to provide insurance to people with disabilities and work in hazardous jobs.

Today, New York Life is ranked number 69 on the Fortune 500. The magazine also recognized them as one of the “Most Admired Companies” in the life insurance category in 2017. As an employer, NY Life prides itself for being included in Forbes’ list of America’s Best Large Employers in 2017.

Financial Ratings

When it comes to financial stability, few can come close to what New York Life has accomplished. As of October 2018, NYL remains one of only two life insurance companies to receive the highest financial ratings from all four major rating agencies (out of 800 insurers across the US).

New York Life Insurance Review

Source: NY Life

New York Life Insurance Products

Term Life Insurance

If you want to spend the least amount of money for coverage that lasts anywhere between 10-20 years, this is your best choice. Plus, you can convert it to permanent later on should you feel the need for it.

Choose from the following options:

Yearly Convertible – Term life insurance that is renewable each year. Since it essentially starts and ends annually, a new premium is quoted for each renewal. You don’t have to undergo a medical exam to renew it. This new rate is based on the age of the policyholder during the time the policy was bought. Convertible to whole life per the policyholder’s request.

Level Premium Convertible – Term life insurance that has level-premiums that are available in 10 or 20-year lengths. At any point during the first 10 years of the policy, it can be converted into whole life coverage.

New York Life Term Insurance Riders

  • Spouse’s Paid-Up Option
  • Policy Purchase Option
  • Disability Waiver of Premium
  • Living Benefits Option

The company has two options for its Yearly Convertible term. One can be renewed annually (until you reach 90 years old) while the other is fixed as a single premium coverage for one year only. This may look like a viable option to people looking to get protection for a short period of time only, and not quite set for the long term commitment (whether due to financial capacity or preference).

Their Level Premium Convertible, on the other hand, works pretty much like your typical term life insurance policy. You’ll get coverage for a certain number of years while having level premiums. Once the initial term length has passed (10, 15, or 20), you have the option to renew it every year until you reach 90 years old.

Whole Life Insurance

New York Life is known for their Whole Life insurance. It’s for the person who prioritizes a lifetime’s worth of protection (with premiums that will never increase) with the added benefit of cash value. This allows you to use your insurance as an emergency fund that you can access via loans or withdrawals.

Choose from the following options:

Value Whole Life – Perhaps the best option for people getting closer to retirement as premiums will be focused on the death benefit. What you pay will be level for life and benefits are guaranteed.

Whole Life – Provides the best balance between the death benefit and cash value accumulation. You have the option to use the cash value for paying your premiums.

Custom Whole Life – The most customizable and flexible permanent life option from New York Life. You can pay your premiums for as short as 5 years. You have the option to choose when and how to pay your premiums depending on your financial capacity or investing strategy.

New York Life Insurance Review

New York Life Whole Life Insurance Riders

  • Option to Purchase Paid-Up Additions
  • Policy Purchase Option
  • Chronic Care option
  • Accidental Death Benefit Option

These 3 whole life insurance choices mainly differ in term of how the cash value grows and when the premiums are to be paid. It’s important to note that all 3 have the potential to receive dividends even if they are not guaranteed.

If you want the best balance between the death benefit and cash value potential, the NY Life Whole Life option will be your best bet. It’s the most “standard” whole life insurance offering in their stables. You get level premiums until you reach 100 years old, after which you will no longer be required to pay premiums and still have the policy in force.

Here are their minimum policy benefits of NY Life standard Whole Life according to age group:

  • Under 18 years old – $50,000
  • Over 18 years old – $25,000
  • Over 18 and in preferred health class – $100,000

NY Life’s Custom Whole Life insurance will be ideal for people who want to make premium payments during specific years only. For example, let’s say you’re currently earning a comfortable amount of income right now.

It would make sense to put some of it in paying your premiums while you still can so you won’t have to pay for it later. Plus, you’ll be able to lock-in the rates and allows you to build your cash value faster, increasing its earning potential. If you choose this option, the minimum death benefit is $50,000 with a minimum of 5 years before you reach 75 years old.

NY Life Value Whole Life insurance presents an alternative option since you get to pay less in premiums but still have the benefits of whole life protection. The only downside is that your cash value grows at a slower rate.

Universal Life Insurance

If you feel like your needs are in-between term and whole life insurance—something that features a mix of their strengths—then NY Life’s Universal Life Insurance might just be the perfect policy for you. Among all options, it offers the most long-term protection for your dollar and provides the flexibility to make adjustments to how and when you make payments for the premium.

Choose from the following options:

Current Performance – Gives you the freedom to change both your premiums and death benefits depending on your needs. With this option, you get to enjoy long-term protection while having the ability to update your terms of payment.

Custom Guarantee – You’ll have guaranteed death benefit for as long you wish as long as you’re able to pay the required level premiums.

Variable Life Insurance

Some people who have the appetite for risk and would like to capture the potential gains brought by the market might want to consider NY Life Variable Universal Life insurance. Essentially, you’re getting more control over the investment portion (cash value) of your life insurance premiums.

You can choose to make the investment picks yourself or hand over the reins to their investment managers. This allows for more investment flexibility while still having the peace of mind of life insurance.

Which type of New York Life Insurance is for you?

Term Whole Variable Universal
Definition Allows you to get cheap and affordable insurance for a specific period of time (temporary) Lifetime protection that is guaranteed plus cash value component Long-term protection (almost a lifetime) with more control over choosing the investments for the cash value Long-term protection with more flexible payment schemes
Duration 10 or 20 years You will be protected for your whole lifetime provided you pay your premiums Long term Up to 120 years
Method of payment Pay for your premium as long as the policy is in force. Prices are locked in and not bound to increase You can pay monthly, quarterly, or annual. Premiums are guaranteed to never increase. Allows for more flexible payment schemes. You can stick with your initial premium rate or adjust it based on your needs or situation Allows for more flexible payment schemes. You can stick with your initial premium rate or adjust it based on your needs or situation
Cash Value Component None. Your cash value is guaranteed to grow (tax-free) albeit at a specific rate. You can access this cash value (loan or withdrawal) Growth of your cash value depends on the investments on the market. Can also be accessed and grows tax-free. Cash value can be utilized for premium payments. Also grows tax-free.
Death benefit feature Death benefit is awarded to beneficiaries tax-free. Death benefit is awarded to beneficiaries tax-free. Death benefit is awarded to beneficiaries tax-free. Death benefit is awarded to beneficiaries tax-free

Are they right for you?

It’s easy to recommend a company based on its popularity and brand recognition. With more than 100 years of experience and a strong financial foothold, New York Life has been known to be one of the best when it comes to life insurance.

But there’s no one size fits-all-solution when it comes to choosing life protection. Each person will have varying levels of needs and paying capacity which means my preference will differ from yours and the next person.

Ultimately, your decision to go with one carrier will be based on your personal assessment of their products, if they have the right balance of pros and cons that works best for your case.

That being said, let’s take a look at the factors that make New York Life a good choice for your life insurance:

NY Life Insurance Pros:

  • Stable and financially sound financial services company with more than 100 years of experience. This means the company will have the capacity to meet current and future obligations to policyholders and beneficiaries.
  • Strong financial rating from independent agencies
  • Wide variety of insurance products ranging from term to various types of permanent insurance
  • Offers a wide range of riders to make your policy more flexible and valuable
  • Their Whole life insurance product line-up provides a good mix of choices based on the policyholder’s needs
  • NY Life offers dividend payouts for their whole life policyholders

NY Life Insurance Cons:

  • Online access seems limited, also, specific details of their life insurance products are not readily available to potential customers
  • You have to call them or speak with an agent if you want to request a quote
  • Term life coverage maxes out at 20 years
  • Compared to newer players like Haven Life, Ladder, and Banner Life, NY Life’s underwriting process is slow as they still follow the traditional route

There’s a reason why New York Life remains one of the top life insurance companies. And that’s their financial strength, stability, and experience in the life insurance industry.

The company’s focus seems to be on their Whole Life insurance products, given the number of options they have available. Their term life insurance, for example, only maxes up to 20 years, which is short compared to the typical 30-year maximum.

So, if you’re shopping for term life insurance, it might be best to look elsewhere for better rates and faster underwriting. Also, they’re known to have a stringent underwriting process and generally aren’t as flexible as other insurers in approving applications. This means people looking to get life insurance with heart issues or other health conditions might have better success with other companies.

If you’re in the market for whole life insurance, however, NY Life is a strong choice. Aside from the number of choices to choose from based on your risk appetite, needs, and financial capacity to pay premiums, they also give their policyholders the chance to collect dividends from their cash value. It’s worth noting that these dividends (though not guaranteed) are paid on top of the interest gains.

If you need help in deciding which life insurance policy and company to choose, speak with one of our online agents or get a FREE quote.