Jeff is a well-known speaker and expert in life insurance and financial planning. He has been featured and quoted in Nerdwallet, Bloomberg, Forbes, U.S. News & Money, USA Today, and other leading finance websites. He is a licensed life insurance agent and has helped over 3000 people secure life insurance. He is licensed in all 50 states & DC. Jeff has spoken at top insurance conferen...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2020

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You might be thinking you’re too young to bother with life insurance, or maybe wonder if you can afford it. However, life insurance is affordable and should be a central part of your financial strategy regardless of your age.

Finding the right life insurance can be tough with so many options available, but it’s critical to take the time to get the best coverage for your needs.

You don’t want to overextend yourself now, but you don’t want to shortchange your family in the future either.

You should make sure you get the right type of coverage and carefully review the insurance carrier you’re considering.

Are they in a stable financial position? Will they pay out when it counts?

With New York Life, you’ll work with a company that meets those standards head-on.

The History of New York Life

New York Life LogoAs the largest mutual life insurance company in the US and the third-largest life insurance company overall, New York Life Insurance Company was founded as Nautilus Mutual Life back in 1845.

Initially also selling marine and fire insurance, the company was rebranded as New York Life Insurance Company in 1849 to reflect its focus on life insurance.

In the 1840s, much like other contemporary insurance companies, one-third of company policies were for the life insurance of slaves by their owners. A vote by the board of trustees put a stop to this practice in 1848.

Policies were sold throughout the American Civil War, and growth continued over the following century with a branch office system introduced in 1892.

By 1894, women were offered life insurance at no extra cost, and New York Life was the first insurance company to cover the disabled and those with dangerous jobs.

By 1928, the New York Life Building opened on Madison Avenue. When the stock market crashed in 1929, New York Life’s decision to invest in real estate and government stocks meant they emerged with assets intact and relatively unscathed.

After WWII, New York Life started investing in real estate and opened a mortgage-loan program tailored for veterans. By the 1970s, the company was selling mutual funds and annuities.

Remaining a mutual fund while many other mutual funds became publicly traded companies, New York Life continued to diversify in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis by channeling cash into treasury bonds.

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New York Life Today

New York Life offers a remarkable choice of life insurance policies, as you’d expect from the number three US life insurance company.

Owned by policyholders and with no outside shareholders, a portion of earnings are paid out in dividends. Operating income was $1.95 billion in 2016 with over $570 billion in assets under management.

Through affiliates, New York Life also offers mutual funds (retail and institutional) along with a suite of securities products.

New York Life penetrated the Mexican market in 1999 with the acquisition of Seguros Monterrey.

In 2013, the company acquired Dexia Asset Management, making it one of the biggest global asset managers, ranking 26th worldwide. Money is managed through a series of independent investment boutiques.

The New York Life Charitable Foundation is responsible for philanthropy.

Insurer Ratings

As such a diverse company ranked so highly on the Fortune 500, it’s no surprise that New York Life has the highest ratings, indicating financial strength from all the major credit rating agencies.

  • AM Best Company: Superior A++
  • Fitch Ratings: Extremely Strong AAA
  • Moody’s Investors Service: Extremely Strong Aaa
  • Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings: AA+

Life Insurance Products Offered By New York Life

New York Life offers a remarkably robust choice of life insurance to cover just about any needs.

  • Term Life
  • Whole Life
  • Custom Universal Life Guarantee
  • Universal Life
  • Instant Legacy Premium Universal Life
  • Variable Universal Life Insurance Accumulator

Term Life

With term life insurance coverage with New York Life, you can choose from four different options:

  • One-Year (Nonrenewable)
  • Yearly Convertible
  • Level Convertible
  • Family Protection

Minimum face values range from $100,000 to $250,000. The annual term policies are similar except the convertible policy allows you to renew coverage.

With the level convertible policy, premiums are locked in for a predetermined number of years.

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During the first decade, this can be converted to a permanent policy with no further medical exam required. It can also be renewed annually to the age of 90.

The family protection policy gives coverage for the whole family, although minors are covered to a maximum of $10,000. For adults, coverage ranges from $100,000 to $1 million.

Term coverage can be taken out by 15 to 90 years old with variations for each of the four policies. There are also a number of optional riders.

Whole Life

Whole life coverage extends beyond a fixed term giving you coverage for as long as you live.

You get three choices of whole life insurance with New York Life:

  • Standard
  • Custom
  • Value

These policies are similar, and each one provides protection for your whole life with cash value building at a guaranteed rate. Premiums are level, and you’ll be eligible for dividends.

The main differences concern how you pay and the rate at which cash value accumulates. Minimum face value starts at $50,000.

Custom Universal Life Guarantee

If you want permanent life insurance but you don’t want a cash value policy, the custom universal life guarantee policy provides you with a death benefit, but the premiums are lower to reflect the missing investment component.

Coverage extends to a specified age up to 121.

The minimum face value for this policy is $100,000 with premiums level for the duration.

Universal Life

New York Life’s universal life policy gives you the advantage of permanent coverage but with cash value building up at a higher rate. You can even use this cash value to pay premiums.

Various payout options are available, and these impact the premiums you’ll pay.

The rate of cash value accumulation varies according to the face value of your policy, although there’s a guaranteed minimum 2.5% interest crediting.

These policies are highly flexible, but they also carry more risk. You can mitigate this risk with a no-lapse rider to safeguard depleted cash value leading to failure to cover payments.

Instant Legacy Premium Universal Life

This single premium policy offers reduced risk compared to regular universal life coverage. You’ll make one lump sum payment, and you’ll get coverage for your whole life.

The policy will mature at the age of 100 with 4% interest crediting guaranteed. Policies are available from 18 to 85 with a $10,000 minimum premium. The maximum is age-dependent up to $125,000.

Underwriting is simplified with no medical exam required.

Variable Universal Life Insurance Accumulator

This policy is broadly similar to standard universal life coverage. The difference is that you can choose how your cash value gets invested to some extent.

The minimum face value is $50,000, and you need to be under age 80.

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Other Products Offered

While New York Life’s primary offering is life insurance, they also provide long-term care insurance and annuities.

You can choose from a wide array of investments.

How To Get The Best Rates With New York Life

Even if you’re confident that you want life insurance coverage from New York Life, it’s worth exploring the other top life insurance companies.

Using an independent agency or brokerage is the best approach. You’ll have access to a greater choice of companies and policies, and this will widen your options.

As a fully independent brokerage, we’re here to help you on your journey.

We can guarantee you the best quotes from the top life insurance companies, and you can make sure your family is provided for when you’re not around to help them yourself.

Get an instant quote from us today and give us a call if you’ve got any specific questions.