Skyrocketing Premiums Present Challenge For Universal Life Policy Holders

Elderly Man Walking Down Street

Older Americans today have many excellent reasons to pursue the sale of a life insurance policy in a life settlement, but one of the most prevalent reasons is the prohibitive cost of paying premiums. And for those maintaining a universal life policy, a recent Wall Street Journal article reports that some are paying double or even triple their original premiums because of an historic drop in interest rates.

According to the piece by Leslie Scism in the September 19, 2018 Wall Street Journal, many policyholders are finding that universal life hasn’t held up well over time, especially when a decade of low interest rates have depleted the tax-deferred savings account linked to the policies. The savings accounts are designed to offset the cost of renewing the insurance each year, but as interest rates have stayed down the accounts have been insufficient to stave off skyrocketing premiums.

The article cited one case study in which a 55-year-old had purchased a $1 million policy in 1988 with an annual premium of $12,000. By the time that individual turned 80 in 2013, the savings account was gone and the premium had jumped to $50,000 a year. In another case, an 85-year-old retired teacher was paying $30,000 a year for his three universal life policies—three times the premiums when the policies were issued.

One expert on the insurance industry, John Resnick, told the Wall Street Journal that many seniors “are sitting on a ticking time bomb, and they don’t even know it.” The article goes on to say, “Universal life is among the reasons Americans are approaching retirement in the worst shape in decades.”

Those who believe they are stuck paying exorbitant premiums while also trying to fund retirement costs like healthcare and housing must be educated about options like life settlements. Rather than surrender a policy, an individual faced with prohibitive premiums might be able to sell his policy for a much higher payout.

Seniors shouldn’t let prohibitively high premiums chain them to a policy that is doing them more harm than good. Depending on the health impairments of the insured and the cost structure of the original policy, a life settlement could yield a windfall considerably higher than the surrender value. When premiums become burdensome or the purpose for originally purchasing the life insurance policy no longer exists, a life settlement can turn a liability into an instant asset.

Providers like Magna stand ready to answer any questions seniors or their advocates may have about life settlements, and they can even access our simple life settlement calculator to determine their eligibility for a sale of their policy.





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