As we mentioned in the previous article, universal life (UL) was introduced in 1981-82, in response to a historically high interest environment and a consumer awareness of the value of self-directed investments because traditional insurance could not compete with short-term interest rates.
Here are some characteristics as follow
1. Account Value
The account value of a universal life plan is the sum of the gross values of all the investment accounts within the policy, including income, after deductions for the current month expenses.
2. Cash Surrender Value
The cash surrender value of a universal life plan is the current account value, less outstanding loans and surrender charges. Surrender charges are usually based upon a multiple of the minimum required premium for the policy back-end charges are larger than front-end charges.
3. Premiums & Contributions
Premiums are those amounts needed to pay the cost of insurance charges and other expenses for the policy. Deposits are those excess amounts that are of a pure investment nature.
4. Death Benefit Options
The amount of death benefit payable under a universal life policy is based upon 1 of 4 different options
a)Level death benefit: Level coverage throughout the lifetime of the policy.
b) Level death benefit plus cumulative gross premiums: Death benefit increases by the amount of each gross deposit to the policy.
c) Level death benefit, indexed: The amount of death benefit increases, yearly, by a predetermined percentage.
d) Level death benefit plus account value: The total amount of death benefit is always equal to the initial face amount, plus the gross account value. This is the most popular chose by 90% of universal life insurance policies’ owners because
the gross account value is tax free.
5. Premium Flexibility
The premium deposits, plus accrued investment income, must be sufficient to pay for all expenses and deductions, so as to keep the policy in force, tax exempt life insurance contract, flexible premium.
Universal life is not for every consumer
It’s flexibility tends to be reflected in much higher administration costs than are found in traditional whole life plans and the variable nature of the plan may make it unsuitable for those clients wanting guarantees.