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If you're looking for an insurer with a wide variety of product types, Brighthouse’s limited product offerings may be a turn off. But if you are concerned about long-term care expenses, the company’s universal life plan provides not only a death benefit but also long-term care coverage that can increase based on the performance of a stock market index. However, the company scores poorly when it comes to customer satisfaction, which hints that there are better insurers out there.
- Pros & Cons
- Company Overview
Same-day coverage available
No medical exams
Excellent financial strength
Few customer complaints
Limited policy types
No online quotes
Ranked poorly for customer satisfaction
Brighthouse Financial traces its roots to 1863, when it was founded as part of Travelers Insurance Co. The Travelers businesses that later became Brighthouse were sold to MetLife in 2005, and relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, where the company is currently headquartered. Brighthouse has been operating as an independent corporation since fully separating from MetLife in August 2017. The company, licensed in all 50 states, currently has 2 million customers and $254 billion in assets.
Brighthouse is not one of our top-rated life insurance companies. You can review our list of the best life insurance companies for what we think are better options.
- Same-day coverage available: Brighthouse can issue a new policy within 24 hours of the customer completing an application. This convenience is among the company’s major selling points.
- No medical exams: Brighthouse offers policies that do not require a medical examination, which streamlines the application and approval process.
- Excellent financial strength: Brighthouse has an A (Excellent) rating from AM Best, signifying excellent financial strength.
- Few customer complaints: Brighthouse receives very few complaints for a company of its size, as measured over three years.
- Small number of policy types: Brighthouse offers only term and indexed universal life insurance policies to new applicants. It also offers whole life insurance for term conversions, which means you’ll need to own a term policy to be able to get a whole life policy through Brighthouse.
- No online quotes: Brighthouse does not provide what is quickly becoming an industry standard—an online quote tool for shoppers to compare life insurance prices.
- Ranked poorly for customer satisfaction: In a customer satisfaction study conducted by J.D. Power, Brighthouse came in last out of 21 major life insurance companies.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) publishes a complaint index about insurance companies based on the number of consumer complaints filed against them and their market share. An index of 1.00 indicates an expected number of complaints given the company’s size, whereas an index under 1.00 indicates fewer complaints than expected. An index of 2.00, for example, would indicate twice the expected number of complaints.
Averaged over a three-year period between 2019 to 2021, Brighthouse’s index is 0.30, meaning it had fewer complaints than expected for a company of its size.
Insurance rating agency AM Best reviews over 16,000 insurance companies worldwide to assess how likely they are to meet their financial obligations, particularly their ability to pay claims long into the future. In assessing financial strength, AM Best uses a rating scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).
In December 2021, AM Best assigned Brighthouse an A (Excellent) rating, indicating that it views the company’s financial strength and claims-paying ability to be excellent.
When it comes to customer satisfaction, however, Brighthouse does not fare too well compared to the industry’s top life insurers. This is based on the assessment of J.D. Power, which publishes an annual customer satisfaction index ranking. In its 2021 Individual Life Insurance Study, Brighthouse received a score of 714, placing last among the 21 companies surveyed. It should be noted, however, the 21 companies surveyed represent a select group of top U.S. individual life insurers. For comparison, State Farm took the top spot with a score of 822.
Brighthouse offers three life insurance policies: term life, whole life, and indexed universal. These policy types and the company’s specific products are described below.
Term life insurance guarantees payment of a death benefit to beneficiaries if the insured dies during a specified term—for example, 20 years. Unlike permanent life insurance policies, term policies typically have no savings component and no value other than the death benefit. They expire at the end of the term period, unless they are renewed or converted to whole life.
Brighthouse offers no-medical-exam term life policies, with coverage amounts ranging from $100,000 to $2 million. Customers must submit a simple application and expect a decision within 24 hours of providing completed requirements. Term policies are renewable annually. They are issued for terms of up to 30 years. Brighthouse allows policyholders to convert their term life policies to whole life before the end of their terms, provided certain conditions are met.
Whole Life (Term Conversions Only)
Whole life insurance is a policy that remains in force until the death of the policyholder as long as premiums are paid. The plan accrues cash value over time. The insured can borrow against the policy, request a dividend payment, or simply allow its value to build.
Brighthouse’s whole life policies are only provided to existing policyholders to accommodate term conversions.
Indexed Universal Life/Long-Term Care Hybrid
Indexed universal life (IUL) insurance is a permanent life insurance policy with a cash value component. Premium payments in excess of the cost of insurance (COI) are credited to the policy’s cash value each month, while COI and other fees and charges are deducted from it.
Brighthouse’s universal life insurance policy, marketed under the name Brighthouse SmartCare, provides a death benefit and long-term care protection. Long-term care coverage can grow based on the performance of a stock market index, such as the S&P 500, or based on an annual percentage rate. You can also elect a level long-term care coverage amount.
Riders are provisions in an insurance policy that extend protection or provide additional coverage. Riders may require an additional payment on top of any regular policy premium.
Waiver of Premium Rider
The waiver of premium rider may allow premium payments to be waived if the policyholder becomes seriously ill, critically injured, or physically impaired. Depending on the terms of the rider, the policyholder might be required to meet other health or age requirements.
Accelerated Death Benefit (ADB): Terminal Illness Rider
An accelerated death benefit, also known as a living benefit, is a provision in life insurance policies that allows the insured to receive part of their death benefit while they are still alive. The terminal illness rider is triggered when the policyholder has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and has only a short time to live. The funds, generally between 50% to 80% of the total death benefit, can be used as the policyholder sees fit. Some Brighthouse policies offer this rider at no additional cost.
ADB: Long-Term Care Rider
The long-term care (LTC) rider is intended for people who are concerned they might need assistance with activities of daily living (eating, bathing, dressing, etc.) because of illness or injury. It also can be applied to expenses related to hospice care, home health care, nursing homes, adult day care, and assisted living. Brighthouse offers a long-term care rider as part of its SmartCare policy.
Customer assistance can be reached by phone at (800) 882-1292 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. ET. You can get more information about Brighthouse's customer service on its website.
Our Methodology: How We Review Life Insurance Carriers
We designed a comprehensive ranking methodology based on consumer priorities and life insurance company fundamentals to rank more than 90 insurers across five general categories: financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, the overall buying experience, and cost.
In order to do this, we collected over 5,000 data points and scored each company based on 55 metrics. We grouped metrics by category to see how insurers performed in each; we then weighted category scores to determine how companies performed overall.
To learn more, read our full Life Insurance Methodology.
J.D. Power. “2021 US Individual Life Insurance Study | JD Power.”
NAIC. “Consumer Insurance Search.”
AM Best. “Guide to Best’s Financial Strength Ratings - (FSR).”