MassMutual Life Insurance Review

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MassMutual

 MassMutual

overall rating
4.3

Founded in 1851, MassMutual is a life insurance company with a long legacy of serving its policyholders. As a mutual company, it doesn’t have shareholders. Instead, its members and participating policy owners share in its ownership, are entitled to vote for its board of directors, and are even eligible to receive dividends. In fact, the company paid over $1.7 billion in dividends to policyholders in 2020. 

Offering whole, term, and universal life insurance policies, MassMutual can be a good option for someone who wants a robust policy to cover their family’s needs or supplement their retirement fund.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Free life insurance program for low-income families

  • Manage your account with the mobile app

  • You can consult with a financial professional about your needs

Cons
  • Medical exams required for all policies

  • Online quotes not available for most policies

  • Final expense policies not available

Key Takeaways
  • MassMutual is based in Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • In 2019, MassMutual wrote over $7.8 billion in direct premiums.
  • The company offers whole, term, and universal life insurance policies.
  • MassMutual whole life policyholders are eligible to receive dividends.
  • MassMutual’s LifeBridge program is a free life insurance initiative for low-income families.
Company Overview

MassMutual is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts. While it allows customers to apply for MassMutual Direct Term policies online, it primarily sells policies through financial professionals rather than the web or agents. By connecting customers with financial professionals, it's able to offer a more holistic approach to insurance. Customers can work with a financial professional to discuss their insurance needs and retirement income to come up with a strategy that works for them. 

MassMutual is licensed in all 50 states and offers a number of other financial, wealth, and asset management services, including annuities, individual retirement accounts, mutual funds, and estate planning.

  • Year Founded 1851
  • Kinds of Plans Whole, term, universal, variable universal
  • Number of Plans 5
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, annually, quarterly
  • Customer Service Financial professional, online
  • Phone 800-272-2216
  • Official Website www.massmutual.com/insurance/life-insurance
Important

MassMutual 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.

Pros Explained

  • Free life insurance program for low-income families: MassMutual operates the LifeBridge program, which provides low-income families—families that earn between $10,000 and $40,0000—with free $50,000 10-year life insurance policies. If the insured parent passes away during the term, a $50,000 death benefit is deposited into a trust to pay for the child’s educational expenses. 
  • Manage your account with the mobile app: You can use the MassMutual mobile app to manage your account. You can make payments, view your statements, and even request a loan from your insurance policy. 
  • You can consult with a financial professional about your needs: While other companies only sell through agents or the web, MassMutual connects customers with financial professionals. Consult about your insurance and financial needs to come up with a comprehensive plan that fits your goals. 

Cons Explained

  • Medical exams required for all policies: While many life insurance companies offer at least one plan that doesn’t require a medical exam, that’s not the case with MassMutual. All of its life insurance plans require applicants to undergo a medical exam, regardless of their requested coverage amount or term length. 
  • Online quotes not available for most policies: Almost all of MassMutual’s plans require you to consult with a financial professional to get a quote. The only exception is MassMutual Direct Term coverage. 
  • Final expense policies not available: Most life insurance companies offer final expense policies, which are low-cost insurance plans that are designed to cover only your burial expenses. Unfortunately, MassMutual doesn’t have these plans. The lowest coverage option it offers starts at $100,000. 
Note

MassMutual is the fifth-largest life insurance company in terms of direct premiums written.

Available Plans

MassMutual has five different life insurance plans to choose from, including term life policies and variable universal life policies. While all of its plans require medical exams, you can get a quote and immediate decision with MassMutual Direct Term policies. Depending on your needs, you can get high-coverage policies to ensure your family has lasting support after you’re gone. 

Participating Whole Life

The participating whole life policy is a permanent policy, meaning it's in effect for your lifetime. You earn guaranteed cash value. Your policy is also eligible to earn dividends, which can increase your death benefit and cash value.

Term Life

With MassMutual’s term life policies, you can get affordable coverage for a fixed period, such as 10 or 20 years. If you pass away during your term, your family will get a lump-sum death benefit. Most policies have level premiums. And, you may convert your policy to permanent life insurance without undergoing another medical exam. 

MassMutual Direct Term

MassMutual Direct Term life insurance is the only policy you can apply for online, and you can get an immediate decision. Designed for people between the ages of 18 and 64, you can get $100,000 to $3 million of coverage. You can choose a term of 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years. 

While you’ll receive a decision right after you apply, you still need to complete a medical exam. You have 90 days after you apply to get the exam done. The results from your exam could cause your policy terms and premiums to change. 

Universal Life

A universal life policy is permanent coverage with flexible premiums. You can adjust the amount you pay each year as long as you have enough account value. You can also choose a policy with a guaranteed death benefit, ensuring that your family gets a lump sum if you pass away. 

Variable Universal Life

Variable universal life insurance is a form of permanent life insurance. It offers flexible premium payments but allows you to choose your own investment options based on your goals and risk tolerance. 

You can select a level death benefit or you can opt for an account that may accumulate value depending on the premium paid and investment performance. Access to account values through borrowing or withdrawals will reduce your cash surrender value and may reduce your policy death benefit, but you can borrow from the account value for any purpose during your lifetime. 

Available Riders

If you want to customize or add to your policy, you can do so by purchasing an insurance endorsement, also known as a rider. An insurance rider is a provision to your insurance policy that enhances or adjusts your coverage. It can add coverage for additional circumstances or people, or allow you to access your benefits early. 

MassMutual offers the following riders: 

Accelerated Death Benefit

If you add the accelerated death benefit rider to your policy, you can access a portion of your benefit early if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness that is expected to result in death within 12 months. 

Additional Life Insurance

You can increase your death benefit and accelerate its cash value by making payments on top of your premiums with the additional life insurance rider. 

Guaranteed Insurability 

With the guaranteed insurability rider, you can purchase additional insurance at specified dates in the future without having to show proof of good health. 

Waiver of Premium

Available on whole life policies, the waiver of premium rider provides protection if you become disabled. It ensures your death benefit coverage stays in place by covering your premiums if you are unable to pay them because of a disability. 

Customer Service

With MassMutual, you have to consult with a financial professional to get quotes for most policies. There are 8,000 financial professionals available across the country, and over 4,500 on MassMutual.com. You can talk with professionals over the phone, in-person, or via email. 

If you already have a MassMutual account, you can get answers to your questions by contacting the company’s customer service team. They’re available by phone at 800-272-2216, or by secure message. Unfortunately, MassMutual doesn’t offer 24/7 support; customer service is only available Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. ET. 

MassMutual does have a mobile app available for Android and iOS. With the app, you can view your policy, request a loan on your life insurance policy, make payments, and view your statements.  

Complaint Index

When shopping for an insurance company, it’s smart to look at customer reviews and see how many complaints a company receives. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) helps simplify the process for you. The NAIC releases companies’ complaint ratios every year, showing how many complaints they received relative to the companies’ market shares. 

A complaint ratio over 1.0 is considered worse than average. A complaint ratio under 1.0 is better than average and shows that a company received fewer complaints than is typical for a company of its size. 

In 2019, MassMutual has a complaint ratio of just 0.08, far below the industry average.

Note

For the past three years, MassMutual’s complaint ratios have been much better than the industry average.

Third-Party Ratings

AM Best is the credit rating agency known for its insurance Financial Strength Ratings (FSRs). The AM Best FSRs measure a company’s financial stability and its ability to meet its contractual and policy obligations, such as policyholder claims. A strong FSR indicates that a company is reliable. 

MassMutual has the highest AM Best ranking possible. In 2020, AM Best affirmed MassMutual’s FSR of A++ (Superior), recognizing the company’s strong operating performance and favorable business profile. 

In the 2019 J.D. Power U.S. Life Insurance Study, MassMutual was ranked 13th out of 25 life insurance companies in terms of customer satisfaction. The study rated companies based on their product offerings, communications, and pricing. MassMutual was given an “about average” rating. 

Cancellation Policy

MassMutual offers a 10-day free look period. However, depending on your state, you may have a longer period. During the free look stage, you have the right to review and cancel the insurance policy without penalty. 

If you cancel during the free look period, MassMutual will issue you a refund. Depending on how you paid, it will either refund you the account value or all premiums paid. 

After the free look period, MassMutual’s cancellation policy is dependent on the type of life insurance you have. For example, variable life policyholders can surrender their plan at any time for its current account value less any outstanding policy debt. There is no surrender charge. 

To cancel your coverage and to see what your policy’s terms are, contact a MassMutual financial professional at 800-272-2216. 

Price

When it comes to pricing, MassMutual was rated as about average in the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study. 

With most insurance plans, you have to contact a MassMutual financial professional to get a quote. But with MassMutual Direct Term, you can get quotes and apply for coverage online. 

As with all life insurance companies, MassMutual considers several factors when determining your premiums, including your age, gender, location, health, and habits. 

We got quotes for term life policies for 10-year terms for two individuals in good health: one who has never smoked, and one who currently smokes.

Coverage Amount 35-Year-Old Female Non-Smoker 35-Year-Old Female Smoker
$100,000 $11.92 $20.45
$250,000 $16.75 $30.46
$500,000 $26.11 $50.47
$1 million $44.81 $93.53
$2 million $83.09 $180.53

Like most life insurance companies, MassMutual does require you to select either “male” or “female” when getting a quote. While being nonbinary won’t prohibit you from qualifying for life insurance, you should be aware that most companies haven’t updated their underwriting processes yet to reflect an awareness of gender issues, so their application processes may feel outdated and restrictive. 

Competition

MassMutual offers term, whole, and universal policies, but it does have some restrictions. It doesn’t have final expense policies, and all of its plans require a medical exam. It only has a few plan options, and a limited number of riders to customize your coverage. 

If you’re looking for more flexibility, consider getting a policy through State Farm, another top company. Like MassMutual, AM Best granted State Farm an A++ FSR. However, State Farm has 10 life insurance plans to choose from, and several riders which can enhance your coverage. State Farm has both final expense policies and no-exam policies, so if you’re looking for basic, low-cost coverage, it may be a better option than MassMutual. 

State Farm also has the edge over MassMutual when it comes to customer service. While State Farm doesn’t have financial professionals you can consult, it has customer support representatives available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And, you can file a claim, manage your account, and make payments online.

  MassMutual State Farm
Market Share Fourth-largest in the U.S., 5.9% Seventh-largest in U.S., 3.5%
Number of Plans 5 10
Dividends for 2020 $1.7 billion $600 million
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives Not applicable Not applicable
Service Method Financial Professional, web Agents
AM Best Rating A++ (Superior) A++ (Superior)
J.D. Power’s Price Rank About Average Better Than Most
Complaints Trend 0.08 0.14
Note

Over the past decade, MassMutual has paid out more than $15 billion in dividends.

Verdict

MassMutual is a solid life insurance company with an excellent financial reputation. If you’re looking for an insurer that allows you to talk with a financial professional before you select an insurance plan, it can be a good fit for you. You can talk to a MassMutual financial professional about your life insurance needs, retirement plans, college funding status, and general estate planning to ensure you’re making the best decisions for your family. 

However, MassMutual has a limited number of insurance plans and few customization options. Because you can’t get a quote online with most policies, it can be difficult to comparison shop, so you may be better off with other life insurance companies that are more transparent with pricing. 

How We Review Life Insurance Companies

Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative approach that analyzes each insurer on their stability and reliability, customer service, claims experience, diversity of product lines, and cost. We compare the terms of each type of policy offered—including available coverage amounts, optional riders, and premium payment options—with those of other major life insurance companies. Lastly, we look at how the company is rated by third-party organizations to determine its reliability and overall reputation.

Learn more: Read our full Life Insurance Methodology here.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Insurance Information Institute. "Facts and Statistics: Life Insurance." Accessed August 28, 2020. 

  2. NAIC. "Complaint Index." Accessed August 28, 2020. 

  3. Businesswire. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and Its Subsidiaries." Accessed August 28, 2020.

  4. J.D. Power. "Life Insurance and Annuity Providers Are More Customer-Centric but Gaps Remain, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed August 28, 2020. 

  5. SEC. "Form N-6 Registration Statement," Page 30. Accessed August 28, 2020.