Pacific Life Insurance Review

Exceptionally few complaints, a broad product portfolio, and cheap term policies

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Pacific Life

Pacific Life

Investopedia’s Rating
4.1

Our Take

Pacific Life excels in most categories that make a life insurer great. The company receives an exceptionally low number of complaints, is ranked highly by J.D. Power for customer satisfaction, offers a wide range of policy types, has some of the most affordable term coverage we’ve seen, and offers high coverage no-medical-exam life insurance policies. 

But it falls short when it comes to online and self-serve features. Unlike many other insurers that offer term life insurance, you can’t get a quote on the company’s website and you can’t apply for a policy without contacting an agent.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Company Overview 
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Outstanding customer satisfaction

  • Cheap term coverage

  • Policy details are online

  • No-medical-exam life insurance for up to $5 million

  • 90-year-olds are eligible for coverage

Cons
  • No online quote

  • Can’t apply without an agent

Company Overview 

Founded in 1868, Pacific Life is one of the oldest insurance companies we reviewed. The company is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska but was founded in Sacramento, California, hence the name “Pacific.” It was headquartered there until it moved to Nebraska in 2005 but maintains a home office in Newport Beach. The company offers policies nationwide and has 931,000 in-force policyholders.

You can purchase Pacific Life insurance policies through an agent or broker.

  • Year Founded 1868
  • Kinds of Policies Term, whole life, universal life (UL), indexed UL (IUL), variable UL (VUL)
  • Payment Plan Options Check, cash, ACH transfer
  • Customer Service Online contact form, phone (800) 347-7787
  • Official Website www.pacificlife.com

Pros Explained

  • Outstanding customer satisfaction: Pacific Life has very happy customers and an impressively low incidence of customer complaints. Of the 91 life insurance companies we reviewed, Pacific Life received the second-lowest number of complaints (based on its size and measured over three years). So it’s little surprise that the company came in fourth in J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study for customer satisfaction as well. 
  • Cheap term coverage: We reviewed term life insurance quotes from 32 life insurance companies for healthy applicants of different ages. Pacific Life had the second-cheapest quotes in general, just behind Protective and Banner, which tied for offering the most affordable coverage on our list of the best term life insurance companies.
  • Policy details are online: A number of life insurance companies require you to call an agent to get policy details. But Pacific Life lets you explore product features on your own on its website via product descriptions and downloadable guides. It also prompts you to choose your state so you can see which products are available to you. If you value doing your own research, know that this level of transparency is uncommon.
  • No-medical-exam life insurance for up to $5 million: Pacific Life is one of very few companies to offer up to $5 million in no-med-exam life insurance to applicants up to 50 years old. And it’s one of even fewer companies that offers $3 million in coverage to applicants up to 60 years old.
  • 90-year-olds are eligible for coverage: Pacific Life is one of only six of the 91 insurance companies we reviewed that offer life insurance to 90-year-old applicants.

Cons Explained

  • No online quote: Many companies that offer term life insurance make online quotes available on their website, but not Pacific Life—though you can get a Pacific Life quote through some online life insurance brokers.
  • Can’t apply without an agent: If you want term life insurance from Pacific Life (or any other type of coverage), you’ll need to connect with an agent. While online applications aren’t yet the norm, they’re not uncommon. About one-third of the companies we reviewed offer an online application process for at least one type of coverage.

Complaint Index

Pacific Life received the second-fewest number of customer complaints of all 91 companies we reviewed, and the fewest complaints of the 25 largest life insurance companies nationwide. To see how many complaints companies get, we turned to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which creates a complaint index that measures how many customer complaints a company receives relative to its size.  

If a company’s complaint index is 1.0, it received an expected number of complaints. An index lower than 1.0 means the company received fewer complaints than expected, while an index greater than 1.0 means the company received more complaints than expected. Pacific Life’s complaint index is almost 0 (0.056), which means it has an incredibly low incidence of complaints. 

Third-Party Ratings

Pacific Life fares well on a couple of features measured by third-party rating systems.

The company was rated highly by AM Best for its financial strength. The credit ratings agency gave it an A+ grade, which indicates a superior ability to honor its ongoing insurance obligations. This is the second-highest rating AM Best uses with A++ being the highest, indicating a “superior” ability to pay claims. 

AM Best is an independent credit rating agency that reviews over 16,000 insurance companies around the world to assess their financial strength and ability to pay claims. AM Best uses a rating scale from A++ to D. 

Pacific Life also shines when it comes to customer service. It ranked fourth in a customer satisfaction survey by J.D. Power, scoring 801 points out of a possible 1,000 points—well above the average company score of 776 points and just 21 points behind the leader, State Farm. 

Competition

  Nationwide Pacific Life  MassMutual 
Types of Coverage Term, whole life, UL, IUL, VUL, final expense Term, whole life, UL, IUL, VUL Term, whole life, UL, VUL
Dividends for 2022  Not applicable  Not applicable  Nearly $1.85 billion 
Online Application  Yes  No  Yes 
AM Best Rating  A+  A+  A++ 
Price for Term Policies  Average  Excellent  Better than average 
NAIC Complaint Index (3-year average)  0.263  0.056  0.133 
J.D. Power Ranking  4

Policies Available 

A whole suite of policy types is available through Pacific Life. If you don’t know the type of insurance you need, chances are, you’ll find one to fit you here. Note that if you’re 50 years old or younger, you could qualify for up to $5 million of coverage on almost any Pacific Life life insurance policy. If you’re between 51 and 60, you can qualify for up to $3 million.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is a temporary type of life insurance that is designed to last for a period of years, typically between 10 and 30. If you pass during that time, your beneficiaries receive the death benefit. Term policies don’t have a cash value, but may come with an option to convert the coverage to permanent insurance. They’re also often renewable on an annual basis once the initial term expires (for a higher premium). 

  • Pacific Elite Term: Available for 10-, 20-, and 30-year periods, this policy is also convertible for up to 10 years after the policy has been issued. It includes a terminal illness rider at no extra cost.
  • PL Promise Term: Available in 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, and 30-year increments, this policy can be converted to permanent coverage at any time during the term period.

Whole Life Insurance

Unlike term coverage, whole life insurance, also called cash-value insurance, is a type of permanent coverage that is designed to last a lifetime. Pacific Life includes whole life insurance in its list of product offerings but, according to its website, does not currently offer whole life policies in any state.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life (UL) insurance is another type of permanent coverage or cash-value life insurance. Cash value growth is dependent on current interest rates, and the premiums and death benefits are flexible. UL policies are at greater risk of lapsing during the policy's later years relative to whole life.

  • Versa-Flex Venture VUL: This policy is available to applicants up to 90 years old. If you pay the specified premium, you can protect the policy from lapsing for a period of four to 20 years, depending on your age. (You can elect to add a no-lapse guarantee rider for an additional premium that provides lifetime protection.)
  • PL Promise GUL: Includes a lifetime no-lapse guarantee rider at no additional cost. This protects your death benefit for life in the event that interest rates don’t perform as anticipated and your cash value isn’t enough to support policy costs. 

Variable Life Insurance

Variable universal life (VUL) lets you invest the cash value in a universal life policy in the stock market via subaccounts, which are very similar to mutual funds. Variable life is the riskiest type of life insurance because the cash value can lose value if your investments perform poorly. PacLife’s VUL policies are available to 90-year-old applicants.

  • Pacific Select VUL II: In addition to offering variable subaccounts to invest in, this policy offers indexed account options, plus a fixed account.
  • Pacific Select Harbor VUL: Provides a range of investment options but no indexed accounts.
  • Pacific Admiral VUL: Offers low-cost investment options in addition to indexed accounts.

VUL policies can lose value because the cash value is invested in market securities. As such, they must be sold with a prospectus by someone licensed to sell securities and are not guaranteed. 

Indexed Universal Life Insurance

Indexed universal life (IUL) policies are a type of universal life insurance in which cash value gains correlated to the performance of a stock market index like the S&P 500. Unlike VUL policies, the cash value cannot lose value based on market performance. Though less risky than VUL insurance, IUL policies are complex. The cash value is still subject to loss if the amount credited to it is not sufficient to keep up with policy expenses. 

Pacific Life offers many IUL options:

  • Pacific Horizon IUL: A straightforward IUL policy, it offers three indexed accounts, a limited selection of riders, and does not include “performance factors,” which can increase the interest credited to the cash value. 
  • Pacific Trident IUL: Provides cash value protection via minimum cash surrender value guarantees and a minimum interest guarantee.
  • Pacific Discovery Xelerator IUL 2: Offers optional performance factors for an additional cost that can increase the amount credited to the cash value.
  • Pacific Indexed Accumulator 6: Offers performance factors and high cash surrender values during the early years of the policy.
  • Pacific Indexed Estate Preserver 3: This is a second-to-die VUL policy that provides coverage on two people.

Available Riders

Riders can extend or expand coverage and benefits provided by your life insurance policy. Some of the riders offered by Pacific Life include:

  • Chronic illness care: If you develop a chronic illness—which usually means you can’t perform at least two activities of daily living (ADLs)—you can advance the entire death benefit (up to $3 million) via monthly or annual payments.
  • Terminal illness benefit: You can receive up to 75% of the death benefit early if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Long term care rider: Pacific Life’s Premier Care policy is universal life insurance with long-term care benefits. You can be reimbursed for long-term-care expenses for two to eight years if needed; you can also increase the amount of monthly benefits you’re eligible for with inflation protection.
  • Accidental death benefit rider: An additional death benefit is paid if the person insured dies from an accident.
  • Children's level term insurance rider: You can add up to $10,000 of coverage for each dependent child from 15 days to 18 years old.
  • Guaranteed insurability (GI) rider: With this rider, you can increase your death benefit at specified ages or upon triggering events without needing to take a medical exam or re-apply for coverage. GI riders usually expire around age 45.
  • Disability waiver of premium rider: If you become disabled prior to age 65, policy premiums will be waived after a waiting period of 180 days.

Customer Service

You can get in touch with Pacific Life’s customer service department for life insurance at (800) 347-7787 between the hours of 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday. If you prefer, you can fill in a contact form with your personal information and the nature of your question. You should receive a response within 48 hours.

Price

Pacific Life offers some of the most affordable term insurance policies of the 32 companies we reviewed. We collected quotes for 30-year $250,000 term policies for males and females in excellent health aged 25, 40, and 55 years old. Pacific Life’s term policy prices were second only to Protective and Banner, which tied for cheapest term life insurance. Even if you aren’t looking for term coverage exclusively, you may want to consider supplementing your permanent life insurance with one of the company’s very affordable term policies.

Is Pacific Life Insurance Right for Me?

Pacific Life is a strong, well-established life insurance company with a record of pleasing its customers. As researchers, we appreciate how much policy-specific information is available online. If these features appeal to you, you’re likely to find a policy type that works for you, since Pacific Life offers so many. It’s an especially good choice if you’re looking for high coverage, no-medical-exam life insurance or cheap term insurance and are comfortable working through an agent to get a quote and apply. If you’re looking for an IUL policy, it’s worthwhile to consider Pacific Life because it offers up to five IUL policies, depending on your state, with distinct features and consumer profiles. 

But if you’re set on a whole life policy, you may struggle to find one offered by Pacific Life in your state. The company also doesn’t offer final expense or burial insurance policies.

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. J.D. Power. “Pandemic and Tax Code Change Spur Interest in Life Insurance, J.D. Power Finds.”

  2. AM Best. “Guide to Best’s Financial Strength Ratings - (FSR).”