AXA Equitable is one of the largest life insurance companies in the United States but are they right for you? This AXA life insurance review will help you make that decision.
Our AXA life insurance review will cover sample AXA rates, AXA’s financial strength ratings, and AXA’s various types of life insurance policies so you can decide if AXA is the right company to protect your family. Unfortunately they don’t crack our best life insurance companies but they aren’t at the bottom of the barrel either.
When it comes to protecting your loved ones, you want to place your trust in a highly reputable life insurer that will make good on its promises when the time comes. You should purchase reliable coverage, but the right type of coverage at a fair value as well.
Shall we begin?
AXA Equitable Life Insurance History
There are few life insurance companies that can trace their heritage back to to the 1800s, but AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company is among them. AXA Equitable was established by Henry Hyde as the Equitable Life Assurance Society of America.
In 1991, The Equitable was purchased by a French insurer called AXA. That acquisition created the American brand that we know today as AXA Equitable, which is part of the larger multinational AXA Group that operates in 59 countries worldwide!
For over 150 years, AXA Equitable has been making good on its promises to its policyholders and has expanded into other areas of the financial services market, such as investment management and retirement planning.
AXA Equitable also invests heavily in the communities that they serve. AXA Equitable gives out millions to charities and scholarships annually in the spirit of corporate responsibility.
AXA Equitable Financial Strength Ratings
AXA has an iron-clad financial strength and is awarded some of the highest marks from rating agencies like A.M. Best, S&P, and Moody’s.
|Standard & Poor's||A.M. Best||Moody's||Comdex Ranking|
A.M. Best: A (excellent)
S&P: A+ (strong)
Moody’s: “A2” (good)
These rating agencies provide their opinions on an insurer’s ability to meet its obligations to its policyholders. All of AXA’s financial strength ratings are considered investment grade, which is an important consideration when choosing a life insurance company.
AXA is also an A+ accredited business with the Better Business Bureau since 1937. While no company can get it right 100% of the time, AXA has demonstrated that negative customer experiences are the exception rather than the rule.
How Does AXA Works With its Customers?
AXA has evolved since its founding into more than just life insurance. Often AXA’s life insurance products are usually sold by their financial professionals These AXA financial professionals typically can sell securities, like mutual funds and variable annuities, in addition to traditional life insurance.
This approach to doing business may suit people looking for a more comprehensive service that includes investments and financial planning. However, it does have some drawbacks. A financial professional who is more of a generalist may not have the broader industry expertise that a broker who solely focuses on life insurance may have.
In addition, business models similar to AXA’s career model have been scrutinized recently due to perceived conflicts of interest. The concern is that career agents can be incentivized to offer higher-margin proprietary products even if another company or product was a better fit for your family. Before you work with any financial professional, be sure they are reputable and trustworthy.
If you are strictly looking for life insurance, we would suggest working with an independent broker who specializes in life and health products. Independent brokers don’t work for any insurance company. They work with insurance companies to find you the best deal period!
AXA Equitable Life Insurance Options
AXA Equitable offers various life insurance and investment options. For the scope of this review, we are going to solely focus on AXA’s term life insurance and permanent life insurance options.
Term Life Insurance Coverage
Term life insurance is temporary. Term life insurance was created as a way to affordably secure high death benefit amounts for temporary needs, such as income replacement and mortgage protection.
Term life is the most straightforward type of life insurance you can buy. There is usually no cash surrender value. Simply put, you pay the premium and if you pass away while the contract is active, the life insurance company pays the death benefit.
AXA offers their BrightLife® Term Series as a solution for temporary life insurance needs. AXA’s term can be purchased in 10-year, 15-year, or 20-year guaranteed-level-premium periods. After the stated term, your premiums will increase year-to-year as illustrated in the contract.
AXA also offers a rare non-renewable term policy that expires after one year. This policy in practice is rarely sold but sometimes can fill rare instances where the coverage is needed for 12 months or less.
AXA is also one of the few companies remaining that offers a annually-renewable term. Premiums increase annually after the first policy year with limited guarantees. This product is again designed for niche short-term life insurance needs.
AXA’s term policies are convertible to one of their permanent policies available during the time of conversion. AXA does offer credits towards the first premium of your new policy within the first 5 years of your term policy.
AXA also includes the terminal illness rider at no additional premium within their policy. This rider allows the owner to accelerate a portion of the death benefits if they are terminally ill.
While a nice feature to have, there are better living benefit options available which include critical and chronic illness with competitors. If you want to include more robust protections within your life insurance contract, check out our Ameritas Life Insurance and Living Benefits review.
Permanent Life Insurance
Permanent life insurance offers lifelong death benefit protection and the opportunity for cash value accumulation. There are multiple types of term life insurance that all serve a valuable purpose in your overall financial strategy.
Interest Sensitive Whole Life
AXA has an interest sensitive whole life product that is designed to compete with participating whole life products from mutual companies in both guarantees and cash accumulation.
Since AXA is a stock company, it pays dividends to its shareholders and not its policyholders.
Instead of paying a dividend, AXA declares an interest rate annual and non-guaranteed customer loyalty credits in addition to the guaranteed cash values that reach the policy’s face amount at age 100.
Whole life is simple and straightforward. As long as you pay the premium, you will have life insurance coverage for the rest of your life. Whole life also offers you the flexibility to access the cash values through tax-advantaged loans in a pinch.
AXA offers an alternative to whole life called universal life. AXA has two universal life options (IUL Protect and BrightLife® Grow). IUL Protect is designed for cost-effective lifetime protection with the potential for cash accumulation. BrightLife® Grow is designed with cash accumulation in mind.
IUL Protect offers meaningful guarantees usually to age 90, but the coverage can expire if the policy is underfunded and you outlive the guaranteed period. If guaranteed lifetime death benefit is what you want, you are better suited with a whole life of guaranteed universal life product.
IUL Protect does offer potential cash accumulation within the policy that can be accessed in a pinch through tax-advantaged loans or withdrawals. The cash value is awarded interest based on an index strategy in the Select Account or a Guaranteed Interest account. A big advantage of an indexing strategy is that your cash value principal is protected from downside loss.
The BrightLife® Grow is designed with cash accumulation in mind. This type of policy is for people who have a lifetime death benefit need and want to accumulate cash value. The cash value is invested in an index strategy that credits interest based on the performance of selected indices. However, your money is never invested directly in the market so you have downside protection of your principal.
Survivorship Life Insurance
Survivorship Life Insurance is a niche product that is usually used in estate planning strategies. These second-to-die policies cover two lives at one time. After the death of the second insured, the life insurance policy pays the death benefit to your heirs!
Second-to-die policies come in handy for families that need to leave a liquid estate; for example, to care for a special-needs child. Survivorship policies are also great for people who have illiquid estates with a majority of the family wealth in hard assets like rental properties, farmland, or family businesses who want liquidity to pay estate and inheritance taxes.
The AXA BrightLife® Grow Survivorship allows the potential for cash accumulation with up to 8 index options or a guaranteed interest account. Index strategies are a great alternative for people who want to limit their equity exposure due to its downside protection of principal.
The cash value allows additionally flexibilities. If plans change later in life, you can access the cash value within the policies through withdrawals and tax-advantaged loans. This gives the policy the flexibility to be used as a source of income.
Variable Universal Life
Variable universal life insurance provides death benefit protection with the potential to build cash value within the policy. Like most universal life insurance policies, variable universal life insurance allows flexible premium payments. The main feature of variable universal life insurance is that a portion of your premiums are invested in mutual-fund-like subaccounts.
These sub-accounts generally offer a range of investment options with different levels of risk. Usually, you have a choice of equity, fixed income, and sometimes alternative investment strategies.
Since variable universal life insurance is a security, they are issued with a prospectus and contain varying levels of investment risk to your cash value. Unlike indexed universal life insurance, your principal can be lost due to poor investment performance. AXA Equitable has two variable universal life policies, The IncentiveLife Optimizer® III and the IncentiveLife Legacy® III.
Variable life insurance can be complex and should be thoroughly reviewed before purchasing. Some policies are designed primarily for the death benefit and other policies can be designed to maximize cash value growth. Before you move forward with a variable life insurance purchase, consult with a trustworthy and knowledgeable agent to be sure that the policy you are considering is suitable for your situation.
The Final Word
Thank you for reading our AXA life insurance review. We hoped our AXA life insurance review helped you decide what company is best to protect your loved ones with.
AXA offers some unique life insurance options through their financial advisors. If you are looking for general financial services that include insurance, investments and financial advice, then AXA may be a good fit for you. You can learn more about AXA’s product and services at the AXA website.
However, if you are looking for specialized life insurance knowledge then a working with an independent life insurance broker may be a better option. Independent life insurance agents can broker multiple companies to find you the best deal on your coverage.
Each life insurance company has different opinions on rates and underwriting. A knowledgeable independent life insurance agent will know what companies will offer you the best value to protect your family.
If you are looking for life insurance, don’t hesitate. Request a free no-obligation quote, or call on of our veteran life insurance agents for a consultation today.
Joe is a lifelong learner with a passion for sharing what he has learned with others. Joe has publicly spoken on life insurance in the past to both colleagues at industry conferences and to consumers in educational settings and as a contributor to industry blogs. Additionally, Joe is studying for certifications such as the CFP, CLU, and RICP to further his professional knowledge.