Over the years the life insurance industry has consolidated. Some life insurance companies expanded nationally. Other life insurance companies were regional players that either grew through acquisitions or were acquired.
West Coast Life was one of the regional life insurance companies that got acquired by Protective Life. Our West Coast Life insurance review will cover the ramifications of the merger and what you can expect if you are a West Coast Life insurance policyholder.
Shall we begin?
West Coast Life Ratings and Financial Strength
When a life insurance company gets acquired or merged with another life insurance company things can get muddled. Rather than bore you with the nuances, we will cut to the chase.
West Coast Life uses Protective Life’s financial ratings. Fortunately, Protective Life’s finances are in great shape. They are frequently evaluated by third-party rating agencies and are considered investment grade.
The A.M. Best Company rates the financial strength of insurance companies. A.M. Best has awarded Protective Life
What does the West Coast Life Merger Mean for my policy?
West Coast Life has written a lot of life insurance since its founding 1906 in San Francisco. The “Spirit of the West” merged with Protective Life in 1997 but continued to operate independently as under the brand name West Coast Life for sometime before being absorbed into Protective.
So what does this mean for you if you are a West Coast Life policyholder? Basically, it is nothing to worry about. When Protective acquired West Coast Life, they assumed the responsibility of paying the death benefits already in force.
Protective has also been around since the early 1900s and is in excellent financial health. If you have a West Coast Life insurance policy and need to file a claim, you can contact Protective for processing.
However, you can no longer purchase new West Coast Life Insurance policies. If your West Coast Life term policy is expiring, you will need to reapply or convert the policy with Protective. The good news is that Protective Life is an excellent life insurance company.
West Coast Life Insurance Solutions
West Coast Life no longer offers life insurance under the West Coast Life brand. If you have a West Coast Life insurance policy that is coming to an end and want a new one, then you will be directed to Protective Life’s insurance suite.
Luckily, Protective Life is among the best life insurance companies in the industry today. Protective term life insurance has some of the lowest rates in the industry and consistently is among the top three lowest-cost term life insurance options.
Protective Life also has some of the most affordable universal life insurance in the industry. Their guaranteed universal life insurance and index universal life insurance is extremely competitive.
There are some gaps in Protective’s life insurance lineup though. While Protective does offer an accelerated underwriting process for their term life insurance up to $1 million of death benefits, they do not currently have a true no-exam life insurance option.
Protective does not offer a low face amount final expense insurance solution. It is just not an area of the market that Protective wants to be in. Protective also does not offer a retail whole life policy; although, they have a conversion whole life policy.
Protective Term Life Insurance
Protective Life has two different term life insurance options (the classic choice and the custom choice). Term life insurance is a cost-effective life insurance solution if you need larger death benefits for a limited period of time.
For example, if you purchased a home with a 30-year mortgaged, term life insurance is a great mortgage protection option. If you die before the mortgage balanced is fully repaid, the term policy will pay your family an income-tax-free death benefit so they can own the home.
If you pay off the mortgage, then you have options. You can keep the term life insurance, convert the policy into permanent life insurance, or cancel it if you no longer need the coverage.
Protective Life Classic Choice Term
Protective Life’s Classic Choice term life insurance policy is just what it sounds like, a pure vanilla term policy. You chose a term duration and death benefit amount.
Protective’s Classic Choice Term has accelerated underwriting, which may waive the medical exam and medical records requirement at the underwriter’s discretion based on the results of your health interview and background check.
However, most people have to take the exam so if you are adamant about skipping the exam, we would suggest looking at an express issue no-exam life insurance company, like Sagicor Life.
After you purchase the policy, the Protective cannot raise your monthly rate during that level term period or cancel your death benefits as long as you maintain your payments. After your level-term period is finished. Protective can increase your rate annually.
Protective Classic Choice Term Periods:
Protective Life’s classic choice term does have a conversion option that allows you to exchange your temporary term life insurance policy with either whole life or universal life insurance policy with lifelong death benefits.
Protective Custom Choice UL
Protective’s Custom Choice UL is its second term option. Technically, Protective’s Custom Choice is a universal life insurance policy, but it has all of the advantages of a term life insurance policy plus more!
Protective’s Custom Choice UL is priced a few dollars higher than the Classic Choice in the same term durations. However, you are getting a much better value for similar cost.
Unlike most traditional term life insurance contracts that explode in cost after your level term period is over, the Custom Choice rates stay the same. Instead Protective lowers your death benefits proportionally. This allows you to keep some coverage in place affordably if desired.
In addition, the Custom Choice allows you to add on the Income Provider Option (IPO). This optional rider can lower your premiums 10-30% in some cases if your beneficiaries receive the death benefits in installments; rather than, a single lump sum.
The IPO rider is great for income replacement cases at higher death benefit amounts. We also strategically use this rider to lower substandard premiums to get your family the most bang for your buck.
Protective Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance
Protective offers two competitive universal life insurance policies (a GUL and an IUL). Universal life is a form of permanent death benefit that offers you flexibility and lifelong death benefit protection.
Protectives guaranteed universal life insurance policy offers you an affordable guaranteed lifetime death benefit. You can calculate the minimum required premiums required to carry the death benefit to age 90 to age 121 depending on your needs.
If your primary concern is affordable lifelong death benefit, Protectives guaranteed universal life insurance policy crushes the competition, especially whole life insurance. However, there are some tradeoffs.
Guaranteed universal life insurance is affordable, but it does not generate cash value well, or at all in some cases. If you want guaranteed lifelong death benefit with cash value, whole life may be a better option, but you will pay for it with higher monthly premiums.
Protective Index Universal Life Insurance
Protective has a super competitive universal life insurance policy as well. Index universal life accumulates cash value and comes with limited death benefit guarantees. It provides you greater flexibility than whole life and the potential for cash accumulations.
Part of your premiums is invested in a cash account and invested in an index strategy that follows a market index, such as the Standard and Poor’s 500. If the index increases in value, your account is credited with a portion of that growth in interest up to a cap.
However, your cash value is not directly invested in the market so if the market declines your principal is protected. Your worst-case scenario is zero interest is credited for that segment.
Your cash value grows within the account tax-deferred. You can also withdraw your cash value through tax-free loans or withdrawals if you want to take money out of the policy.
These loans are secured by the death benefit so if you take a loan your death benefit will be reduced by the value of the loan.
While Protective’s policy does come with secondary death benefit guarantees, if the policy is underfunded, it can lapse if you live a long time. Therefore, it is important to review the performance of your life insurance policy regularly to be sure that the policy is healthy.
Final Thoughts on West Coast Life vs. Protective Life
While West Coast Life is not around in its former form, its legacy lives on with Protective Life. Protective has a solid reputation in the life insurance industry.
Protective Life has affordable rates, strong financial strength, and quality customer service. Their underwriting is fair and expedient for a fully-underwritten process. In fact, we list them among the best life insurance companies in the industry.
That said, we suggest that you compare the quotes of multiple life insurance companies before making your final decision. Protective’s underwriting is solid, but no life insurance company is the best at everything.
If you are looking for no-exam life insurance or you have a pre-existing health condition, you may be better off going in a different direction. A veteran field underwriter who is an independent agent can help you narrow down the best life insurance company for your unique profile.
Thank you for reading our West Coast Life insurance review. If you have any questions, please contact us or feel free to request a quote on our website to learn more.
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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.