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Manulife Insurance Review - Pros, Cons and Coverage Insights for 2024

Updated 
June 1, 2024
8
 min read
CEO, Capital for Life

Manulife Insurance Review - Pros, Cons and Coverage Insights for 2024

Manulife Insurance Review: Everything you need to know before you buy. Our comprehensive 2024 review of Manulife looks at the size and financial strength of this insurance provider. We outline the types of life policies available and some of the options you may want to consider.

We'll break down the coverage options and which country these solutions are available in. Arm yourself with the knowledge to make a confident decision about your life insurance.

Key Takeaways

  • Manulife, Canada’s largest insurance company by revenue, boasts a long-standing tradition and massive financial base, with over US$1 trillion in managed assets and services extending to over 35 million customers globally.
  • Offering diverse life insurance policies including term, whole, and universal life options, alongside health-related plans such as critical illness coverage, health insurance, and disability insurance, Manulife caters to a range of individual needs and promotes healthy living through incentives like the quit smoking programme.
  • While Manulife excels in product offerings, customer service experiences vary, highlighting an area with potential for enhancement in responsiveness and claims handling.
  • Manulife's financial strength, underscored by high credit ratings and a robust LICAT ratio, provides the reassurance you need for your long-term financial security.

Let's get started with our detailed Manulife insurance review of 2024.

Manulife's Industry Standing

In Canada’s life insurance market, Manulife is the largest life insurer with its roots dating back to 1887. With a legacy that includes leadership by Canada’s first prime minister, Manulife has grown into the nation’s largest insurance company, boasting over US$1 trillion in managed assets making it one of the largest asset managers in the world.

Manulife is the number 1 Canadian life insurance company Canada's number 1 life insurer, it's also number 8 in the world's life insurer rankings.

Manulife’s financial standing is further evidenced by its staggering $44.3 billion in gross written premiums, cementing its lead in the Canadian life insurance industry by revenue.

Manulife has over 35 million customers, supported by a global workforce of over 38,000 staff and thousands of distribution partners.

Manulife Credit Rating

Manulife, like all major financial institutions, has a credit rating assigned by independent agencies like Standard & Poor's, Moody's, and Fitch. Think of it as a report card on Manulife's financial health and ability to meet its obligations.

What Does a High Credit Rating Mean?

A high credit rating like Manulife's AA- rating from Standard & Poor's signifies very high financial strength and stability. It means Manulife is highly likely to pay out claims and fulfil life insurance policy commitments. Likewise, a lower credit rating could indicate financial risk and potential difficulties in meeting obligations.

Why is it important?

Your life insurance policy is a long-term commitment. Manulife's strong credit rating should give you peace of mind. The financial strength of a life insurer like Manulife is a key factor in ensuring your family's financial security is protected, even during challenging economic times.

Remember: Credit ratings can change over time, so it's wise to check the latest ratings from reputable agencies when considering any financial product. Manulife's consistently high rating is a testament to its financial stability and commitment to policyholders.

Manulife Life Insurance Company Strength Ratings

Here are the various assessments from different credit rating agencies [Last updated: May 30, 2024]:

AM Best Company A+ (Superior)

DBRS Morningstar AA

Fitch Ratings Inc. AA-

Moody's Investors Service A1

S&P Global Ratings AA-

You can check back here for quarterly updates of Manulife's ratings.

Key Points

  • Manulife and its subsidiaries generally maintain high ratings across different agencies, indicating long-term strong financial strength and stability.
  • There are slight variations in ratings depending on the specific agency and the way it calculates and determines its rating system which is usually proprietary.
  • It's always recommended to check the latest credit ratings directly from the agencies' websites for the most up-to-date information.

Manulife's Financial Strength: A Deep Dive into its LICAT Ratio

The LICAT (Life Insurance Capital Adequacy Test) ratio is a solvency assessment for life insurance companies. It measures the available capital of an insurer against its risk exposure. The ratio consists of two components:

Total Ratio: Evaluates the company's overall capital adequacy, including all capital resources and risk categories.

Core Ratio: Focuses on the highest quality capital (Tier 1) and the most significant risks.

A higher LICAT ratio indicates a stronger financial position, with more capital available to cover potential losses. Regulators establish minimum LICAT ratio requirements to ensure policyholder protection. The LICAT ratio serves as a critical indicator of an insurer's financial health and ability to fulfil its contractual obligations.

Manulife's LICAT ratio is 146% as of March 31st 2024 according to disclosures to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI). This is significantly above the supervisory target of 100% of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company of Canada.

The OSFI is the main federal regulatory body responsible for supervising federally registered life insurance companies in Canada. OSFI ensures that these companies maintain adequate capital levels and follow prudent business practices.

Exploring Manulife's Life Insurance Offerings

Manulife’s life insurance offerings include whole-life and term life policies for permanent and temporary financial protection. These solutions are a core offering of this insurer and we will explore these different types of Manulife policies available to high-net-worth clients. In addition to life insurance, Manulife also offers critical illness insurance, providing financial protection in the event of a serious health condition.

Manulife Whole Life and Indexed Universal Policies

Manulife's whole life and indexed universal life policies are cornerstone offerings for those seeking long-term financial security.

Manulife Whole Life Insurance Review

Manulife Whole Life insurance policies provide lifelong coverage, with the added benefit of building cash value over time. Manulife offers both participating (with potential dividends) and non-participating whole-life options.

Who Chooses Manulife Whole Life? High-net-worth clients who invest in Manulife's whole-of-life participating and non-participating policies typically want predictable and guaranteed returns. Participating whole-life policies offers guaranteed cash value growth and death benefits. This predictability can be appealing to risk-averse individuals.

Capital for Life's in-house assessment and review of Manulife's whole of life insurance policies determined it can be used for retirement income planning, estate planning, keyman protection and asset protection.

Manullife Indexed Universal Life Insurance

Manulife Index Universal Life policies are flexible, allowing you to adjust your coverage and premium payments as your needs change. Like Manulife's whole life policies, they also accumulate cash value. However, returns are linked to stock market index returns like those available from the S&P 500 or Hang Seng.

Who Chooses Manulife Index Universal Life Insurance? High-net-worth clients who invest in Manulife's Index Universal Life Insurance (IUL) want flexible premium payment options, unlike Manulife's Whole Life which has rigid premium payments. Manulife's IUL allows high-net-worth individuals to adjust contributions based on their cash flow and financial goals.

Manulife's IUL solutions are also suited to clients with a higher risk tolerance. They seek higher returns compared to those offered by traditional whole life policies.

Capital for Life's in-house assessment and review of Manulife's Index Universal Life Insurance determined it can be used for stock market protected investing, retirement income planning, estate planning, keyman protection and policy lending.

Manulife Term Insurance Review

Manulife's Term Life insurance policies cater to different high net worth client needs and preferences:

Term Life Yearly Renewable

This option provides coverage for one year at a time, with the premium increasing as you get older. It offers flexibility but will become more costly over time.

React5

This policy allows you to lock in coverage for five years, with the option to renew for additional five-year terms. A key benefit is the ability to convert to a permanent policy within the first five years, regardless of your health.

Why Chooses Manulife Term Life Insurance? Manulife's Term Life Insurance is a popular choice for those seeking affordable protection during key life phases, such as raising a family, covering debts, paying for education, or replacing lost income. It's a suitable solution for those with a lower budget than whole life insurance, as term life policies do not have cash value, making them straightforward and easy to understand.

Capital for Life's in-house assessment determined Manulife's Term Life Insurance can be used for both short and long-term family protection, debt repayment, and known liability time frame planning.

Our Experience of Using Manulife's Index Universal Life Insurance

Capital for Life has been recommending Manulife's international life insurance products since 2012. Our high-net-worth clients are long-term users of the following international Manulife products:

  1. Manulife Global Indexed Universal Life Insurance (MGIUL)
  2. Manulife Global Generations (MGG)

Other international Manulife life insurance products include Manulife Signature Indexed Universal Life Select.

Manulife Global Indexed Universal Life Insurance (MGIUL)

In our opinion, two of the standout features for high net-worth clients of Manulife's MGIUL policies are:

MGIUL Policy Withdrawal

A key advantage that Manulife's indexed universal life policy for the international market has over its competitors like Sun Life of Canada is the ability to take free withdrawals.

Manulife's free policy withdrawal facility allows clients to take an income from their IUL policy cash value which is an attractive feature for most of Capital for Life's customers.

A free withdrawal is available on Manulife's Global Indexed Universal Life Insurance (MGIUL) products allowing clients to take 5% of the policy's surrender value from year 11 without reducing the policy's death benefit.

Capital for Life has run thousands of MGIUL quotes simulating income withdrawals. We've concluded that MGIUL provides significant value and flexibility when compared to competing products in the international life insurance coverage market. The policy is particularly suited to retirement income planning.

Financial planners who work with Capital for Life incorporate the MGIUL policy into their clients' portfolios as part of their retirement and estate plans.

MGIUL Policy Loan

Like most other international life insurers, Manulife offers policy owners, the ability to take a policy loan from their IUL policy.

After using Manulife's IUL policy, we have found that whilst clients like the loan facility, they rarely take advantage of it. At Capital for Life, we believe this because high net worth clients who own these policies are not always informed of the policy loan facility.

However, there are excellent reasons to take advantage of Manullife's policy loan facility. Clients can use it for a variety of needs, such as covering unexpected expenses, educational fees, business investments or buying residential property.

MGIUL Guaranteed minimum interest rates

Manulife's minimum guaranteed interest rate of 3% upon policy encashment serves as a valuable safety net. Even if the stock market index linked to your policy doesn't perform as expected, you're assured this minimum return on your cash value. This guarantee provides peace of mind and supports the product's encashment value, while still offering the potential for higher returns if the market performs well.

Manulife Global Generations (MGG)

In our opinion, two of the stand out features for high net worth clients of Manulife's MGMs policies are:

MGG Policy Withdrawal

The ability to draw a guaranteed income from Manulife's MGG makes this product exceptional. Capital for Life uses this solution as part of our Income for Life range of solutions for high net worth clients.

MGG Particaption Rates

The consistent returns that the MGG policy has delivered over several decades with no negative returns makes this a stand out solution for lower risk investors look for a consistent deliver of income, but without the ups and downs of stock market or 60/40 portfolios.

Financial planners who work with Capital for Life incorporate the MGG policy into their clients' portfolios as part of their long term income retirement plan.

Capital for Life has run hundreds of MGG quotes simulating income withdrawals. We've concluded that MGG provides significant value to lower risk investors when compared to competing products in the international life insurance coverage market. It is well suited to investors seeking a steady stream of retirement income.

Pricing and Affordability

Manulife’s life insurance products are priced competitively, according to our analysis at Capital for Life. We run quotes every day for Manulife’s life insurance solutions take into account personal factors like age, gender, country of residence and health status. Our premium data analysis tells us this insurer is competitive with other international life insurers for the types of policies it offers in the international markets it offers cover in.

Our Manulife Life Insurance Review highlights the affordability and performance of Manulife's insurance rates, helping you make an informed decision.

Comparing Life Insurance Premiums

Manulife’s competitive edge is further sharpened by its family-friendly rates and additional coverage options for seniors, showcasing the company’s adaptability to various life stages and familial structures.

Manulife Medical Underwriting Process

The medical underwriting process is a critical part of buying a life policy with Manulife. The underwriting process considers a range of factors, including pre-existing medical conditions, age, gender, smoker status, country of residence and any hazardous or adventurous activities.

These factors will determine eligibility for coverage and the insurance rates you will pay.

For certain age groups, typically 18-55 with no pre-existing conditions and applying for less than US$5m of life cover, high net worth prospective clients can use Manulife's Light Touch underwriting approach. This skips the need for an in-personal medical exam and instead, the life to be insured will have a Telemed with an approved doctor.

For larger cases of US$5m plus, or for clients outside the qualifying Light Touch criteria, a full medical exam including ECG, treadmill and blood work will need to be undertaken.

Quit Smoking Programme

Manulife offers an incentive scheme for high-net-worth clients who want to quit smoking. For those smokers who genuinely want to quit, Manulife will allow a life inspired to pay the same premiums as a non-smoker for the first 3 years. As long as the life insured quits smoking and provides a negative nicotine test within the first 3 years, they can stay on the non-smoker rates for the rest of their life.

Capital for Life has found that clients using the Manulife quit smoking program have enjoyed considerable savings on their premiums using this incentive scheme. They will also enjoy far better health having give up smoking for good. Our experience of clients using this programme has been excellent and it's a definite differentiator for this insurance company.

Manulife Insurance Claims and Client Support

Following a claimable event, Manulife’s worldwide network of insurance agents facilitates customer service calls and the claims process.

In their 2022 Annual Report, Manulife reports:

Net benefits and claims: $35.9 billion (increase of $1 billion from 2021)

These figures provide an indication of the magnitude of payments made to policyholders, but the exact amount specifically for claims and benefits cannot be precisely determined without further analysis of the financial statements.

You can find more information in Manulife's 2022 Annual Report here: https://www.manulife.com/content/dam/corporate/en/documents/investors/MFC_SR_2022_Y1_EN.pdf

It is important to note that these figures will vary from year to year depending on a number of factors, including claims experience, policyholder behavior and investment performance.

Summary

In summary, Manulife is as a very strong contender in the life insurance arena, particularly for high-net-worth individuals seeking comprehensive coverage and long-term financial security. Its diverse range of international products, competitive pricing, and proven financial stability make it an attractive option. However, as with any financial decision, it's crucial to weigh the pros and cons, considering factors like customer service experiences and individual needs.

If you're seeking a robust life insurance solution from a reputable provider, Manulife undoubtedly warrants a closer look. It is recommended that you speak to your financial adviser or an experienced life insurance agent to assess how Manulife policies could be used with your unique financial circumstances, provides peace of mind and safeguards your future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different Manulife life insurance policies?

Manulife provides a comprehensive selection of life insurance policies, designed to cater to different life stages and financial priorities:

Term Life: Protection for a specific term (e.g. 1 renewable 10, 20, or 30 years).

Whole Life: Permanent coverage with a guaranteed death benefit and cash value growth.

Universal Life: Flexible premiums and customizable coverage amounts.

What determines the price of Manulife life insurance?

The price of Manulife life insurance is calculated based on several key factors:

Your Age: Premiums tend to increase with age.

Coverage Amount: The amount of coverage you need directly affects the cost.

Policy Term: Policies with longer durations often have higher premiums.

Smoking Status: Non-smokers usually qualify for lower rates.

Health Condition: Your overall health significantly impacts the premium.

Is Manulife a financially stable company?

Manulife maintains a strong credit rating from major agencies like S&P Global Ratings and Moody's, indicating its financial strength and ability to meet its obligations to policyholders.

How do I purchase Manulife life insurance?

You can buy Manulife life insurance through their extensive network of independent brokers and agents. These professionals offer expert advice and can help you select the right policy. For high-net-worth individuals, Manulife provides coverage in over 200 countries through their broker and agent network.

Can I add riders to my Manulife life insurance policy?

Manulife offers various riders that can be added to your policy to customise your coverage, such as critical illness riders, disability riders, and long-term care riders.

What is the maximum coverage amount I can get with Manulife life insurance?

The maximum coverage amount available through Manulife will vary depending on the specific policy type and individual circumstances. Manulife can offer in excess of US$50m on qualifying individual high net worth lives. It's best to consult with a Manulife agent or advisor to determine the appropriate coverage amount for your needs.

High-net-worth individual?  Don't miss out on the benefits a Manulife life insurance policy can offer you. As a preferred partner of financial advisors, private bankers, and wealth managers, Capital for Life is uniquely positioned to provide tailored solutions for your financial needs.

Secure your financial future and your legacy – contact Capital for Life today for a personalised quote.

Disclaimer

This article is written by Carlton Crabbe, Chief Executive Officer of Capital for Life, a specialist life insurance agency providing international life insurance solutions. The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or investment advice. While the author possesses extensive expertise in international life insurance, readers are advised to consult with a qualified financial advisor before making investment decisions or purchasing insurance products.

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