Frequently Asked Questions
Life insurance is a complex financial tool that is designed to provide an amount of cash for your family or others upon your death. With the variety of options available in the market today, you are faced with a number of decisions. When contemplating life insurance, you may wonder how much coverage is needed to fulfill your needs and objectives. Is the need permanent or temporary? What type of policy will help you reach your goals? Your individual circumstances will determine the right policy to fit your needs.
To assist you in making your decision, we recommend you contact a skilled life insurance professional. Based on your needs and resources, a plan that meets your objectives can be formulated. If you need assistance locating a Security Mutual Life Insurance Representative in your area, click here for our Agency Locator or please feel free to contact us.
If you would like to learn more about life insurance and its uses, please refer to these Frequently Asked Questions.
Life Insurance and Annuities FAQs
1) What are some of the common uses of Life Insurance?
- Provide income for surviving dependent family members.
- Preserve an estate — pay federal and state death taxes and other estate settlement costs.
- Pay off loans.
- Fund college education expenses for children and grandchildren.
- Equalize inheritances.
- Protect business from loss of a key employee.
- Shift wealth from one generation to another in a cost- effective manner.
- Benefit a charity.
- Replace a charitable gift.
- Meet special financial demands of dependents with physical or mental limitations, such as physically or mentally handicapped or learning disabled children, or elderly parents.
- Relieve survivors of financial management burdens by providing the death benefit in the form of an annuity payable for life.
- Create an estate.
- Create a supplemental retirement fund.
- Fund a business continuation arrangement.
1a) How much life insurance do I need?
This Comprehensive Life Insurance Analysis may help.
2) What are the basic types of Life Insurance?
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance provides death benefit protection for a term of one or more years. Death benefits are paid only if the insured dies within the specified term of years. Term life insurance typically provides the largest immediate death benefit for each premium dollar.
Most term life insurance policies are renewable for one or more additional years even if the insured’s health has changed. Each time the policy is renewed for a new term, premiums increase.
Term life policies generally contain a conversion feature. This enables the policyowner, prior to the final conversion date, to exchange the term life policy for a permanent plan of life insurance such as whole life or universal life, without evidence of insurability. Premiums for the new policy will be higher than what the policyowner had been paying for the term life insurance.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance provides death protection, as its name suggests, for the whole of life. Typically the policyowner would pay the same premium for as long as the insured should live. Premiums can be several times higher than premiums you would pay initially for the same amount of term life insurance, but they are smaller than the premiums you would eventually pay if you were to keep renewing the term life insurance policy until the insured’s later years.
Although you pay a higher premium initially for whole life than for term life insurance, whole life policies develop cash values which may be available to the policyowner.
Additionally, the policy’s cash value can be used as collateral for a loan. If the policyowner borrows from the policy, interest is charged at the rate specified in the policy. Any money owed on a policy loan is deducted from the benefits upon the insured’s death, or from the cash value if the policyowner surrenders the policy for cash.
Universal Life has several unique features not found in whole life policies. Specifically, the policyowner is provided with the flexibility to vary the timing and amount of premiums and the face amount, depending upon present needs.
Cash values are a function of past and present premium payments, interest crediting rates, mortality charges and expense charges. The interest rate credited to the policy cash value is based on current rates of interest, subject to a stated guaranteed minimum interest rate. In addition, current mortality and expense charges are deducted from the accumulation value, but the only guarantee is that these charges will not exceed certain maximums. As a result, the policyowner bears more of the risk of adverse trends in mortality and expenses than if a traditional whole life insurance policy were purchased. On the other hand, if the insurance company’s mortality costs and expenses improve, the policyowner may benefit through lower charges.
Second-To-Die or Survivorship Life Insurance
This is one policy that covers the lives of two insureds, typically a married couple. The death benefit is payable only when the last of two insureds dies. Typically this policy type is used to provide liquidity to pay estate taxes when the second spouse dies. Other uses of this form of life insurance include: to protect dual income families, to provide key person business insurance, to replace an asset gifted to charity and to fund a business buyout.
Because of the timing of the death benefit payment, the premium charges for survivorship life insurance plans are generally lower than those of comparable single life plans.
Second-To-Die life insurance policies are available in whole life, universal life and variable life versions and can be funded on either a single premium or annual premium basis.
Variable Life Insurance
This product combines permanent life insurance protection with a flexible investment plan that allows the policyowner to choose to invest premiums and cash values among a broad range of investments. Under such a policy, there is no guaranteed minimum cash value. The policyowner bears all the investment risk associated with the policy. There are two types of variable life insurance – variable whole life and variable universal life.
Under a variable whole life policy the death benefit may increase or decrease depending on investment performance, but will not fall below the guaranteed minimum, provided the required premium is paid.
Variable Universal Life policies (VUL) provide the policyowner with the flexibility to vary the timing and amount of premiums and the face amount of coverage, much like the fixed interest rate universal life policy. The primary difference is that under the VUL design the policyowner directs the investment of cash values among a variety of investments and assumes all of the investment risk. In addition, most variable universal life policies do not guarantee a minimum death benefit.
Annuities are either deferred or immediate.
- Deferred annuities provide income payments that begin at a later date. The primary reason for purchasing a deferred annuity is to accumulate money on a tax-deferred basis, which can then provide an income at a later date.
- Immediate annuities are contracts which begin paying installments generally within 12 months of the premium payment. The main reason for purchasing an immediate annuity is to obtain a regular income, most frequently for retirement purposes.
Deferred annuities can be either single premium or flexible premium.
- Single premium contracts, commonly referred to as Single Premium Deferred Annuities (SPDAs), do not permit additional premiums after the initial premium.
- Flexible premium contracts on the other hand permit the contract owner to make additional contributions after the initial premium.
Annuities may be either fixed or variable.
- A fixed annuity provides for tax-deferred accumulation at a fixed rate of interest.
- The value of a variable annuity is dependent upon the performance of an underlying portfolio of investments such as stocks, bonds and money market accounts.
Income Tax Considerations of Non-Qualified Annuities.
- Under current tax law, a contract owner is not taxed on increases in the value of an annuity contract until distributions occur, either as a lump sum, withdrawal or as annuity payments. For a lump sum payment received as a total surrender, the recipient is taxed on the portion of the payment that exceeds the cost basis of the contract.
- Withdrawals are taxable up to the amount of contract earnings.
- For annuity payments, the taxable portion is determined by a formula which establishes the ratio that the cost basis of the contract bears to the total value of the annuity payments for the term of the annuity contract.
- Note: Annuity distributions that begin prior to age 59 1/2 may be subject to a 10% federal penalty tax.
- The above information does not necessarily apply to Qualified contracts (contracts used under various types of Qualified retirement plans), separate tax withdrawal penalties and restrictions apply.
Note: Security Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. The above information is based upon the Company’s understanding of current federal income tax law applicable to annuities in general. Purchasers are cautioned to seek competent tax advice regarding the tax consequences of annuities.
4) What are the types of provisions found in a Life insurance policy?
Entire Contract Clause
Provides that the policy itself, the application and any attached riders constitute the entire contract between the policyowner and the insurer.
The policy owner typically has the following ownership rights:
- The right to designate and change the Beneficiary of the policy death proceeds. The beneficiary is the person or entity that the policyowner has selected to receive any death benefit payable upon the insured’s death.
- The right to select a Settlement Option, which is how the death proceeds will be paid to the named beneficiary. Beneficiaries can receive life insurance proceeds in a number of different ways aside from the common method of a lump sum distribution. Usual settlement options are: interest only, fixed period of years installments, fixed amount and life income.
Interest Only All or a portion of the policy proceeds are left on deposit with the company for a defined period of time, and only the interest is paid to the beneficiary. The proceeds are credited with interest at a rate declared by the company yearly, but the rate of interest will not be less than the guaranteed minimum rate.
Fixed Period of Years Installments Provides for the payment of the policy proceeds in installments over a definite period of time, typically not longer than 30 years. The amount of each installment is determined by the amount of the proceeds, the period of time, interest rates and the frequency of payments.
Fixed Amount The proceeds are paid in regular installments of a fixed amount. Payments continue until the principal amount and interest earnings are exhausted.
Life Income Proceeds are used to buy an annuity with payments made to a payee for life. Typically the policy provides for a guaranteed payment period of 10 or 20 years. If the payee dies within the guaranteed payment period, a beneficiary can be named to receive the remainder of the specified benefits
- The right to select a Nonforfeiture Option.
Nonforfeiture Values Policy values such as loans, cash, reduced paid-up insurance and extended term insurance which are not lost for nonpayment of premiums.
Cash Option The policy is surrendered and the company issues a check to the policyowner for the policy’s cash value.
Reduced Paid-up Option A nonforfeiture option found in most life insurance policies that allows the policyowner to have the cash surrender value of the policy used to purchase a paid-up policy for a reduced amount of insurance.
Extended Term Insurance Option A nonforfeiture option that provides for the cash value to be used as a net single premium to purchase term insurance for the face amount of the policy at the insured’s then attained age. The term insurance will continue for as long as possible, but not beyond the term of the original policy.
- The right to take out a Policy Loan, provided that a loan value exists.
The policyowner can borrow money (subject to some limitations) from the insurer at a stated rate of interest by using the policy’s cash value as collateral. Any loan balance outstanding at the insured’s death would be deducted from any life insurance death proceeds payable.
Automatic premium loan If elected by the policyowner, the loan value of the policy is used to pay a premium that has not been paid before the end of the grace period.
- If the policy is participating, the right to receive Dividends and apply them under one of the available dividend options.
Dividend In a mutual company, or company that issues a participating policy, it is a share of the surplus earned by the Company and reflects the difference between the premium charged and the actual expense of the policy. Dividends and/or values based on dividends should not be construed as guarantees or even as estimates of dividends to be paid in the future. Dividends will depend on the company’s investment earnings, claims experience and expenses in the future.
Dividend Options The different ways in which the policyowner of a participating insurer may elect to receive dividends, for example: in cash, to reduce premium, to purchase additional paid-up life insurance, left on deposit with the insurer at interest, to purchase one-year term insurance and to increase cash value.
- The right to assign Ownership to someone else.
The policyowner may typically assign the ownership of the policy. An absolute policy assignment will make the assignee the owner. A collateral assignment will not cause an ownership change, however, the rights of any owner, beneficiary, or other payee will be subject to the terms of the collateral assignment. The company is not responsible for the validity, effect or sufficiency of an assignment.
Free Look—Right to Examine Policy
Generally, a life insurance policy may be canceled for any reason within 10 days after it is received by the policyowner by delivering or mailing it to the agent through whom it was purchased or the home office of the company. Upon cancellation, the company will refund any premium paid. The policy will be considered void from its inception.
A grace period of 31 days after the premium due date is generally granted for the payment of each premium due after the first. During this period, the policy remains in effect. If the insured dies during the grace period and the premium has not been paid, any death proceeds will be reduced by the premium amount due.
If any premium is not paid before the grace period ends, or with respect to universal life insurance and current assumption whole life insurance policies, if the policy’s cash value is not sufficient to pay the monthly mortality and expense charges, the policy will lapse. Typically the policy may be reinstated within 5 years after lapse if:
- The policy has not been surrendered for cash.
- The insured is alive.
- Evidence of insurability satisfactory to the company is given.
- All overdue premiums, or with respect to universal life, overdue monthly deductions, are paid with interest from the due date of each premium.
- Any policy indebtedness existing on the due date of the unpaid premium is paid or reinstated with interest from that date.
This provision provides that after a specified period of time, usually 2 years from the policy issue date, the company may not generally contest the policy.
If the cause of death of the insured is by suicide within 1 or sometimes 2 years from the policy issue date, the policy proceeds generally will be limited to the premiums paid, reduced by the amount of any dividends paid in cash, dividends applied in reduction of premium and any outstanding loans with loan interest to date of death.
Misstatement of Age or Sex
If the insured’s age or sex is incorrectly stated on the application, the amount payable will be the amount which the premiums paid would have purchased for the correct age and sex. Upon receipt of due proof, the company will adjust the age and sex of the insured at any time.
5) What are some of the basic RIDERS that can be attached to a life insurance policy to enhance flexibility?
Accidental Death Benefit
A rider providing for the payment of an additional death benefit if the insured’s death occurs by accidental means, as defined in the rider.
Accelerated Benefits Rider
This rider permits the policyowner to access a portion of the life insurance proceeds during the insured’s life should the insured suffer from a terminal illness.
Disability Waiver of Premium
A rider that can be added to most life insurance policies that exempts the policyowner from paying premiums after the insured has been disabled for a specified period of time.
Guaranteed Insurability Rider
A rider that gives the policyowner the contractual right to acquire additional insurance at specified times in the future, without evidence of insurability.
Insurance Exchange Rider
A rider that allows the policyowner to exchange the original policy for a policy insuring another life, subject to evidence of insurability at the time of the exchange. This rider is primarily used in business situations. For example, a corporation that owns a series of policies on key executives’ lives may wish to switch insureds in the event one or more of the executives terminates employment or retires.
6) How do I find a low cost policy?
After you have decided which kind of life insurance fits your needs, look for a good buy. Your chances of finding a good buy are better if you use two types of index numbers that have been developed to aid in shopping for life insurance. One is called the Surrender Cost Index and the other is the Net Payment Cost Index. It will be worth your time to try to understand how these indexes are used, but in any event, use them ONLY for comparing the relative costs of similar policies. Look for policies with low cost index numbers.
What is Cost?
Cost is the difference between what you pay and what you get back. If you pay a premium for life insurance and get nothing back, your cost for the death protection is the premium. If you pay a premium and get something back later on, such as a cash value, your cost is smaller than the premium.
The cost of some policies can also be reduced by dividends; these are called participating policies. Companies may tell you what their current dividends are, but the size of future dividends is unknown today and cannot be guaranteed. Dividends actually paid are set each year by the company.
Some policies do not pay dividends. These are called guaranteed cost or non-participating policies. Every feature of a guaranteed cost policy is fixed so that you know in advance what your future cost will be.
The premiums and cash values of a participating policy are guaranteed, but the dividends are not. Premiums for participating policies are typically higher than for guaranteed cost policies, but the cost to you may be higher or lower, depending on the dividends actually paid.
What are Cost Indexes?
In order to compare the cost of policies, you need to look at:
- Cash Values
Cost indexes use one or more of these factors to give you a convenient way to compare relative costs of similar policies. When you compare costs, an adjustment must be made to take into account that money is paid and received at different times. It is not enough to just add up the premiums you will pay and to subtract the cash values and dividends you expect to get back. These indexes take care of the arithmetic for you. Instead of having to add, subtract, multiply and divide many numbers yourself, you just compare the index numbers which you can get from life insurance agents and companies:
- LIFE INSURANCE SURRENDER COST INDEX – This index is useful if you consider the level of the cash values to be of primary importance to you. It helps you compare costs if at some future point in time, such as 10 or 20 years, you were to surrender the policy and take its cash value.
- LIFE INSURANCE NET PAYMENT COST INDEX – This index is useful if your main concern is the benefits that are to be paid at your death and if the level of cash values is of secondary importance to you. It helps you compare costs at some future point in time, such as 10 or 20 years, if you continue paying premiums on your policy and do not take its cash value.
There is another number called the Equivalent Level Annual Dividend. It shows the part dividends play in determining the cost index of a participating policy. Adding a policy’s Equivalent Level Annual Dividend to its cost index allows you to compare total costs of similar policies before deducting dividends. However, if you make any cost comparisons of a participating policy with a non-participating policy, remember that the total cost of the participating policy will be reduced by dividends, but the cost of the non-participating policy will not change.
How Do I Use Cost Indexes?
The most important thing to remember when using cost indexes is that a policy with a small index number is generally a better buy than a comparable policy with a larger index number. The following rules are also important:
- Cost comparisons should be made only between similar plans of life insurance. Similar plans are those which provide essentially the same basic benefits and require premium payments for approximately the same period of time. The closer policies are to being identical, the more reliable the cost comparison will be.
- Compare index numbers only for the kind of policy, for your age and for the amount you intend to buy. Since no one company offers the lowest cost for all types of insurance at all ages and for all amounts of insurance, it is important that you get the indexes for the actual policy, age and amount which you intend to buy. Just because a Shoppers Guide tells you that one company’s policy is a good buy for a particular age and amount, you should not assume that all of that company’s policies are equally good buys.
- Small differences in index numbers could be offset by other policy features, or differences in the quality of service you may expect from the company or its agent. Therefore, when you find small differences in cost indexes, your choice should be based on something other than cost.
- These life insurance cost indexes apply to new policies and should not be used to determine whether you should drop a policy you have already owned for a while, in favor of a new one. If such a replacement is suggested, you should ask for information from the company which issued the old policy before you take action.
- An important fact to note is the difference in premium payments paid during one year’s time based on an annual premium versus the annualized periodic premium. For example, if you choose to pay premiums on a monthly basis, the annualized periodic premium would be twelve (12) times the monthly premium. There may be a significant difference between the annualized periodic premium and the annual premium and it should be considered when deciding on a payment schedule.
- In any event, you will need other information on which to base your purchase decision. Be sure you can afford the premiums, and that you can understand its cash values, dividends and death benefits. You should also make a judgment on how well the life insurance company or agent will provide service in the future, to you as a policyholder.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER—A SUMMARY
The first decision you must make when buying a life insurance policy is choosing a policy that has benefits and premiums that most closely meet your needs and ability to pay. Next, find a policy which is also a relatively good buy. If you compare Surrender Cost Indexes and Net Payment Cost Indexes of similar competing policies, your chances of finding a relatively good buy will be better than if you do not shop. Remember, look for policies with lower cost index numbers. A good life insurance agent can help you to choose the amount of life insurance and kind of policy you want and will give you cost indexes so that you can make cost comparisons of similar policies.
Don’t buy life insurance unless you intend to stick with it. A policy that is a good buy when held for 20 years can be very costly if you quit paying premiums during the early years of the policy. If you surrender such a policy during the first few years, you may get little or nothing back and much of your premium may have been used for company expenses.
Read your new policy carefully, and ask the agent or company for an explanation of anything you do not understand. Whatever you decide now, it is important to review your life insurance program every few years to keep up with changes in your income and responsibilities.
7) Someone is telling me I should replace my existing policy with a new one, what should I do?
Think twice before discontinuing or changing your current life insurance policy in order to buy a new one. It is rarely in your best interest; following are a few reasons why…
It Could Cost You
During the early years of policy ownership, much of what you paid covered the insurance company’s expense of selling and issuing the policy. This expense will be incurred all over again when you buy a new policy.
If a cash value policy is surrendered and the proceeds placed into a new policy, the cash value may be relatively small for several years due to the imposition of surrender charges. In fact, the new policy’s cash value may never be as large as that of the existing policy.
If you are older and your health has changed, premiums and/or insurance charges for the new policy will often be higher. Beware of anyone offering free insurance or more insurance at a lower cost. It is likely the premium due on the new policy is being paid by drawing cash from an existing policy.
You Could Lose Guarantees
Life insurance is purchased to assure the accumulation of a desired amount of liquid capital at death. If you are considering the purchase of a variable life (VL) or variable universal life (VUL) policy, be aware that you bear all of the investment risk and more of the risk of adverse trends in mortality and expenses than with a traditional whole life policy. The cash value, and perhaps the death benefit, under VL and VUL policies would not be guaranteed.
You Could Lose Benefits
Certain provisions such as the suicide and contestable clauses are required by state law to safeguard the policy owner and beneficiary. Usually after one or two years from the date of the policy, the insurance company cannot challenge the validity of the policy or deny benefits if death is a result of suicide. These clauses, which may have already been satisfied in your existing policy, will often start over on a new policy. The result — the insurance company may have the right to cancel the contract or refuse to pay a claim for certain events during the initial period of the policy.
You Could Owe Income Taxes
According to Section 72(e) of the Internal Revenue Code, upon the complete surrender of a policy, if the gross cash value of the present policy exceeds the new premiums paid, the difference is taxable to the policyowner. You should understand that a 1035 exchange does not eliminate taxable income if there is a taxable gain and there is an outstanding policy loan at the time of surrender.
Get All The Facts
Before making the decision to replace or exchange an existing policy, make sure you get all the facts. Read over your existing policy, and ask your representative or a member of your insurer’s policyowner service department for a detailed cost breakdown of premiums, cash surrender values and death benefits. Request the same information for the new policy you are considering. Then, compare the two thoroughly.
Make sure you hear from both your existing company and your proposed company before you make your decision.
If your requirements have changed since you bought your policy, you may be able to change your present policy, or even add to it, to get the coverage and benefits you now need.
If you decide to replace the policy you now own with other insurance, be sure:
- To insist that the agent making the proposal put it in writing.
- That you qualify for the insurance applied for.
- That you do not take action to terminate your existing policy until your new policy has been issued and you have examined it and found it acceptable.
8) How are Life Insurance cash values and death proceeds generally taxed?
Under Curent Tax Law:
- The cash value growth in a life insurance policy generally enjoys deferral of taxation while the policy remains in force.
- Policy loans, except those made from Modified Endowment Contracts, are generally NOT treated as taxable distributions.
- If the entire life insurance policy is surrendered for its cash value, the difference between the gross cash value and the taxpayer’s basis in the policy, is generally subject to income tax.
- Partial surrenders from life insurance policies are taxable to the extent funds received exceed the taxpayer’s basis in the policy.
- Funds coming out of a life insurance policy (other than as death proceeds) classified as a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC), are taxed differently than those not classified as a MEC. Under a MEC, distributions, including policy loans, are subject to income tax to the extent the gross cash value of the policy exceeds the taxpayer’s basis in the contract. In addition, a 10% penalty tax may apply if the distribution was made prior to owner’s age 59 1/2.
- In general, life insurance death proceeds are not subject to income taxation. This income tax exclusion makes life insurance a very attractive financial planning tool.
Note: Security Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York does not provide legal or tax advice. The general information presented on various tax aspects of life insurance is not intended to be relied upon as tax advice. Individuals should seek the advice of a qualified tax professional regarding the taxation of life insurance as it applies to their particular situation.
Loans and Withdrawals FAQs
1) How soon will I receive my loan/withdrawal funds?
Loan and withdrawal requests are processed within five business days after they are received at the Company’s Home Office in Binghamton, NY. Funds can be electronically transferred into the policyowners’ personal checking account by providing an imprinted check marked “void” with the loan application or withdrawal form. Loan and/or withdrawal checks issued will be mailed the business day following the day the request was processed.
2) What is the maximum withdrawal amount?
With a whole life policy, the policyowner may withdraw all dividends that are not:
- loaned against
- applied as “increasing cash value”
- being used to reduce the premium due or the loan balance
- being applied to custom term riders
The policyowner may withdraw from the fund value of Universal Life and Annuity contracts. For the maximum withdrawal amounts please contact our Individual Client Services Department. (There is an administration fee for the processing of each Universal Life withdrawal.)
Universal Life contracts and Annuities have required minimum fund balances, which are stated in the contract. Feel free to contact us.
3) What is the maximum loan amount?
4) Do I have to repay a policy loan?
No, you are not required to repay the loan on most policies. (Only Tax Sheltered Annuity policy loans are required to be repaid. A repayment schedule will be mailed with the loan check.)
5) Is there a benefit to repaying the loan?
Yes, the benefits of repaying the policy loan are that both the death benefit will be restored to the extent of the loan and the policy cash value will increase.
6) What is the difference between a loan and a withdrawal?
A loan can be repaid, and the death benefit restored to the extent of the loan. A withdrawal cannot be repaid as it is a partial surrender of both the policy cash value and death benefit.
Loan interest is charged annually on an outstanding loan balance. There is no interest accrued for partial policy withdrawals.
7) Is a withdrawal available on all Universal Life contracts?
Not all Universal Life contracts have the withdrawal option available. Be advised that there is a limit of four withdrawals annually for Universal Life contracts and a minimum withdrawal amount may apply to Universal Life and Annuity contracts. Please contact our Individual Client Services Department with further questions.
8) What is the Tax Treatment of Loans and Withdrawals?
The taxation of cash value distributions from life insurance policies will differ if the policy is a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC). If the cumulative premium payments exceed certain amounts specified under the Internal Revenue Code, your policy will become a MEC. If your policy is a MEC, any death benefit provided under the contract will still be income tax-free, but you may be subject to additional taxes and penalties if there are distributions from the policy.
Both MEC and Non-MEC policies allow cash values to grow tax-deferred. However, a Non-MEC policy will be taxed more favorably than a MEC when a distribution is taken from the policy.
If you are uncertain if your policy is a Modified Endowment Contract please contact the home office at 1-800-765-6668.
Collateral Assignment FAQs
1) I am taking out a personal or business loan on my policy and need to attach a Collateral Assignment to my policy. How do I go about doing this?
Our Company has a Collateral Assignment form available for use by its policyowners. Some banks and other lenders prefer to use their own collateral assignment forms. We often accept other financial institutions’ forms; however, please allow some extra processing time as these forms often require a legal review.
Please note that Security Mutual Life requires an original copy with the ink signatures of the Collateral Assignment. If you and/or the assignee wishes to have an original signed copy for your records as well, please submit multiple originals.
Please be aware that a Collateral Assignment establishes your policy as a collateral security between the Policyowner and the Assignee. It gives the Assignee the right to collect the amount of the policyowner’s indebtedness from the proceeds of the policy at death or at maturity, or the cash surrender of the policy at any time. Only the balance of the proceeds, if any, will pass to the beneficiaries under the policy.
Once added, both the Policyowner and the Assignee will have to sign for any change to the policy that will decrease policy values or face amount.
Other Conditions of a Collateral Assignment are listed on the form itself.
2) I have paid off my personal or business loan and the Collateral Assignment attachd to my policy should be removed. What should I do?
If the original assignment was completed on an SML Collateral Assignment form, the assignee may complete the “Release of Collateral” section at the bottom of a copy of the original assignment. Many bank forms have a similar release section.
If a copy of the original assignment is not available, please have the assignee complete the “Release of Collateral” section of a blank form.
If the bank or lender to whom you have assigned your policy has closed or changed hands, the successor institution will need to release the assignment. If you are unsure of your assignee’s successor, try the FDIC website.
Be sure any person signing on behalf of a bank, lender, or other institution includes their title. If possible, please submit a copy of institutional documentation including names and titles of officers/signatories.
Please call our Individual Client Services Department for additional assistance or questions.
Absolute Assignment FAQs
1) How do I change the owner of my policy?
You may change ownership by completing an Absolute Assignment form in full.
When completing the form, keep in mind that if there are multiple current or new policyowners, all must sign.
Whenever one or more individuals are signing for a trust, corporation or other institution, be sure they each include their title with their signature. If the new policyowner is a trust, the trustees must complete a Trust Certification form. If the new policyowner is a corporation or business, the authorized officers of that business must complete a Business Entity Ownership Certification.
Please note that when changing ownership, the new owner may also wish to change the beneficiary of the policy as well – please see the Beneficiary Designation FAQs section below
Please call our Individual Client Services Department for additional assistance or questions.
1) My policy has lapsed or has gone to its Non-Forfeiture Option. What can I do to reinstate it?
In many cases, a policy is eligible for reinstatement review as long as reinstatement is applied for within five years of the policy’s lapse or Non-Forfeiture Option processing. However, there are several factors that can influence the policy’s eligibility for reinstatement, including potential tax implications. Please contact our Individual Client Services Department to check on your specific policy’s eligibility.
If eligible, we will provide you with the necessary Reinstatement Application. Our underwriters will review the information provided on your completed application and may request additional evidence of insurability. Should your Reinstatement Application be approved, we will inform you of the amount of premium required to complete the reinstatement process at that time.
Beneficiary Designation FAQs
1) Who is the current Beneficiary of my policy?
To find out your current beneficiary designation, please call or contact our Individual Client Services Department.
2) How do I change the Beneficiary of my policy?
Beneficiaries may be changed by completing a Beneficiary Designation form.
When completing the form, keep in mind that if there are multiple policyowners, all must sign. Whenever individuals are signing for a trust, corporation or other institution, be sure they each include their title with their signature.
Be sure that the policyowner’s signature is witnessed by a disinterested third party. A named beneficiary may not sign as witness. The witness should include his or her address in the space indicated.
Please call our Individual Client Services Department for additional assistance or questions.
Customer Service Requests FAQs
1) How do I change my address?
Complete the Customer Service Request form Sections #1 and #13 along with the policy number, insured name, and policy owner taxpayer identification number.
2) How do I request a duplicate policy?
Complete the Customer Service Request form Sections #2 and #13 along with the policy number, insured name, and policyowner taxpayer identification number.
3) How do I apply to make my policy Reduced Paid Up?
The Surrender Value, if any, will be applied as a net single premium to provide insurance on an adjusted basis. The amount will be that which the Surrender Value will purchase when applied as a net single premium. Complete the Customer Service Request form Sections #3 and #14 along with the policy number, insured name, and policyowner taxpayer identification number.
4) What is the Automatic Premium Loan Provision and how can I request that option on my policy?
With the Automatic Premium Loan Provision in effect, the Company will pay any premium that is unpaid at the end of its grace period by a loan which the Company will automatically advance, if sufficient cash value exists. To elect or cancel this option after the policy has been in force for one year, complete the Customer Service Request form Sections #5 and #13 along with the policy number, insured name, and policyowner taxpayer identification number.
5) How can I elect the Accumulation Dividends option to pay unpaid premiums?
With the Accumulation Dividend option in effect, the company will pay any Premium, which is unpaid at the end of its grace period from any amount on deposit under Accumulation Dividends, if sufficient. To elect or cancel this option after the policy has been in force for one year, complete the Customer Service Request form Sections #6 and #13 along with the policy number, insured name, and policyowner taxpayer identification number. (Contact Individual Client Services to confirm this option is available on your policy.)
6) How can I change my Dividend Option?
Complete the Customer Service Request form Sections #7 and #13 along with the policy number, insured name, and policyowner taxpayer identification number. (Note: This cannot be used for any one year term transactions without evidence of insurability. Contact Contact Individual Client Services for more information regarding Dividend Option Changes.)
7) How can I notify Security Mutual that my name has changed?
Complete the Customer Service Request form Sections #8 and #13 along with the policy number, insured name, and policyowner taxpayer identification number.
8) How can I change the Payor on my policy?
Complete the Customer Service Request form. In Section #12 write ‘Change payor to: _________’ including the new payor’s name, address, and relationship to the insured person and #13 along with the policy number, insured name, and policyowner taxpayer identification number.
9) How can I change the Premium Mode on my policy?
Complete the Customer Service Request form Sections #9 and #13 along with the policy number, insured name and policyowner taxpayer identification number. (the mode must coincide with the anniversary of the policy). For policies other than universal life an additional charge will apply if premiums are paid other than annually. The additional charge varies based on the payment mode selected. If you want to know the additional charge for the mode selected, expressed either as a dollar amount and/or APR (Annual Percentage Rate), please contact Individual Client Services at 1-800-765-6668.
10) How can I surrender the Dividends in my policy?
Complete the Customer Service Request form Sections #10 and #13 along with the policy number, insured name and policyowner taxpayer identification number.
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) FAQs
1) How do I establish Electronic Funds Transfer?
We require an Electronic Funds Transfer form completed and returned to our office with an imprinted check marked “VOID” from the bank account that the deductions would be coming from.
2) How do I change my bank information for my automatic draft?
To change the bank account that we are drafting from, we require an Electronic Funds Transfer form completed and returned to our office with an imprinted check marked “VOID” from the new bank account. If the only information being changed is the bank account number (Routing number is staying the same), we can accept an imprinted check marked “VOID” from the new account along with a letter of instruction.
3) My bank has recently merged and I have a new account. What do I do?
See question 2 above – “how do I change my bank information for my automatic draft”.
4) How do I cancel my automatic draft?
We require a signed request from the policyowner or account holder to stop the automatic draft. This request must be received at least 3 business days prior to the draft date. The available direct billing modes are quarterly, semi-annually and annually.
Please contact Individual Client Services at 1-800-765-6668 for questions on how to proceed with any request to cancel your automatic draft.
5) How can I change my automatic draft date?
We require a signed request from the policyowner or account holder stating the new date that you would like the deductions to occur. Deductions must occur in the same month as the current policy paid to date, between the 1st and the 28th of the month. Please contact Individual Client Services.
6) How can I set up my monthly deductions to repay my outstanding loan?
We require an Electronic Funds Transfer form completed and returned to our office with an imprinted check marked “VOID” from the bank account that you would like us to draft from. Please indicate on the form what amount you would like us to draft monthly. Also indicate that this monthly draft is for a loan repayment.
7) What is the procedure if I have a policy that has an increasing premium?
The policyowner will be notified of the premium increase, by letter, 30 days prior to the draft of the increased premium amount.