West Coast Life Insurance Company Review
West Coast Life Insurance was founded in 1906 and recently combined forces with Protective Life Insurance. The company has lived by what they call the ‘Five Cardinal Principles’: Focus on the customer, continuously improve, empower and trust, concentrate on the long term and the team, and utilize statistical analysis to improve processes.
The company has proven to be innovative over the years, highlighting a number of ‘firsts’ in their marketing. For example, they were the first to offer life insurance in Hawaii, first to issue automatic premium loans, and the first to issue an unemployment compensation disability policy.
West Coast Life stands strong with independent financial ratings. AM Best gives them an ‘A+’ or superior rating, placing them 2nd highest among 15 rated companies. Standard & Poor’s rates them very strong, giving an ‘AA-‘for financial strength and ability to pay claims.
Fitch gives them a strong rating or ‘A’, which places them 6th highest among 22 rated companies. Moody’s gives them an ‘A2’ or good rating, also 6th highest out of 21 companies.
West Coast Term Life Insurance
The company currently offers three iterations of term insurance.
The first is Focus Term, which is available in five year increments from ten to thirty year level premium periods. The Focus Term has two attractive features built into the policy, which means there is no added cost for these ‘rider’ types of benefits. The policy includes a conversion to permanent insurance option as well as an accelerated death benefit for terminally ill. These are common riders, so this policy may price in as a great alternative to another term policy that will require an added cost for these benefits.
Golden Legacy Term is a last survivor term insurance that is designed to help offset Federal estate taxes. Available in ten, twenty, or thirty year level premium terms, this policy is an estate planning tool and will provide affordable coverage when compared to other term policies offered by West Coast Life.
Income Replacement Term is an innovative policy with a unique method for paying out the death benefit proceeds. The policy owners passing triggers a stream of income to beneficiaries intended to replace the lost income of the insured. This coverage is available in terms between ten and thirty years and the death benefit payment period can range from five to thirty years.
Universal Life Insurance from West Coast
West Coast Life has designed three universal life policies to suit varying insurance shoppers. All of the universal policies offer both flexible premium payment capacity as well as adjustable death benefits. This is attractive to most families as it is fully flexible, allowing leniency when times are tough and the potential to increase coverage when times are good.
The Lifetime Advantage Plus UL is the balanced introductory policy and currently offers a minimum guaranteed interest rate of 3%. This policy will offer lapse protection for a period of ten to fifteen years, depending on issue age.
The Lifetime Platinum III is a UL policy very similar to the Advantage Plus, however it adds built in lifetime lapse protection. Currently available information does not provide that there is a minimum guaranteed interest rate.
The Lifetime Platinum III Plus is geared more towards families wanting cash value accumulation for later in life. The policy provides for maximum access to funds through loans and withdrawals. Additionally, the policy includes an accelerated death benefit which will provide a portion of the death benefit to the policy owner while living with a terminal illness.
Estate Planning Tools
West Coast Life has two versions of survivorship life insurance, a common estate planning tool. With these policies the death benefit is paid upon the passing of the second of two insured persons.
The first of the two such policies is the aforementioned Golden Legacy Term. The second is the Golden Legacy Protector X, a universal life policy with second to die coverage. The Protector X is a flexible policy with built in lifetime lapse protection and catch up provisions if premiums fall behind. Survivorship life policies generally have more flexible underwriting, in many cases covering a couple even if one has health problems. For more healthy couples, there is a preferred underwriting classification which will likely offer lower premiums than standard policies.
What about Whole Life or Variable Products?
Unfortunately at this time West Coast Life Insurance is not offering any whole life or variable life insurance. Many companies are opting out of the whole life policy business as universal policies are more attractive to most families. Companies like West Coast Life prefer to utilize their outstanding portfolio of fixed securities as opposed to offering variable policies. They maintain the assets under management instead of making outside fund purchases with separate accounts. For this reason they don’t offer variable insurance at this time.
Summary and Standout Policies or Features
Overall, the company is a very strong player in the term and universal insurance marketplace. Income Replacement Term is an innovative and attractive policy for younger working families. An alternative to lump sum death benefits is worth considering, especially for families that don’t have experience budgeting or discipline with their spending.
The Lifetime Advantage Plus is a very good universal policy. The dual nature of flexibility (premium and death benefit) is a great feature. This allows families to adjust their policy in any direction when life changes, for the better or for the worse. With universal life policies, the goal is to maximize cash value without that value getting too near to the face amount of the insurance. When that happens, our friends at the IRS begin to look at the policy as a savings account and are anxious to TAX YOUR GAINS! The ability to increase coverage and avoid any taxable event is a very nice feature on a policy.
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