Return of Premium Life Insurance – Worth the Extra Cost?

Something I frequently discover working in the insurance world is other insurance brokers trying to convince all of their term life insurance clients to add on the return of premium rider. However, while the prospect of getting every penny of your cash back seems wonderful, is adding the return of premium rider suitable for you? This rider, or additional policy benefit, raises the policy holder’s price, although at the completion of the term, if the insured has not died, the policy owner receives back every dime he has paid in premiums. This extra benefit can elevate the premium anywhere from 30% to 200% of the level term with no rider added. There are two schools of thought here: Some figure, “Why should I mind paying double the premium, since it will all end up in my pocket one day?” Other folks, however, want to pencil out the details and tally whether or not adding the extra benefit is a wise financial decision for them. The answer, of course, is that it depends on some variables, which we’ll discuss.

But first, let’s address life insurance with the ROP benefit acting like an investment. Specifically, it’s not, to be exact, but here’s how some investment-savvy folks see it. To appraise what sort of dollar benefit, or return on investment, you’ll derive from return of premium, begin by taking note of what the cost of the rider is. Now, if I were to invest that amount in a traditional investment, how much would I have to gain to end up being equivalent to the total premium I’ll have returned to me at the termination of my policy?

For example, if your return of premium policy costs $500 more per year than your regular term policy, and 20 years down the line, your return of premium policy will pay you back $25,000, then you can do some quick math on a financial calculator and find that if you were to take that $500 and invest it elsewhere, you’d have to earn about 9% in that investment for it to grow to $25,000. Well that’s a slam dunk in my book. I’ll settle for 8 or 9 percent any day of the week, especially knowing it’s guaranteed money.

It won’t be so clear-cut for everyone, though. Health and age are the primary factors that will affect how attractive your internal rate of return is, with the length of term and amount of face value being factors as well. If you’re between the age of eighteen and thirty-five, in super condition, you’ll most likely get an internal rate of return approaching double-digits. You might only get a 5-7% internal rate of return, however, if you’re in your 40’s or 50’s. Again, health plays a factor too. Next, you’ll want to go with a twenty or thirty year term, as those have the best return on investment.

One excellent feature of Return of Premium Life Insurance is that currently, the taxes you’ll pay on your return of premium are 0! Uncle Sam can’t tax it because you don’t get back a dime more than you put in, meaning you didn’t actually “earn” any interest. So even if your internal rate of return is just 6%, that’s still a terrific net rate.

One more thing before we wrap this up: Don’t buy ROP unless you’re committed for the long haul. Let your policy lapse half way through the term, and you might get back 20% of your premiums in surrender value. Hold it until the end of the term, and get back 100%. Be smart and plan to hold on to this policy. Last, even if you’re not the perfect candidate to purchase term life insurance with return of premium, I’m not condemning its purchase. No matter how expensive it is, it actually costs nothing more than the time value of money, since you it’s all reimbursed, and that’s one insurance payment we can all feel comfortable paying.

Life Insurance Corporation of India

Life Insurance Corporation of India is the biggest government-owned life insurer in India. The company is also the biggest investor in India. The Government of India is the overall owner of the company. The headquarters of LIC India are located in Mumbai.

The company offers insurance plans for both individuals and employee groups. LIC India finances 24 percentage of the outlays of the Government of India. The insurer carries out its operations with the help of 100 divisional offices, 8 zonal offices, 2,048 branch offices and 10,02,149 agents. The asset value of the company has been evaluated at Rs. 9.31 trillion (US Dollor 202.03 billion).

History of Life Insurance Corporation of India:

LIC of India was incorporated in 1956 with the amalgamation of over 200 insurance companies and provident societies. Previously, it was known as Oriental Life Insurance Company. The company was the first to offer life coverage in India. It was set up in Kolkata by Bipin Behari Dasgupta in 1818. The first national insurance carrier was Bombay Mutual Life Assurance Society, established in 1870.

Other insurance providers set up in the preindependence period include the following:

United India (1906)

Bharat Insurance Company (1896)

National Insurance (1906)

National Indian (1906)

Hindustan Co-operatives (1907)

Co-operative Assurance (1906)

General Assurance

Indian Mercantile

Swadeshi Life (later Bombay Life)

After the introduction of the Life Insurance Act and Provident Fund Act in 1912, the company underwent a series of mergers and acquisitions. Nationalization of the Insurance industry in India sped up this procedure. The company ranks as the biggest government insurer at the present time.

Products and services of Life Insurance Corporation of India

The products and services of LIC India are as follows:

Pension Plans

Insurance Plans

Special Plans

Unit Plans

Group Scheme

Withdrawn Plans

Subsidiaries and affiliates of LIC India Given below are the names of the subsidiaries and affiliates of Life Insurance Corporation of India:

International Operations

LIC Mauritius

LIC Fiji

LIC Representative Office, Singapore

LIC United Kingdom

LIC (Nepal) Ltd

LIC (International) B.S.C (C), Bahrain

Saudi Indian Company for Co-op. Insurance, KSA.

LIC (Lanka) Ltd

LIC Mauritius Offshore Ltd.

Kenindia Assurance Co. Ltd., Kenya.

LIC Singapore Offshore Ltd.

Associates

LIC Housing Finance Ltd.

LIC HFL Financial Services Ltd

LIC Mutual Fund AMC Ltd.

LICHFL Care Homes Ltd.

LIC Pension Fund Limited

LIC Cards Services Ltd.

Find Great American Life Insurance Companies

What To Know About Insurers In The US

Most insurance in the US is regulated at the state level. There are some federal laws, but each of the 50 state insurance departments govern most of business conducted by companies in that particular state. This means that, even if a company is national or international, policies and prices will vary from state to state. Even the way that insurers are allowed to market their products is regulated at the state level.

That is why most insurance quote forms will ask you for a zip code first. The system needs to know where you live in order to come up with accurate quotes from local companies. The life insurance policy that your twin brother in Arizona bought may not be on the market in New Jersey. Even if it is on the market, you may not get the same deal that he did.

Find Great American Life Insurance Companies!

You may remember how hard it used to be to shop for a life policy. You may have to call around to set multiple appointments with many different agents. This could take a lot of time. It could be confusing to compare policies and premiums. In fact, it could even be pretty stressful since you also had to endure a lot of sales speeches.

The 21st Century Way to Compare US Insurance Companies

The net has made a lot of insurance shopping a bit easier. You have access to a lot of online information if you know what to look for. Simple and free online quote forms can give you competitive rates and plans before you have to speak with anybody. You are still free to speak with a professional agent in your area, and we advise most people to do this before they make a final buying decision. However, these days, many companies allow you to quote, compare, and even purchase American life insurance online!

Lists of The Best US Life Insurance Companies?

You have probably seen a lot of lists which attempt to rank insurance companies based upon different criteria. They usually compare prices, customer service, financial stability, and claims. These lists can be very interesting, however we are not sure that they are very useful to the average consumer who just wants to shop for a policy.

First, most insurance is regulated at the state level. If you look at a national list for your whole country, you may be looking at several insurers who do not even do business where you live. Rates and particular policies will also be local. This means that you can be sure that Life Insurance Company X is cheapest for you just because it is cheapest for your identical twin who lives in another state.

Another reason that lists of insurance companies may not be that useful is because you may have some particular needs that will be better served by a niche company that is too small to make a top 10 list. For example, some insurers may specialize in serving older people. Another may have a great variety of term or mortgage life insurance policies for younger families. It is important to find the company that serves you, and your family, the best.

Another issue with these lists of top life insurance companies is the fact that so many smaller insurers are actually owned by larger companies. When you actually trace these companies up the ladder, you tend to find that a few parent companies keep popping up as the owners.

How To Find Information On US Life Insurance Companies

One of the easiest ways to find out a lot about insurers in your area is by checking with your own state’s insurance department website. Many of these sites are very useful resources, and they exist to serve you! You can find the valid insurers in your state, complaints records, and get contact information if you want to check out any companies or agents.

International Health Insurance Information

We have all seen the cost of health insurance continue to get more and more expensive. As a result many people are looking into International health insurance coverage programs. It just isn’t worth not having any insurance at all because it only takes on medical emergency for you to find yourself several thousands of dollars in debt. You don’t want to have a financial obligation like that hanging over you head. You can find some affordable health insurance options if you take the time to compare the prices and the coverage.

International insurance is not available to citizens of the United States unless they aren’t currently residing in the United States. Some of the different International health insurance providers have age limits in place as well. No one over 65 is offered new coverage. Make sure you look at the details of what is being offered to you before you commit to any health insurance policy.

Before you will be approved for International health insurance you need to complete a detailed questionnaire. You will need to provide complete information about your entire medical history. This includes your past medical problems as well as any ongoing medical needs you currently have. Once the provider has reviewed this information they will be able to determine if you are eligible for coverage as well as the right program for you.

It is very important that you are completely honest with the questionnaire as you complete it. Don’t omit information in an effort to get a better rate on your health insurance. If you don’t disclose information and it is discovered they can cancel your policy.

After you have completed the questionnaire and spoken to a health insurance representative you will get information on the available coverage. There are limits to the coverage of such insurance, especially while you are traveling to the United States. The cost of the International health insurance that is offered to you will depend on your age, the coverage you are interested in, and the deductibles that apply to your insurance plan. You can get plenty of free quotes on International health insurance so you can select the one that is right for you.

Save Taxes – Basics of an Irrevocable Life Insurance Dynasty Trust

For US persons, an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) is arguably the most efficient structure for integrating tax-free investment growth, wealth transfer and asset protection. An ILIT comprises two main parts: (1) an irrevocable trust; and (2) a life insurance policy owned by the trust. An international (or offshore) ILIT is a trust governed by the law of a foreign jurisdiction that owns foreign-based life insurance. An offshore ILIT is better than a domestic ILIT because it is more flexible and less expensive. Regarding US tax laws, a properly designed international ILIT is treated virtually the same as a domestic ILIT.

An ILIT becomes a dynasty trust (or GST trust) when the trust’s settlor (or grantor, the person who establishes and funds the trust) applies his lifetime exemption for the generation skipping transfer tax (GSTT) to trust contributions. Once a dynasty trust is properly funded by applying the settlor’s lifetime exemptions for gift, estate and GST taxes, all distributions to beneficiaries will be free of gift and estate taxes for the duration of the trust, even perpetually. The individual unified gift and estate tax exemption and the GSTT exemption are both $5 million ($10 million for a married couple) during 2011 and 2012, which are the highest amounts in decades.

Under the US tax code, no income or capital gains taxes are due on life insurance investment growth, and no income tax is due when policy proceeds are paid to an insurance beneficiary upon death of the insured. When a dynasty trust purchases and owns the life insurance policy and is named as the insurance beneficiary, no estate tax or generation skipping transfer taxes are due. In other words, assets can grow and be enjoyed by trust beneficiaries completely tax-free forever. Depending on how a trust is designed, a portion of trust assets can be invested in a new life insurance policy each generation to continue the cycle.

Private placement life insurance (PPLI) is privately negotiated between an insurance carrier and the insurance purchaser (e.g., a dynasty ILIT). Private placement life insurance is also known as variable universal life insurance. The policy funds are invested in a separately managed account, separate from the general funds of the insurance company, and may include stocks, hedge funds, and other high-growth and/or tax-inefficient investment vehicles. Offshore (foreign) private placement life insurance has several advantages over domestic life insurance. In-kind premium payments (e.g., stock shares) are allowed, whereas domestic policies require cash. There are few restrictions on policy investments, while state regulations restrict a domestic policy’s investments. The minimum premium commitment of foreign policies typically is US$1 million. Domestic carriers demand a minimum commitment of $5 million to $20 million. Also, offshore carriers allow policy investments to be managed by an independent investment advisor suggested by the policy owner. Finally, offshore policy costs are lower than domestic costs. An election under IRC § 953(d) by a foreign insurance carrier avoids imposition of US withholding tax on insurance policy income and gains.

Whether domestic or offshore, PPLI must satisfy the definition of life insurance according to IRC § 7702 to qualify for the tax benefits. Also, key investment control (IRC § 817(g)) and diversification (IRC § 851(b)) rules must be observed. When policy premiums are paid in over four or five years as provided in IRC § 7702A(b), the policy is a non-MEC policy from which policy loans can be made. If policy loans are not important during the term of the policy, then a single up-front premium payment into a MEC policy is preferable because of tax-free compounding.

An offshore ILIT provides much greater protection of trust assets against creditors of both settlor and beneficiaries. Courts in the US have no jurisdiction outside of the US, and enforcement of US court judgments against offshore trust assets is virtually impossible. Although all offshore jurisdictions have laws against fraudulent transfers, they are more limited than in the United States. In any case, an offshore ILIT is necessary to purchase offshore life insurance because foreign life insurance companies are not allowed to market and sell policies directly to US residents. An international trust, however, is a non-resident and is eligible to purchase life insurance from an offshore insurance carrier.

An international ILIT may be self-settled, that is, the settlor of the trust may be a beneficiary without exposing trust assets to the settlor’s creditors. In contrast, in the United States, the general rule is that self-settled trusts are not honored for asset protection purposes.

In Private Letter Ruling (PLR) 200944002, the IRS ruled that assets in a discretionary asset protection trust were not includable in the grantor’s (settlor’s) gross estate even though the grantor was a beneficiary of the trust. The trustee of a discretionary trust uses his discretion in making distributions to beneficiaries consistent with trust provisions. Previously, it was questionable whether a settlor could be beneficiary of an ILIT without jeopardizing favorable tax treatment upon his death. The new ruling gives some assurance to a US taxpayer who wants to be a beneficiary of a self-settled, irrevocable, discretionary asset-protection trust that is not subject to estate and GST tax. As a result, the trustee can (at the trustee’s discretion) withdraw principal from the PPLI or take a tax-free loan from the policy’s cash value and distribute it tax-free to the settlor, as well as to other beneficiaries. In other words, a settlor need not sacrifice all enjoyment of ILIT benefits in order to achieve preferred tax treatment.

An offshore ILIT is designed to qualify under IRS rules as a domestic trust during normal times and as a foreign trust in case of domestic legal threats to its assets. The offshore ILIT is formally governed by the laws of a foreign jurisdiction and has at least one resident foreign trustee there. As a “domestic” trust under IRS rules, the trust also has a domestic trustee who controls the trust during normal times. If a domestic legal threat arises, control of the trust shifts to the foreign trustee, outside the jurisdiction of US courts, and the trust becomes a “foreign” trust for tax purposes. A domestic trust “protector” having negative (or veto) powers may be appointed to provide limited control over trustee decisions. An international ILIT protects trust assets against unforeseen lawsuits, bankruptcy and divorce.

The objective of PPLI is to minimize life insurance costs and to maximize investment growth. The life insurance policy acts as a “wrapper” around investments so that they qualify for favorable tax treatment. Nevertheless, PPLI still provides a valuable life insurance benefit in case of an unexpected early death of the insured.

Initial costs of setting up an ILIT are high, but are recouped after a few years of tax-free investment growth. Initial legal and accounting fees are typically in a range of $25,000 to $50,000. Premium “loading” charges are in a range of about 3% to 5% of premiums paid into offshore PPLI (compared to 8 – 10% in domestic PPLI). Annually recurring charges depend on policy value and vary widely among PPLI carriers, so careful comparison shopping is advised. For example, annual asset charges should be in a range of about 40 to 150 basis points (0.4% to 1.5%) of the policy’s cash value. The annual cost of insurance is not substantial and declines over time. Annual costs for maintaining an offshore trust are several thousand dollars. Finally, investment manager fees are paid regularly out of policy funds.

Cash may be contributed to the ILIT, which then purchases PPLI. If asset protection of vulnerable fixed assets in the US is a concern, then equity stripping can be used to generate cash, which is then contributed to the offshore ILIT. Of course, stocks and bonds and other assets may also be contributed to the ILIT and used for investing in PPLI. Various value-freezing and valuation discounting techniques can be used to leverage the GSTT exemption.

An offshore “frozen cash value” policy is a variation of PPLI governed by IRC § 7702(g). The minimum premium commitment is about $250,000. During the life of the insured, the cash surrender value is fixed at the sum of the premiums paid. Withdrawals up to the amount of the paid-in premiums are tax-free, but cash value in excess of the premium amounts is inaccessible until after death of the insured.

Another alternative investment for an ILIT is a deferred variable annuity (DVA). There is no cost of insurance, so investment growth is faster. Tax on appreciation is deferred, but DVA distributions are taxed as income.

Generally, for public policy reasons and because the insurance industry possesses strong political influence, life insurance has long enjoyed favorable tax treatment. Over the past two decades, numerous IRS rulings have clarified the tax treatment of PPLI and irrevocable discretionary trusts. At the same time, strong, new asset protection laws and reliable service providers in numerous foreign jurisdictions have enabled safe, efficient and flexible management of international trusts and insurance products. As a result, an international irrevocable, discretionary trust owning PPLI can provide tax-free growth of a global, variable investment portfolio managed by a trusted financial adviser in full compliance with US tax laws. At the discretion of the trustee, trust assets (including tax-free insurance policy loans and withdrawals) are available to the settlor during his lifetime. Upon death of the insured, policy proceeds are paid tax-free to the trust. Thus, a well-managed life insurance dynasty trust perpetually secures the financial well being of settlor, spouse, children and their descendants.

Warning & Disclaimer: This is not legal advice.

Copyright 2011 – Thomas Swenson