If you are in the process of securing a financial plan, then it could be necessary also to obtain life insurance. The proceeds from a life insurance policy can be used in many ways, such as helping survivors to pay for their everyday living expenses, providing loved ones with a way to pay off debt, and for the payment of the insured's funeral and other final expenses.
When you are in the process of purchasing a life insurance policy, there are many key factors that you should consider before moving forward. For example, having the right type and amount of life insurance protection for your situation is important. There is typically not a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to life insurance.
It is also essential that you review the insurance carrier that you are considering buying your policy through to determine whether it is reliable and stable financially and that it has a good reputation for paying out its policy holders' claims. One company that meets these criteria is TIAA-CREF.
The History of TIAA
TIAA-CREF began nearly 100 years ago, and over the years, it has placed itself in a well-defined niche. Because of that, it has an excellent reputation for helping its clients meet their financial goals, and for ensuring that survivors and loved ones are protected.
It was the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching that established the company to provide a guaranteed retirement income and life insurance to those who were in the education field.
The acronym TIAA stands for the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America – and it is with educational institutions and non-profits that TIAA has a key focus on, as well as those who are in the medical, government, and other related fields. In fact, the initial mission of the company was to help ensure that teachers could retire with dignity.
In the 1950s, TIAA introduced the very first variable annuity product. This product included common stocks to help with increasing the savings within the annuity account. This new product was referred to as the College Retirement Equities Fund – or CREF – and its acronym was eventually added to the TIAA name, making it TIAA-CREF. (The company has since gone back to using just TIAA).
Today, the company is on the list of Fortune 500 companies, and it serves millions of clients. It is considered to be one of the top insurance companies in the United States regarding assets, and it is also listed on the Global 500 list.
In addition to assisting its clients with financial planning and asset protection, TIAA has also earned numerous awards and accolades, including being named as the Best Overall Fund Company by Lipper in 2017, for the fifth consecutive year.
TIAA also has a focus on ensuring diversity – both regarding its employees, as well as the clients that it serves. The company has its main headquarters location in New York, NY. However, it also has large offices in Charlotte, NC, Dallas, Texas, and Denver, Colorado.
TIAA Life Insurance Review
TIAA offers a wide variety of wealth enhancement and protection products. The company also provides education and advice for helping individuals to add the right goods and services to fit their needs.
The products of TIAA are provided via financial consultants who work directly for the company, who can offer financial advice, as well as assistance with setting up retirement plans. TIAA offers its products to individuals and employers/groups.
The company is healthy from a financial perspective, with approximately $243 billion in total invested assets (as of year-end 2016), and nearly $40 billion in the total statutory capital as of mid-2017. The company also has a net capital and surplus of more than $35.5 billion.
Insurer Ratings and Better Business Bureau Grade
Due to its stable financial footing, and its timely payout of claims to its policy holders, TIAA has earned very high ratings from the insurer rating agencies. These include the following:
- Aa1 (Very Strong) from Moody's Investor Services
- AA+ (Very Strong) from Standard & Poor's
- A++ (Superior) from A.M. Best Company
- AAA (Exceptionally Strong) from Fitch Ratings
Because of its strong capital position, TIAA is one of only three insurance groups in the United States that currently (as of mid-2017) holds the highest possible rating from three of the four leading insurance company rating agencies for its stability, claims to pay ability, and overall financial strength.
Also, even though the company is not an accredited business through the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Better Business Bureau has given TIAA a grade of A-. This is on an overall grade scale of A+ through F.
During the past three years, TIAA has closed out a total of 16 customer complaints via the Better Business Bureau (and none within the previous 12 months). Of these 16 total charges, ten had to do with problems with the company's products and services, three were about billing and collection issues, and the other three had to do with delivery issues.
Life Insurance Coverage Offered by TIAA
TIAA offers both term and permanent life insurance options. With term life insurance, there is death benefit protection only, without any cash or savings build up. This can help to keep the life insurance policy affordable – especially for those who are young and in good health at the time of the application for coverage.
With term insurance, policies are offered for a certain amount of time, such as ten years, 15 years, 20 years, or 30 years. During that period, the premium will typically remain level, as well the amount of the death benefit. The term life insurance policies that are offered via TIAA have death benefit protection that can range from $100,000 up to $1 million.
There are also annual renewable term life insurance options available through TIAA. With this type of plan, the coverage may be renewed each year (and the amount of the premium may go up now).
The death benefit will be paid out to a named beneficiary if the insured passes away while the policy is in force. Also, there are some term life insurance plan options through TIAA that will allow for early access to benefits if the insured has been diagnosed with a qualifying terminal illness.
There may also be the possibility for a term life policy holder to convert his or her plan over into an available TIAA Life permanent life insurance policy – and to do so without having to provide any evidence of insurability or to take an additional medical exam.
While term life insurance is often referred to as “temporary life insurance” (due to its set time frame), these policies can be a good alternative for those who are looking for:
- Affordable life insurance coverage for a particular time frame
- A benefit that will be income tax-free to survivors
- The ability to pay off a home mortgage while there is still a balance remaining
TIAA also offers permanent life insurance protection. With a permanent life insurance policy, there is death benefit coverage, as well as a cash value component that allows funds to grow and compound on a tax deferred basis. This means that the money that is inside of the policy's cash value can continue growing – without being taxed – unless or until it is withdrawn. Because of this tax advantaged feature, the funds that are inside of a permanent policy's cash value can compound exponentially over time.
As its name implies, permanent life insurance is designed to protect an insured for the remainder of his or her life – and, in most cases, the premium will not increase due to advancing age, or even if the individual contracts an adverse health condition, once they are insured.
A permanent life insurance through TIAA Life can be a good option for those who are seeking lifetime life insurance coverage, as well as a federal income tax-free death benefit for their survivors. They can also be a viable alternative for building up cash value that could be used in the future for things such as supplementing retirement income, paying off debts, purchasing a new vehicle, or just about any other possible need that the policy holder chooses.
If the funds that are inside of the cash value are borrowed, they are not required to be paid back. However, it is important to note that any unpaid loan balance at the time of the insured's passing will be charged against some death benefit proceeds that are paid out to the beneficiary.
TIAA offers both universal life insurance, as well as a universal life insurance option that also combines long-term care insurance coverage. There is also a variable universal life insurance plan available.
With the regular universal life insurance policy, the policy holder will attain flexible premiums – which can allow them to change their payment based on their changing needs (within certain policy guidelines).
The variable universal life policies offer all the same benefits as regular universal life, in addition to more than 60 different investment options for the policy's cash account. These can provide the opportunity for growth in the account.
With the combination universal life and long-term care plan, funds can be accessed to cover an extensive list of care-related needs, including skilled nursing home costs, assisted living and adult day care expenses, hospice care, and home health care needs.
Other Products and Services Available
In addition to life insurance coverage, TIAA also provides an extensive list of products and services to its customers. These include the following:
- Retirement Annuities
- Mutual Funds
- Brokerage and trading accounts
- 529 college savings accounts
- IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts)
- Retirement plans
- Estate Planning
- Managed Accounts
- Individual Advisory Services
- Home Loans
Likewise, the company provides lots of education that is available to those who need it about insurance and investing. Just some of the offerings include:
- Retirement Planning Basics
- Investing 101
- Starting out
- Managing Your Money and Other Financial Priorities
- Preparing for Retirement
- Living in Retirement
- Changing Jobs
- Preparing for Life's Big Events
- Tax Information
How to Get the Best Premium Rates on Life Insurance with TIAA
If you are seeking the best premium rates on life insurance via TIAA – or from any other insurance provider – it is recommended that you work with an independent life insurance agency or brokerage to compare many different companies, policies, and premium prices. From there, you can determine which would work the best for you.
When you are prepared to proceed with finding the right life insurance coverage, we can support you. We are an independent life insurance entity, and we work with many of the top insurers in the industry today. We can provide you with all the important details that you need – and we can do this for you swiftly, quietly, and conveniently – all from your computer. If you're ready to start the process, then all you need to do is just simply fill out our quote form.
Should you find that you still have any additional questions or concerns regarding life insurance coverage, please feel free to contact us directly so that you can speak with one of our experts. We can be reached toll-free via phone by dialing 888-836-7071.
We understand that the process of purchasing life insurance can seem a bit overwhelming. There are many different components to be mindful of – and you want to make sure that you are going in the right direction. This can be done much easier, though, when you have an ally on your side. So, contact us today – we're here to help.