Insurance Products Articles

What Is a Longevity Annuity?

November 2014 by Stan Haithcock
Longevity annuities provide a guaranteed source of income starting at a future date. One type, QLACs, can now be held in 401(k) plans. Read more »

Long-Term Care of Your Personal Finances

January 2014 by Christine S. Fahlund
Long-term care covers the costs of assistance with daily living activities and can protect your financial stability. Pay attention to a policy’s condition triggers and elimination periods. Read more »

Life Insurance Cash Value: A Practical Discussion

January 2014 by Peter Katt
Borrowing against or withdrawing the cash value of a policy will reduce the death benefit and could put the policy at risk of lapsing. Read more »

The Costs of Owning an Annuity

September 2013 by Stan Haithcock
Costs vary by the type of annuity purchased, but typically include disclosed annual costs, built-in commissions, opportunity costs and tax liabilities. Read more »

A Primer on Insurance Products

July 2012 by Peter Katt
Practical commentary on using life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance and annuity products. Read more »

Life Insurance and Estate Gifting

March 2012 by Peter Katt
Potential changes in the tax law next year make it a smart estate-planning strategy to give as a large of a gift now as possible. Read more »

Life Insurance: Managing Premiums and Policy Maturity

June 2011 by Peter Katt
Many participating whole life policies and universal life policies have death benefits that mature between ages 95 and 100, making routine management a necessity. Read more »

Variable Universal Life: Astute Management Required

September 2010 by Peter Katt
The inherent volatility of equity sub-accounts makes this a very different type of life insurance. Read more »

The Pitfalls of Life Settlements

May 2010 by Peter Katt
Life settlements are often unfavorable due to high commissions and a lack of transparency. Read more »

Lightening the Financial Load of Life Insurance Products

May 2009 by Peter Katt
Decisions about financial assets come under stress in difficult economic times. A look at four helpful ways of managing life insurance during such periods. Read more »

Insurance Products and Taxes: Keeping Uncle Sam at Bay

June 2008 by Peter Katt
Taxes are a fact of American life that impact many areas, including life and disability income insurance. Understanding the relationship between insurance and taxes is important. A look at several tax issues. Read more »

The Unsettled State of the Life Settlement Market

September 2007 by Peter Katt
Is your old policy worth more than its surrender value? That's what the life settlement market would have many older policyholders believe. But usually the transactions make little sense--unless you are the agent earning an enormous commission. Why it pays to be wary. Read more »

Protect Your Assets: Don't Neglect Disability Insurance

August 2007 by Michael P. Franks
Disability insurance protects a valuable asset--a worker's ability to earn a living. What to look for in your disability coverage--and how to ensure that you have enough insurance. Read more »

What You Need to Know About Immediate Annuities

May 2007 by Peter Katt
Immediate annuities can be a valuable retirement asset for retirees willing to exchange principal for guaranteed lifetime income. What to look for in an immediate annuity. Read more »

Annuities: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

July 2006 by Peter Katt
Annuities seem to be more popular than ever, but most of this has been driven by marketing. A review of the annuity products available—and which ones are really advantageous for individual investors. Read more »

Why You Should Avoid Investor-Initiated Life Insurance

May 2006 by Peter Katt
Individuals’ altruistic instincts are being tapped by a life insurance marketing scheme that has been coined “investor-initiated life insurance.” Although it may sound intriguing, this is something that you want to avoid. Read more »

Tax-Advantage Opportunities With Cash Value Life Insurance

November 2005 by Peter Katt
Life insurance has exceptional income tax characteristics that are sometimes overlooked by advisors focusing only on term insurance. A look at three situations where the tax advantages can benefit your portfolio. Read more »

Variable Life Illustrations and the Problem of Stock Volatility

July 2005 by Peter Katt
Variable life insurance policy illustrations can present a highly misleading picture to buyers who will be investing the policy primarily in equity subaccounts. Simulations of how the policy will fare based on various stock market results can paint a truer picture of how your premiums may change over time—and the risk of policy faliure if you neglect to adjust. Read more »

What You Need to Know About Long-Term Care Insurance

May 2005 by Paula Hogan
Custodial care is expensive and can easily drain financial resources. Because of this, the decision to buy long-term care insurance has become an important financial planning issue. What you need to know. Read more »

No-Lapse Premium Guarantee Policies: The Risks Revealed

November 2004 by Peter Katt
Insurance Products: Companies selling no-lapse premium guarantee life insurance policies may have additional solvency risks—a vital consideration if you are considering them as a new or replacement policy. Read more »

Estate Planning and Insurance: Does Premium Financing Make Sense?

July 2004 by Peter Katt
Insurance Products: Financing permanent life insurance premiums through third-party lenders may not live up to the marketers' promises. Factors to consider before looking at this option. Read more »

Variable Life Insurance: Be Wary of Policy 'Delusions'

November 2003 by Peter Katt
Variable life illustrations create an illusion of predictability that simply doesn't exist. In addition, variable life's expenses are higher than participation whole life. Read more »

The Potential Problems With No-Lapse Premium Guarantees

July 2003 by Peter Katt
Agents selling no-lapse premium-guarantee policies rarely utter a discouraging word about them in their sales rhetoric. But there is only one planning area where they are a good option. Read more »

A Life Settlement Update; and Life Insurance in Pension Plans

May 2003 by Peter Katt
Life settlements involve the selling of unneeded or no longer affordable life insurance policies. If selling is the decision, you need to be aware of how to deal with the various types of life settlement firms. Read more »

Hard-to-Spot Differences in Tax Loopholes vs. Tax Scams

November 2002 by Peter Katt
Permanent life insurance is often associated with tax avoidance schemes. It appears that promoters of these schemes feel it sells better if tagged with the "tax loophole" label, because this gives them more apparent legitimacy. Read more »

Life Insurance Issues to Be Wary of: Surrender Charges & Leaps of Faith

July 2002 by Peter Katt
There are many permanent life insurance policies that have zero surrender value for as long as five years, and very depressed surrender values for as long as 15 or 20 years. Why insurance buyers don't notice this. Read more »

Does It Make Sense to Sell Your Life Insurance Policy?

May 2002 by Peter Katt
Policy sellers beware: Life-settlement firms are pursuing their own financial interests, and have extensive pricing expertise to do so--an advantage that individual policyholders can't match when evaluating a possible sale. Read more »

Vanishing-Premium Policy Designs: The Good and the Bad

February 1998 by Peter Katt
Insurance Products Column: Minimum-premium-to-maximum-death-benefit vanishing-premium policies are inherently flawed, but there are other vanishing-premium policy designs that can be useful. Read more »