Brighthouse Life Insurance Review 2019

This MetLife spin-off offers individual term life and universal life but hasn’t yet achieved the financial strength or customer service record its parent company has.

4/5 (Star Rating)

  • Term
  • Universal
  • Indexed Universal

Brighthouse Financial is an annuity and life insurance company that used to be part of MetLife. Brighthouse is now a separate entity and handles all of MetLife’s retail (individual) life insurance business, while MetLife sells only group life insurance.

If you have the option to apply for a MetLife policy through your employee benefits, read our MetLife life insurance review. If you’re buying an individual life insurance policy, keep reading about Brighthouse.

Brighthouse has an admirable origin story and has earned solid financial strength ratings in its own right. Still, this insurer has room to grow when it comes to customer service and product offerings.

Who might choose Brighthouse for life insurance?

  • Fans of MetLife: If you previously had MetLife life insurance through your employer and now want an individual policy, Brighthouse may be the closest thing you’ll find.
  • People looking for long-term care insurance: Brighthouse’s SmartCare product is indexed universal life insurance and long-term care insurance bundled together.
  • People with extremely short-term coverage needs: You can buy term life insurance from Brighthouse for just one year at a time.

Brighthouse life insurance policies

Policy type Features
Guaranteed level term 10, 15, 20, or 30 years
Option to convert to permanent coverage
Optional living benefits
Annual renewable term Lock in rates for one year at a time
Renew annually
Option to extend coverage to five years
Option to convert permanent coverage
Universal life Permanent coverageChronic and terminal care rider*
No surrender charge
SmartCare Indexed universal life insurance
Choice of indices for cash value growth
Long-term care insurance included

Table created for illustration purposes only. Information available at BrighthouseFinancial.com. Data effective 8/1/2019.
*Not available in California, Florida, or New York.

Brighthouse term life insurance

Brighthouse is a bit unique in the term lengths it offers. You can buy a guaranteed level (your premiums won’t increase) policy in terms of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. These term policies allow you to convert to permanent life insurance without taking another medical exam or answering medical questions. This conversion option is available until you turn 70 or five years after you purchase the policy, whichever happens later.

Brighthouse also offers another form of term life insurance that many companies don’t: annual renewable term (ART). With this type of policy, you buy coverage just one year at a time—which is useful if you have an extremely short-term life insurance need. If you’re a business owner looking for coverage while paying off a short-term loan, for example, this could be the right coverage for you.

Brighthouse universal life insurance

This insurer’s universal life product is called Premier Accumulator Universal Life (which the company dubs PAUL). PAUL provides a flexible premium and death benefit as well as cash value growth. If you decide to cancel the policy, you’ll be glad to know that Brighthouse’s surrender charges are lower than many competitors’. You could get more of your money back than you would with another company.

Brighthouse SmartCare life insurance

Brighthouse SmartCare provides both life insurance and long-term care coverage. The type of life insurance it provides is indexed universal life insurance, which means its cash value grows at a rate similar to an established index such as the S&P 500.

The long-term care portion of this insurance provides a living benefit that you can access before you die if you require long-term care. Because this is a hybrid policy, any funds you use for long-term care are subtracted from the death benefit payout your beneficiaries receive.


How much does life insurance with Brighthouse cost?

Brighthouse life insurance rates are known for being particularly competitive for people with sleep apnea and former tobacco use. Those with diabetes, high cholesterol, or recent weight loss, however, may find better rates elsewhere.

Cost is an essential consideration for many people who need life insurance. Unfortunately, Brighthouse doesn’t provide quotes on its website, so you’ll need to work with an agent directly to find out how much your premiums might cost.

If you’re not ready to take that step, learn more about how companies price life insurance. Or see the best life insurance rates by age.


Things to consider about Brighthouse

Brighthouse now handles all of MetLife’s domestic individual life insurance business (MetLife still sells individual policies internationally). Keep in mind, Brighthouse has just reached independence. As any parent sending a young adult child into the world knows, you may have to contend with some growing pains.

If you think a Brighthouse policy could be right for you, you could qualify for simplified underwriting.

What the Brighthouse-MetLife split means for you

Brighthouse finalized its separation from MetLife in August 2017. While it might feel like that was ages ago, the insurance industry is slow-moving. This spin-off is still fresh.

Since the split, Brighthouse stocks have stumbled a few times, and the insurer has yet to achieve the financial ratings heights of its parent. It’s reasonable to expect growing pains with this company for a while longer.

Still, buying a policy from Brighthouse isn’t the same as buying from an entirely new company. MetLife’s been around for over 150 years, after all, and much of that experience and stability could fuel a Brighthouse future that’s, well, bright.

Brighthouse Simple Underwriting

With Premier Accumulator Universal Life policies, you can choose this underwriting process to apply for no exam life insurance. To do so, you must meet specific age requirements, and you may have limited death benefit options.

Age limit Death benefit payout
21–65 Up to $2.5M
66–75 Up to $1M

Table created for illustration purposes only. Information available at BrighthouseFinancial.com. Data effective 8/1/2019.

With this underwriting process, you’ll need to complete a phone interview and application that includes reviewing your medical history. If no red flags pop up during this process, you may be able to skip the medical exam.

Keep in mind that if you’re approved, your rates will be for a “Standard” health class. If you’re in excellent health, you’d see lower premiums if you go through the full underwriting process.

If you don’t think you’ll qualify for Simple Underwriting, learn what to expect during a life insurance exam.


How Brighthouse stacks up

While Brighthouse became its own entity quite recently (2017), this insurer can trace its roots back to the founding of its parent company, MetLife, in 1863.1 MetLife has solid financial ratings, including an A+ (superior) from AM Best and AA- (strong) from Standard & Poor’s.

Is Brighthouse financially stable?

Brighthouse Financial ratings
AM Best (FSR) A
S&P A+
Moodys A3
Fitch A

Table created using information available at AMBest.com, StandardAndPoors.com, Moodys.com, and FitchRatings.com for Brighthouse Life Insurance Company. Data effective 7/22/2019.

Brighthouse achieves AM Best’s second-highest (excellent) rating of A. Standard & Poor’s, Moodys, and Fitch each give this company their third-highest ratings. Combined, these scores signal a low risk of defaulting on financial commitments.


Claims and customer service

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) reports that 28 consumers filed complaints against Brighthouse for individual life insurance claims in 2018. When compared to the nearly $2.3 billion in individual life insurance premiums this company earned in 2018, 28 complaints is quite low.2

Unfortunately, since Brighthouse split from MetLife, it hasn’t kept up with MetLife’s impressive customer service track record. In 2017, JD Power placed MetLife in its “Among the best” category for overall customer service with a score of 812 out of 1,000. MetLife was ranked second-highest (behind State Farm at 853). The life insurance industry average was 785.3

Brighthouse earned a slot in the JD Powers 2018 survey but scored just 752 out of 1,000. That places Brighthouse firmly below that year’s average of 779.4 As a newly independent company, this insurer may be experiencing some growing pains. Given its origins, however, we won’t be surprised if Brighthouse starts giving MetLife a run for its money in a few years.

Keep checking back here for the latest Brighthouse claims and customer service info.


Bottom line: Brighthouse is off to a good start

While Brighthouse hasn’t achieved the same high financial strength or customer service accolades as MetLife, it offers several policy options and simplified underwriting.

Brighthouse’s 2017 separation from MetLife means it now handles all of MetLife’s individual life insurance business. While Brighthouse has yet to match its parent’s reputation for financial stability and service, its background could spell success in the future.

Does Brighthouse seem like the right insurer for you? Then get a life insurance quote. If not, check out our list of the best life insurance companies.

Need help understanding how life insurance works? Read up here: 


Brighthouse FAQ

Does Brighthouse sell senior life insurance?

Brighthouse doesn’t explicitly offer life insurance for seniors, but that doesn’t mean older adults can’t get a policy with this company. Some Brighthouse policies have an upper age limit of 70 or older.

The same goes for final expense insurance. Brighthouse doesn’t sell products designed specifically for this purpose, but your beneficiaries can use the death benefit any way they choose.

Does Brighthouse sell other kinds of insurance?

Brighthouse sells only life insurance, annuity products, and life insurance and long-term care insurance hybrids. If you’re looking for auto, homeowners, or disability insurance, you’ll need to find a different company.


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