In a press release today Voya Life Insurance announced that they will no longer be offering term life or any product with a life time guarantee, essentially gutting the company of the most cost effective and useful products in their portfolio. Voya, aka Reliastar, aka ING Reliastar has been on a downward spiral in their treatment of customers for years now in spite of the claim on their customer service answering recording that they have been voted the “2016 World’s Most Ethical company”. There is no information from Voya on who voted on that, if it’s real or not, and how a company can offer such horrible service and equate that to “most ethical”.
In their announcement they stated, “To achieve our vision to be America’s Retirement Company, Voya must continually evolve our strategy in response to change, and often challenging, market conditions. The insurance industry continues to face strong headwinds, including historically low interest rate, heightened market volatility and regulatory changes. In response to these conditions and as part of our evolution as a company there will be a number of changes to our product offering”. I find it kind of ironic that they would equate pulling all guaranteed products off the market to evolution. Seems down right counter-evolutionary to me. For someone like me, a long time life insurance agent who has based my career on offering the best guarantees to my customers, I stand befuddled and ashamed for my industry that Voya and other companies have taken this kind of action.
Let me just share one thought about Voya’s reference to “historically low interest rates and heightened market volatility”. Voya created the products that they are now turning their back on during times of historically low interest rates and heightened market volatility. Those products were profitable then and they still are. Actuaries priced those products to last and the fact that the times didn’t improve and the pricing is now insufficient tells me that the Voya actuaries were out to lunch or the company is lying about the lack of profitability now. I believe the company has simply made a choice to remove guarantees from their portfolio to increase profits, because without guarantees life insurance policies that are absurdly high priced with no guarantees can’t be compared to their own formerly guaranteed products. You now have the illusion that Voya can only be profitable by selling self serving non guaranteed junk.
Bottom line. There is more of this to come. Other life insurance companies will follow this less than ethical lead in the quest for higher profits from policies that are all in favor of the company and not at all a prudent choice for consumers. If you have a policy with bad guarantees or aren’t sure if your policy even has guarantees, call or email me directly. And if you are approached by anyone offering Voya life insurance products, turn and walk away. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.