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Guaranteed vs. Non-Guaranteed Permanent Life Insurance Policies
Fifty years ago, most life insurance policies sold were guaranteed and offered by mutual fund companies. Choices were limited to term, endowment or whole life policies. It was simple, you paid a high, set premium and the insurance company guaranteed the death benefit. All of that changed in the 1980s. Interest rates soared, and policy owners surrendered their coverage to invest the cash value in higher interest paying non-insurance products. To compete, insurers began offering interest-sensitive non-guaranteed policies.

Guaranteed versus Non-Guaranteed Policies
Today, companies offer a broad range of guaranteed and non-guaranteed life insurance policies. A guaranteed policy is one in which the insurer assumes all the risk and contractually guarantees the death benefit in exchange for a set premium payment. If investments underperform or expenses go up, the insurer has to absorb the loss. With a non-guaranteed policy the owner, in exchange for a lower premium and possibly better return, is assuming much of the investment risk as well as giving the insurer the right to increase policy fees. If things don’t work out as planned, the policy owner has to absorb the cost and pay a higher premium.

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