What is an Index Universal Life?
Index Universal Life (IUL)
Universal life (UL) insurance comes in a lot of different flavors, from fixed-rate models to variable ones, where you select various equity accounts to invest in. Indexed universal life (IUL) insurance allows the owner to allocate cash value amounts to either a fixed account or an equity index account. Policies offer a variety of well-known indexes, such as the Nasdaq-100 or the S&P 500.1 IUL insurance policies are more volatile than fixed ULs, but they are less risky than variable UL insurance policies, because no money is actually invested in equity positions.
IUL insurance policies offer tax-deferred cash accumulation for retirement while maintaining a death benefit. People who need permanent life insurance protection but wish to take advantage of possible cash accumulation via an equity index might use IULs as key person insurance for business owners, premium financing plans, or estate-planning vehicles. IULs are considered advanced life insurance products in that they can be difficult to adequately explain and understand.
How Does Indexed Universal Life (IUL) Insurance Work?
When a premium is paid, a portion pays the cost of insurance based on the life of the insured. Any fees are paid, and the rest is added to the cash value. The total amount of cash value is credited with interest based on increases in an equity index (but it is not directly invested in the stock market).
Some policies allow the policyholder to select multiple indexes. IULs usually offer a guaranteed minimum fixed interest rate and a choice of indexes.2 Policyholders can decide the percentage allocated to the fixed and indexed accounts.
The value of the selected index is recorded at the beginning of the month and compared with the value at the end of the month. If the index increases during the month, the interest is added to the cash value. The index gains are credited back to the policy either on a monthly or an annual basis.