Brighthouse Financial today launched Brighthouse SmartCareSM, an indexed universal life product with a long-term care rider.
The combination ensures that even if customers don’t use the LTC benefit, they get value through the guaranteed death benefit, Brighthouse said in a news release.
SmartCare "distinguishes itself from other hybrid products by offering policyholders the ability to grow cash value, death benefits and LTC coverage through the performance of major market indices," Brighthouse explained.
Brighthouse SmartCare arrives at the intersection of two key retirement trends: rising costs of long-term care and increasing life expectancies. It is estimated that 50 percent of Americans turning 65 today will require some form of long-term care, with average lifetime long-term care expenses of $266,000, Brighthouse noted.
Yet, many retirement-age adults have a hard time envisioning and planning for the possibility of needing long-term care.
“We designed Brighthouse SmartCare to address an increasingly important question in retirement today: What happens to my financial future if I suddenly require long-term care?” said Eric Steigerwalt, president and CEO, Brighthouse Financial. “We’ve responded with a flexible IUL product that provides multiple layers of protection for customers as they build for what’s ahead.”
On Monday, Brighthouse reported fourth-quarter net income of $1.44 billion. On a per-share basis, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company said it had net income of $12.14. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, were $1.56 per share.
The results fell short of Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.74 per share.
Following several product introductions in its expanding annuity category, Brighthouse SmartCare marks the first life insurance product launch by Brighthouse Financial since becoming an independent entity in 2017.
Brighthouse was spun off by MetLife in 2017 to handle its life and annuity business. The new product represents early steps in the company’s strategy to re-establish a competitive foothold in the life insurance market, Brighthouse said.
“Brighthouse SmartCare builds on our foundation of experience and knowledge in the life insurance space,” Steigerwalt said. “We are excited to enter the growing hybrid market as we focus on rebuilding our presence in the retail life insurance market and diversifying our product portfolio.”
Brighthouse SmartCare is currently approved for sale in 46 states and the District of Columbia and will be available through select distribution partners.