A large insurer has come up with a new twist on a classic form of life insurance.

New York Life Insurance Company, New York, says customers who buy its new Custom Whole Life Insurance policies can decide how long they want to pay premiums, by choosing a policy paid-up date at the time of purchase.

Once a policy is paid-up, the owner can draw an income stream from the cash value in the policy, New York Life says.

Consumers can use the policy to provide life insurance protection, accumulate cash value and generate retirement income, the company says.

Policy returns are independent from interest rates and stock market performance, and purchasers can buy a variety of riders, including an accidental death benefit rider and a waiver of premium rider.

New York Life is responsible for backing the product guarantees.