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Brighthouse Prepares to Launch Life-LTC Hybrid

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Brighthouse Financial Inc. is preparing to introduce an indexed universal life (IUL) insurance policy designed for the long-term care (LTC) planning market.

The new Brighthouse SmartCare IUL policy will offer purchasers access to a rider that can provide a pool of LTC benefits with a value linked to the performance of an investment index.

(Related: Lincoln Execs Are Happy, and 4 More Life & Annuity Earnings Updates)

Eric Steigerwalt, the president of Brighthouse, talked about the new IUL product today, during a conference call Brighthouse held to go over the company’s earnings for the fourth quarter of 2018 with securities analysts.

MetLife Inc. put its individual life and annuity operations into Brighthouse and turned Brighthouse into a separate company in 2017.

Brighthouse has $57 billion in universal life and variable universal life insurance in force, but it reported just $1 million in new life insurance sales for the fourth quarter of 2018, and just $7 million in life sales for all of 2018.

The launch of the life-LTC IUL hybrid “marks our first life insurance product introduction since becoming an independent company, and it’s part of our strategy to reestablish a competitive presence in the life insurance market,” Steigerwalt said.

The life-LTC product is already approved for sale in 47 jurisdictions, Steigerwalt said.

A Brighthouse filing for the product that was posted on the District of Columbia website shows that, officially, the policy is classified in the district as a flexible-premium indexed adjustable life insurance policy.

For an eligible insured, the indexed LTC benefits rider lets the policy benefits be accelerated if a chronically ill insured is receiving qualified LTC services, in accordance with a physician’s plan of care, according to the filing.

Brighthouse has tried to design the rider to comply with Section 7702(B)(b) of the Internal Revenue Code, to make the arrangement a qualified LTC contract, according to the filing.

The riders will be available at the time of policy issue to purchasers at issue ages 40 through 75.

Brighthouse intends to start out with separate rider prices for men and women, but it may issue unisex riders later, according to the filing.

Brighthouse has received D.C. approvals for at least two collections of marketing support materials related to the new IUL product.

One includes a collection of articles. One has the title “Why People Plan for Long-Term Care Costs.” That one features vignettes focusing on five people who planned ahead of time for LTC costs.

Another is in introduction to a worksheet designed for people who preparing to talk about life-LTC hybrids with a financial advisor.

A second packet shows what a Brighthouse website for the product will look like. The filing includes illustrations of the icons that will appear on the website. One. for example, consists of a heart next to a lock.

— Read Brighthouse Prepares to Add Life Producton ThinkAdvisor.

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