Trending in 2017: Life Insurance Sales Move Online

by on Dec 11, 2017

As 2017 comes to an end, we’re looking back at some of the year’s financial industry trends. This post is part of a series examining notable patterns and highlights.

Life insurance firms have offered online guaranteed issue policy applications for years but only recently began allowing online applications for underwritten policies. With premiums based on applicant health, these underwritten products are often more affordable than their guaranteed issue counterparts, and online applications have the potential to reach an audience that lacks the time or patience for a traditional paper-based application. Startups like Quilt, Ladder and Haven Life led early online sales, but this year saw more established firms join the market. Below, we highlight 2017 offerings from MassMutual and MetLife. MassMutual followed its 2015 backing of Haven Life by launching its own Direct Term pilot program and experimenting with paying advisors commissions when their clients make an online purchase. The online sales process for MetLife’s new term policy allows some applicants to receive underwritten insurance without a medical exam.


MassMutual Direct offers fully underwritten convertible term life insurance coverage of up to $2,000,000 with an online application. While the firm originally promoted the possibility of receiving a policy without a medical exam, clients now receive immediate temporary coverage that becomes finalized after a medical exam. A dedicated microsite hosts a narrative quote tool, which estimates policy costs based on demographic information and desired coverage. The microsite features a detailed FAQ page and live chat, allowing prospects to learn about life insurance before purchasing a policy.

MassMutual introduced the product as a pilot program at the same time that it revamped its public site and refreshed its brand to focus on interdependence. The firm already backs the similarly structured Haven Life product and provides guaranteed acceptance life insurance, but the Direct policy is the first fully underwritten product available online directly from MassMutual. While the MassMutual-backed ValoraLife site previously sold a similar ValoraLife Term product to Latino customers, MassMutual removed most ValoraLife content, discontinued the product and now simply directs prospects to apply for MassMutual Direct.

MassMutual Direct Microsite

Five months after launching MassMutual Direct, the firm made the same product available for purchase through the Coverpath pilot program, which is designed to offer coverage to clients who prefer doing business online but still want advisor guidance. The firm promotes the program to advisors as a way to receive commissions when their clients purchase MassMutual insurance, even if advisors are not involved with the online purchase. Personalized microsites feature custom URLs and banners with advisors’ names and contact information, letting clients ask for help when necessary and ensuring that the firm can track purchases made from each site. The microsites also provide an educational article about the benefits of convertible life insurance along with FAQs and a quote tool similar to those available on the MassMutual Direct site. Notably, an advisor site article anticipates that in the future, some applicants will be able to skip the medical exam.

Coverpath Microsite


MetLife launched a Rapid Term Life Insurance product that features a brief quote tool similar to MassMutual’s but differs significantly by offering coverage without a medical exam for eligible clients. The public site product page FAQ section explains that the firm compensates for the absence of a medical exam by verifying health information in a system of databases. The product is available either online or over the phone and offers up to $500,000 in coverage. A dedicated microsite offers a quote tool and online application process. Rapid Term is the only individual life insurance policy available from MetLife following the Brighthouse Financial spinoff.

MetLife Rapid Term Life Insurance Microsite

Corporate Insight’s Life Insurance Monitor service tracks leading insurers and industry trends. For more about recent innovations, check out our latest blog posts on rewards programs, underwriting updates and feedback communities.