On Monday, December 15th, American General released its new VUL product, Platinum Choice VUL, which is intended to replace its Protection Advantage Select and Income Advantage Select VUL products. One key change is the addition of a Standard Plus risk class.American General characterizes Platinum Choice VUL as having a flexible design that provides death benefit protection, upside market potential, cash accumulation for future financial needs, and the opportunity to guarantee the death benefit throughout the policy holder’s lifetime.”
Taking on the company’s characterization of its product as providing death benefit protection, Platinum Choice VUL does indeed do its best as an endowment product, ranking in the top quarter in the field of competitive products. This is a marked improvement over its predecessor, Protection Advantage Select, which showed only average performance in the endowment market. Premiums for the new product improved by almost 10% from the old product, leading to younger insureds and older insureds having premium rates ranked at or near the top and middle-aged insureds falling just outside of the top quartile. Cash values at year 20 ranked just outside the middle of the field with some strong spots for a handful of younger and older insureds. This is the extent of the happy news for the new product. Its competitiveness slips as both an accumulation product and a guaranteed death benefit product.
As an accumulation product, Platinum Choice VUL fails to improve over its predecessor, Income Advantage Select. Whereas the old product ranked just above the middle of the field of competitors, the new product drops into the third quartile with slightly lower maximum distribution amounts. One area of improvement from old to new is in the Best Tobacco class, with an average increase of 10% for distribution amounts. The story is similar for cash values at year 20, with loss of competitiveness for the non-tobacco classes and a slight gain for Best Tobacco.
As a guaranteed death benefit product, simply put, Platinum Choice VUL comes up lacking. It fails for guaranteed death benefit solves for limited pay scenarios and shows limited competitiveness for most full pay scenarios. A single area of competitiveness is for younger male insureds, where premium rates rank at or near the top. Otherwise, the new product ranks below average, improving little over its predecessor, Protection Advantage Select. Cash accumulation at year 20 is stronger in the new product, landing it in the middle of the field over the old product’s bottom of the field showing.
Targets for Platinum Choice VUL ranked below average across the various solves.
Rates were updated on the LifeTrends website Wednesday, December 17th.