The design of high cash value, dividend paying whole life insurance policies, or Infinite Banking (IBC) policies, has two phases. The first phase consists of policy blending, heavy use of paid-up additions, and the typical 10/90 or 20/80 split between the premium going to the base whole life policy and the premium going to the paid-up additions rider. This first phase is quite consistent from case to case and the only variability might be in the premium split due to the total amount of premium (annually or monthly) to be paid, and design restrictions from the insurance company we are using.
One of the questions we more often have from our clients is: Should I pay for this expenditure with the cash I already have in my conventional bank account, or should I first deposit that cash as an unscheduled PUA contribution to my IBC policy and then use the cash from a policy loan to purchase the needed item? What they are really asking is if there are any special conditions or guidelines they should consider before deciding whether to use cash or a policy loan for their expenditure.
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One of the key pieces of information that a prospective client shares with us is the monthly or annual contribution that he/she would like to make to his/her Infinite Banking Concept (IBC) policy.
Once we know the original contribution to the policy, including the modal premium, (annually or monthly), and the age, gender, and the underwriting rating of the insured, we determine the minimum amount of death benefit necessary to make sure that the policy does not violate the Modified Endowment Contract (MEC) regulations.
Up to the late 1980s, policy owners could place an unlimited amount of discretionary capital into a life insurance policy. All this changed in 1988 with a new law known as the Tax and Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988 or TAMRA. This law established a qualification test for life insurance contracts based on the amount of premium paid each year to the policy. If the premium is too large under the guideline, the policy fails the test and no longer enjoys life insurance status. It is then reclassified as a Modified Endowment Contract or MEC and it loses several tax favorable features enjoyed by life insurance contracts.
The most common dividend options for dividend-paying whole life policies are paid-up additions, paid in cash, reduce premium, and accumulate at interest.
Of the four options, paid-up additions will produce the most amount of cash value and will also increase the amount of death benefit. The reason is that you purchase paid-up additions which earn dividends which then purchase more paid-up additions resulting in a compounding effect or exponential growth in the amount of cash value as well as in the amount of death benefit.
A flexible paid-up additions rider allows the policy owner to increase or decrease the contributions to the paid-up additions rider within a range specified at policy issue. The policy owner is free to make these adjustments at any time during any payment period of the policy.
The level paid-up additions rider does not provide the same flexibility to adjust the premium going towards it. The level paid-up additions rider assumes that the policy owner will pay the same amount year-over-year towards the rider. If the policy owner reduces the premium going to this rider, that reduction can become permanent.
To use dividends to purchase paid-up additions, you just elect the paid-up additions dividend option.
The other way to purchase paid-up additions is through an elective rider. You choose this rider and make payments to the rider to purchase paid-up additions with your own money. Essentially, you elect to pay the insurance company more money than it requires to.