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AXA Equitable Life Insurance Review (Providers & Quotes)

Key InfoCompany Specifics
Year Founded1859
Current ExecutiveCEO - Mark Pearson
Number of Employees104,065
Total Sales / Total Assets$2,525,600 / $1,063,784,400
HQ Address1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
Phone Number1-888-292-4636
Company Websitewww.us.axa.com
Premiums Written - Individual Life$21,290,300
Financial Standing-67.46% from Last Year
Best ForTerm Life

Are you looking for an affordable insurance rate to add security for your loved ones? Well, look no further than AXA Equitable, one of the top providers of life insurance.

While the company has seen a less-than-stellar couple of years, they’ve held steady in their position on the cusp of being a market leader. In the following article, let’s see how AXA Equitable stacks up to its competition, and what their future looks like.

Ready to start looking? Use our FREE life insurance quote tool to help find the best policy for you!

AXA Equitable’s Ratings

The third-party ratings below give a comprehensive idea of AXA’s ability to perform in all areas — financial stability, credit, and even customer service.  The reviews seem to vary from site to site. As many customers praised their quality of service, others were complaining.

Ratings AgencyAXA Equitable's Rating
A.M. BestA
BBBA+
Moody'sA
NAIC Complaint Index48% of Average Market Complaints
J.D. Power2.2/5 Points Average

AXA Equitable’s ratings typically fall anywhere between slightly above average to exemplary. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the reviews and what they mean.

A.M. Best

A.M. Best considers an insurance company’s financial wellness and their ability to meet their contractual obligations consistently. That being said, their ranking is best used as an overview of the company. It doesn’t reflect individual policies.

AXA Equitable has been rated as A or Excellent by A.M. Best, meaning that they excel in their duties. In fact, AXA Equitable has recently left a review conducted by A.M. Best, providing up-to-date information.

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

The Better Business Bureau uses 13 letter grades to measure how a company interacts with its customers. The BBB bases these ratings on a variety of factors, including customer complaints, the type of business, and licensing/government issues.

The BBB has given AXA Equitable their highest rating of an A+. This review reflects their dedication to helping customers with their wide variety of financial and insurance services.

Contrary to the BBB official review, the users have AXA Equitable rated at barely over one star. The reviews describe numerous problems with their customer and financial services.

Moody’s

Moody’s rating system is separated into fulfilling both short- and long-term obligations to repay.  While the short term is an overview of global policies, the long-term rating focuses on fixed-rate incomes with a policy of a year or longer.

Keeping that in mind, AXA Equitable’s long-term obligations are rated in the A category. This is regarded as an upper average score and a low credit risk.

NAIC Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or NAIC, measures the number of complaints made against a business with its peers. They rate the national average of complaints at 1.00, with any number higher than that being above average.

AXA Equitable was rated at 0.48 for 2018, with less than half the average number of complaints in the Individual Life category.

J.D. Power

J.D. Power is a highly regarded marketing firm that covers everything from car quality to other marketing firms as well as life insurance. They rate these businesses across several categories that are important to customers, including:

  • Overall satisfaction – 2/5
  • Product offerings – 2/5
  • Price – 2/5
  • Statements – 2/5
  • Interaction – 2/5
  • Communication – 3/5
  • Application and orientation – N/A

Surprisingly, AXA Equitable scored on the lower end of J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study.  In general, they scored below average in every category except for communication. Even there, they only seem to have scraped by with three out of five points.

Company History

The story of AXA Equitable is the culmination of the best of New York and France’s life insurance companies coming together toward a common goal.

A French company named Mutuelles Unies/Drouot was formed as the result of a merger of France’s most powerful life insurance companies. Having already benefited from the merging of France’s most powerful life insurance companies, they decided to adopt their current brand.

The executives hoped they could attract an international client base with a new name; thus, AXA was born.

The New York-based company The Equitable was leading the life insurance market in the United States through the 20th century and both World Wars.

While The Equitable seemed to start off with good prospects in 1875, with their main office only minutes away from Wall Street, things would soon change.

First, there was a scandal involving James Waddell Alexander in 1905, where a successful smear campaign alleged that he had misused company funds and sent investors into a frenzy.

This upheaval of the market caused a wide New York investigation into insurance companies and almost crashed the stock market.

As if that weren’t enough, a fire at their historic building in 1912 caused them to have to move to Broadway.

Before being acquired by AXA Equitable in 1991, they were the third-largest life insurance company in the country.

In 2004, the name was officially changed to AXA Equitable Holdings. Since the merger, the company has seen great success as they try to keep up with their competitors.

AXA Equitable’s Market Share

Here is how AXA Equitable’s market share compares.

CompanyMarket Share (2018)
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.8.2%
Lincoln National Corp.5.8%
New York Life Insurance Group5.7%
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.4.8%
Prudential Financial Inc.4.5%
John Hancock Life Insurance Co.3.6%
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance3.6%
Transamerica3.6%
Pacific Life2.9%
MetLife Inc.2.9%
AXA Equitable1.8%

As shown by the graphic comparing the top life insurance providers in 2018 with AXA Equitable, we see that they are still a competitor. As you can see, their market share is only slightly competitive, yet still in the game.

YearDirect Premiums WrittenMarket Share
2016$3,086,940,2801.92%
2017$3,125,160,3921.85%
2018$3,096,395,4181.86%

Frankly, though, they haven’t shown much progress beyond that in the past few years. They have stayed stagnant and have even fluctuated for the worse, as indicated below.

AXA Equitable’s Position for the Future

Between 2017 and 2018, AXA Equitable made small progress toward recovering their previous losses.

AXA Equitable has also been working to alleviate customer concerns. AXA Equitable’s newer reviews show the customers’ gratitude for their agent’s comprehensive knowledge. There are also older reviews that have been amended to reflect the service they received after posting.

The AXA Equitable stock price hit a peak in 2018, possibly hinting at a sign for recovery for the company after a few disappointing years.

AXA Equitable’s Online Presence

Whether through their website or app, you can view your policy, manage your portfolios, and have access to customer service resources.

AXA Equitable offers a life insurance estimate tool on their website that, after only two questions, gives you a rough estimate of what you might have to pay. After your estimate, the site will provide you with a form to fill out that will be sent to an agent to contact you.

AXA Equitable is also active on social media. You can find them on most mainstream sites, including Twitter (@AXA_US), sharing statistics, studies, and other happenings within the company.

AXA Equitable’s Commercials

AXA Equitable’s current promotional campaign revolves around its “Know You Can” brand, as illustrated in their commercials.

They use a celebrity, tennis player Serena Williams, as she reflects on her journey. Understanding that who she was made her who she is, she realizes that she is unstoppable.

The following ad finds itself in a different place than the shorter one featuring Serena Williams, although it’s from the same marketing campaign.

After a father loses his son in a car crash, he is unsure of how to go on. However, thanks to the protection his son had put in place before his accident, the father can repair his son’s car and create a legacy for the future.

As opposed to the Serena Williams commercial, this second ad seems to take a somber yet hopeful approach to the subject that may help different audiences relate.

AXA Equitable in the Community

With a heart close to what makes local communities shine, AXA Equitable has made a public promise to give back to causes they believe will change the world.

Not only has AXA Equitable donated large sums of money, but their employees have also donated nearly 100,000 hours of service.

AXA Equitable especially puts an emphasis on their care for their stakeholders and the communities they work in.

Hearts in Action

AXA Equitable created its volunteer program, Hearts in Action, as an effort to help France in 1991. Since then, the program has gone on to help create positive change around the world.

Employees have spent almost 100,000 hours volunteering, and, paired with the company’s $2.8 million in donations last year alone, they have helped promote climate change, awareness of health issues, and social inclusion.

Matching Gifts Program

Through this program, AXA Equitable’s employees have the option to direct where the company donates its money. These donations have helped thousands of companies and even those affected by natural disasters.

AXA Equitable’s Employees

Prioritizing a good work environment and balance, AXA Equitable treats each of its 100,000+ employees with the respect they deserve.

Glassdoor placed AXA Equitable in their 98th spot for their Best Places to Work 2020. The company’s page has the company rated at 3.6, with employees praising the work/life balance.

Primarily, AXA Equitable employs those born between 1965 and 1997. This makes sense, as employees seem to stay for five years at most before moving on. That being said, a decent percentage has worked there for more than 20 years.

Based on reviews on the Better Business Bureau site, there seem to be communication problems amongst employees. Customers complain about long waits and complete disregard for their problems.

Shopping for Life Insurance

If you’re reading this, you and your loved ones could benefit from a life insurance policy. If something were to happen to you, it would give immeasurable relief to your family. It will also help provide for their future, a lasting reminder that you were thinking of them. That being said, not all life insurance is the same, and different policies are better for different people.

There is a common misconception that one will go broke when buying life insurance. In fact:

  • According to the Insurance Barometer Study, 44 percent of millennials believe that life insurance costs five times what it actually will cost.
  • 61 percent of people claim they cannot afford it due to other priorities.
  • Three out of five adults have it, with some even wanting more.

When deciding what type of insurance to buy, there are a few main policies that will suit most customers’ needs.

  • Term
  • Whole
  • Final expense
  • Group

When deciding what insurance to buy, a financial planner or insurance adviser will discuss the factors with you. Depending on your life, they will come up with a price and plan that works best for you.

Most people don’t think about life insurance because they think that they’re too young. But a man starting a new family or even planning to have one would benefit from the assurance of having a cushion if an accident were to happen and leave his loved ones without any financial support.

Average AXA Equitable Male vs Female Life Insurance Rates

The three most common factors in determining life insurance rates are age, gender, and smoking.

While the prior and latter may make sense, gender is a factor purely based on the mortality rates between the sexes. Since women live longer than men, there is a less likely chance that the insurance company will have to pay out, thus making it a better investment.

The table below is an overview of a $500,000 policy with a term of 10 years.

Age/Smoking StatusMaleFemale
25-Year-Old Non-Smoker$21.83$17.98
25-Year-Old Smoker$54.74$41.92
35-Year-Old Non-Smoker$23.11$19.26
35-Year-Old Smoker$61.58$50.04
45-Year-Old Non-Smoker$33.37$32.51
45-Year-Old Smoker$130.84$117.59
55-Year-Old Non-Smoker$77.40$59.87
55-Year-Old Smoker$294.14$269.78
65-Year-Old Non-Smoker$205.65$128.70
65-Year-Old Smoker$722.93$547.65
Average Per Non-Smoker$72.27$51.66
Average Per Smoker$252.85$205.40

As you can see above, even a few factors can heavily affect your rate. Just by looking at these three factors, we see that smokers pay over $150 more on average than their non-smoking peers.

Coverage Offered

When deciding what insurance to buy, it’s good to have options. Companies such as AXA Equitable provide other financial choices with your life insurance. This allows for more security for you and your loved ones.

Types of Coverage Offered

AXA Equitable offers a variety of individual whole and term life insurance policies, including:

  • Term
  • Declining balance term
  • Return of premium term
  • Whole life
  • Universal life
  • Variable life
  • Universal variable life

While a term life policy only covers a certain length of time, it’s often cheaper and a more straightforward option for coverage. Term insurance is often referred to as pure insurance because there is no cash value. It is only payable upon death.

On the other hand, whole life can accrue a percentage of your premiums over time, allowing for a higher payout. This is better started earlier in life so that your beneficiaries will receive the highest payout. Some policies even allow you to take out loans and draw from your balance during retirement.

This confusing variety of options is why speaking to an adviser is a must when deciding to buy. That being said, both types of policies are ideal for securing and ensuring your family has a safe future.

Term

AXA Equitable separates their term life insurance into three categories.

  • Term – The straightforward choice for many locks in an annual premium with no additional fees. The term can last up to 40 years, depending on the insured’s age.
  • Declining balance term – Often used as mortgage insurance, this policy can be matched to how much longer you have to pay for your mortgage. Once you’re finished paying, you no longer need the insurance, and it goes away.
  • Return of premium term – This policy is based on the return of what you paid in premiums, should you outlive the term. Although, whether you live or die, what you paid will be given to you or your beneficiary.

Whole

If you’re looking for permanent protection with a cash value option, whole life insurance might be more your speed. Your beneficiary will receive a death benefit so long as you consistently pay your premiums over a period of time.

You may pay higher premiums at first, but you’ll save more in the long run as opposed to buying consecutive term policies. It is recommended that you get a whole life policy while you are young so you have time to pay it off. This is regarded as a more expensive option.

Universal

Similar to the whole life policies, universal life allows for permanent coverage. Unlike whole life, however, you might be subject to a bundle of hidden fees.

This can be a useful life insurance product because of the flexibility it allows in pricing. You can pay your premiums and change your death benefits whenever you’d like, within reason. This allows you to adjust your pricing based on your ever-changing financial needs.

With AXA Equitable’s Universal Life policy, you’ll receive all the benefits you expect from your universal policy. AXA Equitable also includes an annual statement that details your cash value, total protection, and other information to help you optimize your future.

Survivorship

A survivorship insurance policy is a policy that doesn’t pay out until the last survivor passes away. It pays out after the second person has died, usually making it an inheritance option for children and grandchildren. It can also be used to pay estate tax on the property after the two people have passed.

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Factors That Affect Your Rate

Wondering why premium prices vary so much?

It all depends on the potential risk factors in your life. An insurance policy is essentially an investment for both you and the company.

If there is something in your life that makes it a riskier investment, i.e. your death is more likely, the life insurance company will likely give you a higher rate than someone in your demographic who doesn’t have those factors.

Demographics

Several factors affect your insurance rates for the same reasons they affect your life.

Age is the one factor in determining a policy that we all have in common. It’s also the most important.

The older you are when you start your policy, the higher your chance of mortality. Like all businesses, the insurance company needs to see the benefit of placing an investment with you.

The less likely they are to see a profit, the more it will cost.

Gender is also a very common factor in determining how insurable someone is. To put it simply, women live longer than men, thus they pay less than men in the same risk categories.

Current Health & Family Medical History

Everything from preexisting conditions to the medicine you take every day can affect how much you should expect to pay for your premium.

Insurance underwriters have access to and will go through certain medical records to determine whether you should be approved. With permission, they may even decide to talk to your doctor and take blood samples.

However, if you have a major medical issue such as a pacemaker, you’re not disqualified immediately. It still depends on a handful of other factors. This is why you need to discuss your options with your doctor and a financial adviser.

High-Risk Occupations

What you do for a living affects what you can expect to be charged. Jobs with higher workplace mortality rates will see a rise in their premiums due to the risk.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ study in 2017, construction, transportation, and agriculture have the highest fatality rates. This causes life insurance providers the most concern and forces them to raise premiums for people in these professions.

High-Risk Habits

In the same vein as your job, what you do in your free time affects your rate as well. Hobbies that create risk for you are more likely to be reflected in your premium.

For instance, smoking can cause you to be charged nearly twice what non-smokers pay in some instances. On average, between 2016 and 2018, smokers paid at least $150 more for their premiums than non-smokers. Even smoking the occasional cigar will raise your rates.

Veteran or Active Military Status

With active duty military being one of the most dangerous occupations around, it is often seen as a high risk during insurance underwriting. Most applications are denied altogether or face serious restrictions. That being said, there are a few companies that are willing to work with service members.

 Getting the Best Rate with AXA Equitable

While typically rates will vary from state to state, they are encouraged to adopt similar methods and regulations in determining premiums.

The Department of Financial Services in New York says that rates for life insurance are “based on two underlying concepts: mortality and interest.”

  • Mortality: Since life insurance is based on the risk of a person given a group, the provider must know that risk to determine rates. The NYDFS recommends that all companies use a mortality table to provide universal rates.
  • Interest: Companies will also consider the interest of your premiums that go to investment accounts such as stocks, bonds, and mortgages.

To get the best rates, you need to try to live a healthier life. Also, if you sign up sooner rather than later and pay on time, you’ll have a lot of control over your premiums.

AXA Equitable’s programs are best for those looking for overall and term life insurance early on. Their strong financial standing also makes them a good provider for investing.

For instance, premiums for AXA Equitable for a $500,000, 10-year term policy are as low as $17 a month for 25-year-old non-smoking females and $21 for males. Compared to the $722 premium for 65-year-old smokers, it’s easy to see why health and age are important factors in life insurance companies.

AXA Equitable’s Programs

AXA Equitable offers professional training internships and equips graduates with the skills they need to succeed. They also travel to campuses across the country. During the summer, they offer an actuarial internship on top of their Actuarial Development Program.

Outside of financial services, they also have opportunities to intern in IT services through their IT Development Program. This also shows their dedication to staying at the forefront of technology in their industry.

There aren’t many resources on AXA Equitable’s website other than basic information about what insurance is and how it benefits certain people.

Canceling Your Policy

There are a wide variety of reasons to cancel your policy. Whether you can’t afford it any longer, you get a better policy through your employer, or any other reason, canceling your policy at any time is simple.

There are typically no refunds on premiums other than the cash surrender value. However, within 14 days of your coverage, you can still get your premium back by writing a letter or visiting a local AXA Equitable branch.

The cash surrender value is how much you’d receive if you surrender your policy before its maturity.

How to Cancel

If you cancel within 14 days, you will be refunded your first premium. Other than that, it may depend on your policy and should be discussed with your adviser.

To cancel your insurance policy, you’ll have to either mail a letter to their office or visit them to discuss the options in person.

#1 – Collect the Required Information

AXA Equitable requires you to have your proof of insurance to cancel your policy by mail. It will also help expedite things if you go to the office in person.

#2 – Find Your Nearest AXA Equitable Branch

Since you have to mail in a letter or take it with you in person, you’ll need to find the location of your nearest branch for either option.

#3 – Write a Letter Expressing Your Wish to Cancel

AXA Equitable requires you to write a letter that unequivocally states you wish to cancel your policy. They also require you to include your certificate of insurance so they know it’s you.

Once you mail the letter, your policy will be reviewed by an adviser before you receive confirmation. You may also bring your letter to your local branch, where it will be mailed for you.

#4 – Follow Up With an Agent/Take the Letter In Person

Whether you’ve already mailed the letter and have questions, or if you would like to take it in person, AXA Equitable agents will be ready to answer all your questions.

How to Make a Claim

You can make a claim online through AXA Equitable’s website or through their customer portal. They also offer the option to file a claim by phone.

How to Get a Quote Online

AXA Equitable offers a bare-bones life insurance quote tool through its main website. With only three questions — and none about risk factors — it doesn’t seem to be a very accurate tool. Instead, it comes off as just a way to get you to one of their agents.

#1 – Go to the U.S. AXA Site

 

indicating where to search for the life insurance quote tool on AXA

This is what the front page of AXA Equitable’s site looks like. After you’re on the site, click the search bar under the red login button. Type “Life Insurance Calculator” into the search bar.

#2 – On the Search Page, Click the First Link

showing first page of life insurance calculator results

Click the first link labeled Life Insurance Calculator – AXA to begin your assessment.

#3 – Answer the Three Questions

Showing AXA First Question on Life Insurance Calculator

Once you open the calculator, you’ll be greeted with this screen. At this point, the assessment asks you three questions before you can proceed.

  • Age: Select your age from 18-100 on the drop-down menu. Click Next Step.
  • Income: Enter your nearest estimation of your yearly income. Then, click Next Step.
  • Value of Unpaid Services: This one is a little trickier. Essentially the site is asking you to estimate the prices of services that would need to be paid for in a year, should you pass. After you have answered this question, click Get Your Estimate.

#4 – View Your Estimated Quote

Showing how AXA displays their quotes through their life insurance calculator

Here you’ll see your estimated insurance needs based on the information you provided. As you adjust the additional factors on this page, the graph will change to reflect your new needs.

With only one click under the graph, you’ll be given a form to fill out to have an agent contact you as soon as possible.

Design of Website/App

AXA Equitable has a mobile app called myAXA. With a devastating 1.5 star rating on the app store, it doesn’t seem to function as intended. Users often complain about a wide array of bugs and slow or unresponsive interfaces.

AXA Equitable’s website resizes itself well on any size browser, as it adapts and moves its content around for optimal viewing. The same can be said for mobile viewing, where the website resizes based on the size of the phone.

Pros & Cons

Most of the complaints surrounding AXA Equitable seem to be clustered around common factors. When a complaint is posted online, most of the time, they respond to the situation either apologizing or attempting to help.

Pros

  • AXA Equitable’s financial strength is a good indication that they are here to stay.
  • With a variety of life insurance plans available, there are options for people in lots of different situations. (Term, Whole, Universal)
  • AXA Equitable and its employees believe and strive for positive change in their communities.

Cons

  • There is a lack of resources on AXA Equitable’s main site outside of very basic information.
  • Poor communication between offices can leave customers in the dark.

The Bottom Line

AXA Equitable is a financially strong life insurance provider that you can trust with your finances. They have a proven track record of over 100 years with satisfied customers to show for it.

With the merging of two leading brands, AXA Equitable has the best of home and foreign business elements.

In the past few years, AXA Equitable has seen a slight but noticeable decline. Despite it all, however, they have managed to stay competitive at 15th place in individual direct premiums written across the United States.

With a little hard work, AXA Equitable could very well find themselves among the top 10.

While they haven’t seen much financial growth, and even some decline in the past few years, AXA Equitable is without a doubt keeping up with the competitors.

AXA Equitable has spent the last century cementing itself in the life insurance market with no sign of slowing down.

AXA Equitable’s FAQs

#1 – How big is AXA Equitable?

With over 100,000 employees and $1.6 trillion in assets, AXA Equitable is a good-sized life insurance and financial advising company.

#2 – What does AXA Equitable do?

Outside of providing a wide variety of life insurance policies, AXA Equitable and its parent company, AXA, offer a variety of insurance and financial services.

#3 – Is AXA Equitable a publicly-traded company?

While AXA Equitable is not publicly traded, its parent company, AXA, is.

#4 – How does AXA Equitable rank?

Holding 15th place out of 125 on the NAIC 2018 Market Share Report, AXA Equitable has proven themselves to be able to compete with the champions of the industry.

Fortune also listed AXA at number 46 on their Global 500 for 2019.

Ready to start comparing? Use our FREE life insurance quote tool to find the best policy for you!

References:
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  14. https://www.finweb.com/insurance/what-is-declining-term-insurance.html
  15. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/whole_universal.asp
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