John Hancock Life Insurance review

An innovative provider let down by underwhelming customer satisfaction scores

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

John Hancock has the vision and products - it just needs to polish its customer service and support.


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    Innovative policies

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    Great wellbeing rewards

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    Feature-packed website


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    Underwhelming customer satisfaction scores

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John Hancock Life Insurance: What you need to know

John Hancock is the US arm of Manulife Financial Corp, a financial services company based in Canada. Everything about the business has a modern feel, and its life insurance products are popular with millennials. 

It is certainly innovative. John Hancock is the only major provider we’ve come across to reward policy holders who commit to healthy lifestyles. It also offers coverage for people aged 30 to 65 living with HIV. 

In addition, John Hancock’s website is packed with features, letting you get a quote and manage your account online. It all seems to add up to a market-leading proposition, and yet the company’s customer satisfaction scores don’t reflect that promise. Let’s look into John Hancock in more detail.

John Hancock Life Insurance: Features 

  •  Innovative Vitality program 
  •  Good basic policies 
  •  Coverage for those living with HIV 
Key features

Information support: Online information hub, quote tool

Customer support: Telephone, email and social media

Interface: Browser and app (for Vitality program)

There’s no denying that John Hancock has an excellent range of features. Term life plans of 10, 15 and 20 years are available, along with several universal life options which include benefits like customized premium payment options, tax-deferred cash accumulation and a lifetime death benefit.

So far, so good. John Hancock does what most other providers do. But its Vitality wellbeing scheme stands on its own. There are two Vitality options. Vitality Go, which comes free with your policy, offers fitness and nutrition information and rewards healthy activities like exercise with discounts to and outdoor retailer REI. It also offers between 20% and 40% off wearable fitness devices from the likes of Fitbit and Garmin.

Vitality Plus, meanwhile, costs $2 a month but can lead to discounts of up to 15% on annual life insurance premiums if you exercise and go for regular health checkups. There’s a free Fitbit for tracking exercise and wide range of discounts and rewards. 

The company says that these programs amount to “life insurance that saves you money and rewards you for healthy living,” and it is hard to argue with that. The company’s other standout feature is its coverage for people living with HIV. 

John Hancock Life Insurance: Interface and usability 

  • Very well designed website, packed with information 
  • Useful tools

John Hancock’s website is one of the best we’ve come across, offering huge amounts of information in a well structured design that is easy to navigate. 

It’s packed with advice on finances but also on so much more, featuring everything from health and wellbeing tips to advice on planning for different life stages. It is one of the most comprehensive resource sections of any that we have reviewed. 

The site is also practical, offering a wide range of tools, calculators and quizzes. You can get a free quote online by filling in a simple form. 

John Hancock Life Insurance: Quality of product 

  •  Average customer satisfaction scores 
  •  Fewer customer complaints than the average 
  •  Solid financials 

It’s clear that John Hancock does some things very well. It offers unique products and an online presence that is as good as anything in the sector. Its Vitality scheme is, quite simply, a very good idea.

At the same time, John Hancock only places 17th out of 24 in the JD Power life insurance rankings, with an overall customer satisfaction score of two out of five stars. In JD Power terms, that means “the rest”, or below average. Despite the Vitality program and other innovations, it only scores three stars (“about average”) for product offerings, and achieves the same score in most other categories. John Hancock appears to have the ideas and the technology - now it needs to focus on customer service, communication and support.

Nor is this year’s score a one-off. John Hancock has actually dropped three places since 2018, when it was 14th.  

But there’s better news from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which calculates that John Hancock attracts fewer complaints to state regulators than the median for the industry. It also has a superior A+ rating from A.M. Best, which is not the highest rating for financial strength but isn’t far off. It means John Hancock shouldn’t have a problem meeting its financial responsibilities either now or in the future, assuming its circumstances don’t change dramatically.

John Hancock Life Insurance: Verdict

What to make of John Hancock? It has the ideas, the technology and a clear view of what modern life insurance customers are looking for. We were impressed by its Vitality program and other innovations, and found its website to be packed with useful tools and advice.

But its customer satisfaction scores are average at best, and 2019 is not a one-off. The company needs to focus on supporting its customers, and put time, money and effort into making sure they have a smooth and satisfying experience when applying for policies, contacting the call centre or making a claim. If John Hancock does that, it could be one of the top providers in the country. As it is, it is still worth considering for those who like the idea of being rewarded for following a healthy lifestyle.   

Hugh Wilson

Hugh Wilson writes about business and the interface of business and technology for a range of titles including The Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, The Times, BBC and MSN. He has written a large number of articles for Top Ten Reviews about insurance matters, accounting, and some business-to-business software and appliances.