Aware January 2015, Minnesota Life/Securian Life

Group Universal Life puts control in hands of employees

An interview with Terry Havens, Havens & Company

Aware recently had the opportunity to sit down with Terry Havens, founder of benefits consultancy Havens & Company, to discuss the importance of Group Universal Life (GUL) insurance and its future in employers’ benefits line ups.  His assessment? It’s a solid option for giving employees more control over their benefits. 


Group Universal Life puts control in hands of employees

In the following Q&A, Terry Havens, a pioneer in the development of Group Universal Life (GUL,) discusses the importance of the product for today’s employees and retirees. 

AWARE: Why do you recommend Group Universal Life (GUL) insurance to your employer-clients?

HAVENS:  The population of highly educated workers is growing. They have a broader knowledge of investment and insurance options. But regardless of job level, employees also want greater control of their benefits. These trends, coupled with the likelihood that interest rates will increase, make Group Universal Life (GUL) a solid insurance option for employers to offer.

AWARE: Are employers receptive to the idea?

HAVENS: Yes. I’m seeing companies proactively vetting the carriers who offer this type of insurance. What they’re looking for is a way to put more control in the hands of the employee and empower them to make well educated benefits decisions.

AWARE: What makes GUL unique among group life insurance options?

HAVENS: Like all group life insurance products, GUL’s primary purpose is to provide affordable protection for an employee’s family in the event of their death. What makes the product unique is its living benefits – tax-deferred growth on additional premium contributions and tax-advantaged options for taking money out of the policy.1

AWARE: GUL has been around for decades. What’s driving the renewed interest in it today?

HAVENS: Many employers can no longer afford to pay for benefits into retirement.  GUL has the advantage of allowing employees to keep their life insurance benefit by using cash accumulated in the plan during working years to pay premiums in retirement.2 At retirement they also can discontinue making additional contributions to the cash accumulation account to reduce their total cost of insurance. Insureds are grateful for a plan that has the potential to pay its own premiums well into their retirement years, and electronic funds transfers make paying premiums easier.

AWARE: What are the advantages for active employees?

HAVENS: Those haven’t changed. Again, there’s the obvious need for affordable life insurance protection. When employees also choose to make additional premium contributions, they can borrow against or make withdrawals from the accumulated cash value as needs arise or to augment their retirement income.3 The fact that they can start, stop or change additional premium contributions at any time gives them flexibility to address changes in their financial picture.

All benefits considered (pun intended) Group Universal Life insurance remains a meaningful benefit for employees, one that employers appreciate as a way to support the financial condition of both their active and retired workers.


Securian Financial Group, also a pioneer in the development of Group Universal Life insurance, provides industry-leading administration services through its affiliates Minnesota Life and Securian Life. For more information about GUL and educational support for the product, visit or contact your Securian regional group sales manager or client relationship advisor.


About Havens & Company

Havens & Company, Boston, MASS, provides brokerage and consulting services to employers seeking high quality life and AD&D programs. The firm is dedicated to offering transparency, focus and expertise to the clients they serve. Learn more at

1Typically, earnings are not taxed on the money accumulated until the money withdrawn exceeds the premiums that have been contributed to the policy.

2Depending upon actual policy experience, the owner may need to increase premium payments to keep the policy in force.

3Policy loans and withdrawals may create an adverse tax result in the event of a lapse or policy surrender, and will reduce both the cash value and death benefit.

This information is a general discussion of the relevant federal tax laws provided to promote ideas that may benefit a taxpayer. It is not intended for, nor can it be used by, any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties. Taxpayers should seek the advice of their own advisors regarding any tax and legal issues specific to their situation.


Top 3 reasons to offer Group Universal Life (GUL)

  • Allows employees to take control of their insurance and financial options.
  • Provides tax-advantaged liquidity for lifetime needs.
  • Can be easily carried into retirement.

Source: Terry Havens, Havens & Company

Back to News