Split-dollar loan uses a life insurance policy owned by the executive and paid for by the CU. The CU’s payments are treated as a loan under IRS regulations (hence the name), and if the CU is to be repaid premiums plus interest at the IRS-determined Applicable Federal Rate (AFR), there is favorable tax treatment.
Simply put, SDL captures the spread between policy performance (which varies) and the AFR (which is fixed for each CU advance). While actual spread matters the projected spread has far more influence on expected benefits. Therefore, the projection rate you use is crucial to designing and monitoring SDL. Insurance illustration rules limit the maximum projection rate, however, prudent design demands a planning rate below that maximum.
One of the key decisions in designing SDL is what type of policy to use – whole life (WL) or indexed universal life (IUL). We use both types, helping clients match the executive’s profile to the appropriate product.
Whole Life is the oldest form of life insurance. It has strong guarantees with an annual dividend rate set by the carrier that doesn’t change much from year to year. With a 25+ year general decline in fixed income rates, it’s no surprise that dividend rates have changed. The table below shows the number of decreases from 2002-2021. The maximum projection rate in WL is the current dividend rate. We recommend a WL planning rate 0.5%-0.75% below the carrier’s 2021 dividend scale.
So which is the “right” product? While neither WL nor IUL is inherently better the key for us is the first distribution date. If you have less than 10 years before the first scheduled distribution, we generally favor WL as it provides greater confidence in meeting the projection. Beyond that, the upside of IUL may be more desirable. Whichever you choose, stress the initial planning rate by running two lower alternatives to see the impact on the targeted distribution.
There are other features of WL and IUL that are key to a sound SDL plan. Call IZALE Financial Group for a free consultation.