NEWS & ARTICLES INSURANCE GUIDE

In 2017, MetLife, one of the biggest providers of Life Insurance in the United States, established Brighthouse Financial. The purpose of MetLife establishing Brigthouse Financial was so that the insurance provider could focus solely on selling life insurance, as well as annuities, to individuals. MetLife still continues to exist, but they only focus on selling their products to companies that can be used as employee benefits. The insurance policies that are sold through Brighthouse Financial, on the other hand, are only sold via financial professionals.
In other words, Brighthouse Financial is a spin-off of MetLife.

Are Brighthouse Financial and MetLife the Same?

Brighthouse Financial is a new company that was established by MetLife. It is a major provider of life insurance and annuity products, with an estimated worth of $223 billion in assets, and an estimated 2.7 million life insurance policies and annuity contracts currently in force.
While Brighthouse Financial is a spin-off of MetLife, the two are not the same. Brighthouse Financial is an independent company, meaning that they operate completely separate from MetLife. However, while Brighthouse Financial is a completely separate entity from MetLife, meaning that MetLife does not have any direct control over Brighthouse Financial. MetLife, however, is the largest shareholder of Brighthouse Financial, as they retain nearly 20 percent of the common stock.

What Does this Mean?

When MetLife decided to establish Brighthouse Financial, the terms of separation offered common shareholders the ability receive one share of Brighthouse Financial for every 11 share of MetLife they held. This was only effective through 5pm, Eastern Standard Time, on July 19 of 2017. Any common shareholders who sold their shares of MET after this date, but before the end of August 4, 2017, also sold their ability to any Brighthouse Financial common stock. Any MetLife shareholders who owned under 11 shares of common stock or who would have been eligible to receive fractions of the shares, were given cash.

How Does This Affect Policyholders?

If the insurance company that issued your insurance policy was separated from MetLife and became a subsidiary of Brighthouse Financial, there is nothing that you need to do. You will not be charged any fees and there is no action that you will need to take. You will receive information about the change, including how you can contact and receive notifications from Brighthouse Financial. In the event that you do need to take any type of action, you would have been notified.

If you had a financial service representative, that individual will remain the same. As such, you will be able to continue communicating with him or her about any concerns related to your life insurance policy.

If you wish to purchase life insurance from Brighthouse, you will be able to purchase both term life insurance and whole life insurance, as well as variable and universal policies.

The Bottom Line

If you held a life insurance that was issued under a company via MetLife and that company became a subsidiary of Brighthouse Financial when the separation of the two entities occurred, there is nothing that you are required to do. While the two companies are completely separate, your life insurance policy will not be affected in any way. You will still receive the same coverage, and all of the stipulations related to your policy will continue to be the same.

You can contact Brighthouse Life Insurance Company if you have any questions, concerns of comments. Alternatively, you can reach out to the financial service representative that you worked with under MetLife, as this individual will remain the same.

MetLife’s spinoff of Brighthouse Life Insurance company has been extremely successful. The new insurance provider is continuing to grow; they continue to carry a substantial amount of life insurance policies, and their value continues to increase.  Don’t forget, if you are a Metlife client and you are looking to price shop, you can compare life insurance quotes here at Life Ant.

37 Comments

  1. Kathleen M Martin

    I was notified of death benefits from a MetLlife policy from 2016, before the separation. How does this affect my filing a claim. Do I file with Metlife or Brighthouse

    1. If the policy was issued by Metlife you can call Metlife customer service at 1 (800) 638-5433. If a claim or service issue should be filed with Brighthouse they will inform you. The customer service number for Brighthouse Financial is 1 (855) 222-0102

  2. My husband purchased 100 units of Metlife Equity Trust for each of our three children in 1987. What is the value of these units? I assume since it was a trust they were not sold to Brighthouse Financial.

    1. Hi Mary. Please contact the MetLife Shareholder Services department here https://investor.metlife.com/shareholder-services/default.aspx.

  3. I have a MetLife whole life policy that is 30+ years old. Should I have received any shares when they switched over to Brighthouse Financial?

    1. Hi Dave, when MetLife de-mutualized, qualifying policy owners were granted stock or they could accept cash in lieu of stock. When Brighthouse Financial was spun off, Brighthouse stock was distributed pro-rata to MetLife stock policy owners. If your original policy qualified for stock and you took it, and you have not since sold the stock, you likely own both MetLife and Brighthouse stock. Your policy may not have qualified, you may have chosen cash, or you may have since sold the shares. You will need to speak to MetLife Shareholder services to investigate your particular situation.

  4. I just received a letter from Brighthouse offering to sell my 4 shares of stock (foremerly MetLife stock) through a broker at a charge of $3.50 per share to cover costs.. I don’t believe I have any hard copy certificates for Brighthouse or MetLife so selling through my regular broker wuld be difficult. Is the charge fair?

    Further how does this affect my MetLife Insurance policy?

    1. Hi William, the charge is high proportionally because a lot of brokerages execute trades for about a $5 flat fee, but overall you won’t be spending much money on the trade. It may be worth it to you to pay the $14 for the sake of making it easy. You should be able to request physical delivery of the shares that you own if you want to put the time in. It is up to you. Selling will not affect your policy.

  5. Goodafternoon Thomas,
    I got a letter form Brighthouse offering to sell my 17 shares by charging $3.50 per.
    I have since cashed out the policy but do hold the shares in Metlife.
    Is it wise to sell BHF shares. If I do would I still own the MetLife shares and if I don’t would it be expensive to hold BHF shares meaning would they start charging an administrating fees.
    Thanks

    1. Prakash, we can not give financial recommendations on stock transactions. The choice is yours to make, but consider the cost of the admin fees over time. You may also be able to find another custodian for the shares that will not charge admin fees, such as another brokerage.

  6. I also received notice by mail informing me I can sell shares. Is there a penalty if I decline the voluntary offer and just keep the shares?

    Will distribution still be processed annually via MetLife computer share or brighthouse?

    1. You will need to check the specifics of the contract. Generally, there should not be a penalty for keeping the shares, but there may be administrative fees to having metlife remain custodian. Consider a transfer of custodian.

  7. I just received a letter from Brighthouse offering to sell my 8 shares of stock (formerly Met Life. If I sell these stocks will it affect the interest that I receive from Compushare from Met Life.

  8. I currently receive dividends quarterly from Met Life. Will that be affected by selling the common stock that Brighthouse Financial is offering.

    1. Selling shares of brighthouse will not affect existing shares of metlife.

  9. Will selling my Brighthouse shares effect in any way the quarterly dividens received through Met Life.?

  10. I received an offer to sell my shares of Brighthouse stock. I have received periodic checks in small amounts for the past two years. What can I expect in the future if I choose to retain my shares?

  11. I recently received a letter from Brighthouse offering to sell my 11 shares of stock. I was reading the previous posts stating that selling this stock would not affect my Met life whole life policy. I do receive dividend checks from Met Life quarterly. My question is will I still receive the quarterly dividend checks? I don’t know how I got the shares from Brighthouse in the first place.

  12. I received the same notice that I could sell a small amount of Brighthouse stock which I assume I now have since I also own a Metlife whole life insurance policy. I currently receive dividends from the life insurance policy. Will the dividends stop if I sell the stock?

  13. When Met went public I received 150 shares of Met stock. Then this Brighthouse thing happened and they issued 1 share of Brighthouse stock for every 11 shares of Met stock. Are my Met stocks still good? Do I still own 150 Met stocks?

  14. How do I get pdfs for my accounts, for IRS FILING?

    1. The insurance company should send it annually in the mail. If they fail to do so, you can call them and ask for copies.

  15. is this a duplicate?

  16. Mr. Rockford:

    My wife and I sold a combined total of 3 shares of Brighthouse Financial stock when the offer was made to us.

    Is there any information as to the cost basis of the shares we received for income tax purposes?

    Thank you

    Errol Tonsky

    1. Contact Brighthouse for this. They can provide a statement of cost basis.

  17. Thomas,

    My wife has a MetLife term life policy that is approximately 13 years old. She would like to convert it to a permanent policy. However, she cannot seem to get anyone at either MetLife or Brighthouse to help her. They don’t seem to know who an agent is and the folks on the phone tell her they will call back, to no avail. Can you give us any ideas as to how she should move forward? Thank you.

    1. Local offices have phone numbers. Contact a local office, or even walk in the door. They will be able to help. If you still can not get someone, go to another company. They may still be able to help. Northwestern mutual agents are very helpful in my experience!

  18. My Mother had a life insurance policy with Met Life; I don’t know which type it was. She died last October. I have filled out forms to receive her benefits, and also filled out the forms to receive what are shares, I believe, from Computershare. I recently received a request for her to vote on an annual shareholder meeting from Brighthouse Financial. Does this mean she has shares in Brighthouse as well? If so, how do I receive the money for those shares, too?

    1. It sounds like she does. You should contact Brighthouse and see if they are still in the name of your Mother. If they are, ask the process to get them assigned to you. They will likely need to see the documentation of the death and that it should be assigned to your benefit.

  19. Bonnie Mccauslin

    I have a life policy with met life I would like to change my beneficiary they send paper work too cofussing for me were is there a local office in the largo area so I can speck with some one face to face also can I leave my stock to someone not sure or understand how that happened

    1. Ask the company if you can send it a signed not stating your wishes.

  20. My grandfather’s account with brighthouse financial says he owns 26 book-entry shares but because my grandfather died 5 years before the spin-off they say the shares have no value is this true?

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