The scale of the life insurance industry is staggering. There are nearly 1,000 independent life insurance providers operating in the United States at any given time. Collectively, these companies are responsible for underwriting policies with a combined value of between $15 trillion and $20 trillion.
Global life insurance is one of the many varieties of this broad category of insurance. It's a niche product that caters to policyholders who spend significant amounts of time abroad. Most policies cover deaths due to accidents and illnesses sustained or contracted outside of the United States and may be renewed annually for up to 45 years after their issuance. Like most other life insurance products, global life insurance policies don't cover deaths caused by pre-existing medical conditions or long-term injuries that predate their issuance.
There is an alternative definition for "global life insurance." Many life insurance shoppers mistakenly refer to policies issued by Globe Life Insurance as "global policies." Globe Life Insurance offers a full suite of life insurance policies. These include term life insurance, whole life insurance, permanent life insurance and several specialty products.
In general, policies underwritten by Globe Life Insurance are competitive with those issued by other life insurance providers. Like most other life insurance policies, Globe's products don't pay out death benefits for policyholders who commit suicide. Likewise, Globe won't make payments to any beneficiaries who may have engaged in "foul play" and willfully caused a policyholder's death. Globe may not agree to issue life insurance products to individuals with certain pre-existing medical conditions. Although the company does offer products that don't require potential policyholders to submit to a medical exam, these typically carry death benefits of less than $100,000.
Globe products may have another drawback. Consumer advocates report that some of the company's past beneficiaries have had problems recovering death benefits on term life policies that paid out within two years of being issued. It appears that Globe chose to deny death benefits on these policies due to the "questionable circumstances" surrounding the deaths of their policyholders.
While this seems unfair, it's actually standard practice in the life insurance industry. Anyone who wishes to take out a life insurance policy with Globe or any other issuer should ask his or her agent about this potential probationary period. In the long run, it may be safer to pay slightly more for a policy that doesn't come with such restrictions.