Your contract (insurance policy) may provide for guaranteed interest rates and/or dividends the insurance company will pay on your premiums. But your premiums must make very high earnings before they will "pay up" your policy. The company must stand behind items that are guaranteed in the contract. Promises of "paid up" life insurance are illegal when based on non-guaranteed values. If you have documentation of the agent promising this, your state insurance department may be able to help. Documentation would include any writing containing the promise - even an informal, handwritten note or a similar notation by agent.