the plethora of fees makes it a truly bad deal.
YES, YES, YES!
My general philosophy on insurance and investing is: when you need insurance, buy it; when you don't need insurance, don't buy it; and, when you want to invest, don't use insurance.
Brokers get paid more to sell a variable life insurance policy or annuity than they do to sell a stock of mutual fund. Why? Because the insurance companies need the extra incentive to get brokers to sell it. Why do they need that extra incentive? Because it is generally not the best investment option. And, despite popular belief, a "financial advisor" employed by a broker/dealer is not obligated to act in your
best interest, nor do they have to verbally disclose that fact; it only must appear as a line in their lengthy customer agreements.