AIG Life Insurance Review

Select policies with high coverage amounts or no medical exam

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AIG
AIG
overall rating
3.4

American International Group, Inc., better known as AIG, offers a wide range of life insurance products including term, whole, universal, and accidental death benefit policies. Whether you want a simple, inexpensive policy to cover your final expenses or a more robust plan to leave your family or favorite charity a lasting legacy, AIG has multiple options to meet your needs. It’s the 10th-largest life insurance company in the United States in terms of direct premiums written.

If you’ve struggled to find life insurance in the past because of pre-existing health issues, AIG may be a good option for you. It has both accidental death benefit and guaranteed whole life policies which don’t require medical exams or health questions.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • High coverage amounts available

  • Medical exams not required for all policies

  • Multiple insurance rider options

Cons
  • Much worse-than-average complaint ratios

  • Online quotes not available

  • Poor rankings in terms of customer service and pricing

Key Takeaways
  • The company was initially founded in 1919 in Shanghai, China.
  • AIG is headquartered in Houston, Texas.
  • AIG is the 10th-largest writer of individual life insurance in terms of direct premiums written.
  • The company sells term, whole, universal, and accidental death benefit policies.
  • AIG offers policies with up to $10 million in coverage.
  • Some policies are not available in all states.
Company Overview

AIG was initially founded in 1919 in Shanghai, China. Now, AIG is a global insurance company with operations in over 80 countries. 

AIG sells its life insurance plans through insurance agents as well through its website, AIGDirect.com. 

AIG’s policies are issued by American General Life Insurance except in New York, where they are issued by The United States Life Insurance Company. 

Beyond life insurance, AIG also offers general property and casualty insurance, investment options, and retirement and financial services.

  • Year Founded 1919
  • Kinds of Plans Term, whole, universal, accidental death
  • Number of Plans 10
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly
  • Customer Service Phone, agent
  • Phone 888-517-9797
  • Official Website www.aig.com

AIG is not one of our top-rated life insurance companies. You can review our list of the best life insurance companies for what we think are better options.

Pros Explained

  • High coverage amounts: While some insurance companies cap your life insurance coverage at $1 million or less, AIG offers much higher coverage amounts. Depending on which policy you choose, you can get as much as $10 million in coverage. 
  • Medical exams not required for all policies: Many insurance companies require you to undergo a medical exam as part of their underwriting process for all of their plans. However, AIG doesn’t require medical exams for every plan it offers. Depending on your age and coverage amount, you may even be able to skip the medical exam for universal life insurance policies. 
  • Multiple insurance riders available: AIG has several riders you can add to your life insurance policy to enhance your coverage or accelerate your benefits.  

Cons Explained

  • Significantly worse-than-average complaint ratios: AIG has a complaint ratio that is three times as high as expected in the market, indicating that it received many more customer complaints than other companies its size. 
  • Online quotes not available: While AIG encourages you to fill out a form online to get a quote, it only sends the information you submit to an agent. You’ll receive a call from an AIG agent later on to discuss your information and insurance needs, then you can get a quote. 
  • Poor rankings in terms of customer service and pricing: AIG ranks poorly in both customer service and pricing. In the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study, AIG was ranked 24th out of 24 life insurance companies surveyed. 
Note

In 2019, AIG wrote over $3.5 billion in direct individual life insurance premiums.

Available Plans

AIG has 10 different life insurance plans, ranging from accidental death benefit plans with guaranteed acceptance to permanent policies with millions in coverage. You cannot get a quote for any of the policies online; you must contact AIG to get a quote and discuss your insurance needs with an agent. Considering that several of AIG’s plans are complex and involve investment options, the personalized attention of an agent can be helpful.

Accidental Death 

Accidental death insurance provides you and your family with coverage if you are seriously injured or killed in an accident. AIG offers up to $500,000 in accidental death insurance. If you are between ages 18 and 80, you can qualify for accidental death insurance from AIG without a medical exam, and you can’t be turned down for any health-related reason. 

Guaranteed Issue Whole Life

With guaranteed issue whole life coverage from AIG, your acceptance is guaranteed if you are between 50 and 80; there are no medical exams or health questions. Coverage ranges from $5,000 to $25,000 and is permanent protection that lasts for your lifetime. 

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is one of the most affordable life insurance options available. With term insurance, you purchase coverage for a specific period, such as 10, 20, or 30 years. If you pass away during the covered term, your beneficiaries receive a death benefit. Once the term expires, you no longer have coverage. AIG offers coverage limits up to $10 million, and terms as long as 35 years. 

Quality of Life Plans

AIG’s quality of life (QoL) plans have built-in accelerated benefits, meaning you can access your death benefits early under certain circumstances, such as being diagnosed with a terminal illness. AIG has four QoL plans: 

  • QoL Flex Term: This is a term policy that has built-in accelerated benefit riders to give you coverage in case you have a terminal or chronic illness and need to access your death benefit. 
  • QoL Max Accumulator+: The QoL Max Accumulator+ is an index universal life policy that allows you to choose your death benefit, premium amounts, premium frequency, and how your policy value grows within the plan guidelines. 
  • QoL Value+ Protector: Like the QoL Max Accumulator+, the QoL Value+ Protector is an index universal life policy, and you can choose your death benefit and premiums within the plan guidelines. Plus, your death benefit is guaranteed up to age 100. You can also access money from your policy through withdrawals or loans, potentially tax-free. 
  • QoL Guarantee Plus GUL II: This plan is a guaranteed universal life insurance plan. Your death benefit is guaranteed, regardless of your policy’s cash value, as long as your premiums have been paid. It also has a built-in rider for accelerated benefits, so you can access your death benefit if you have a chronic or terminal illness. 

Universal Life

With universal life policies, you can choose a flexible death benefit, and it functions like a long-term savings account or investment tool. 

AIG has several different universal life policies. 

  • Guaranteed Universal Life: If you opt for a guaranteed universal life policy, you can choose your coverage period and premium structure. You have a guaranteed death benefit combined with the ability to earn cash value. 
  • Index Universal Life: With index universal life insurance, you have a death benefit, but you also can accumulate cash value. Your cash value is tied to the performance of a stock market index, like the S&P 500. 
  • Platinum Choice VUL 2: This plan is a variable universal life policy with flexible premiums and death benefits. The surrender cash value is not guaranteed; its value is based on the market performance of your investment choices. Depending on your age and requested coverage amount, you may not need to go through a medical exam. This policy is available in all states except for New York. 

Available Riders

Most life insurance companies allow you to customize your insurance policy by adding insurance endorsements, also known as riders, to your plan. By adding a rider to your policy, typically at an additional cost, you can adjust or accelerate your coverage. 

AIG offers the following riders: 

Accidental Death Benefit

If you add the accidental death benefit rider to your AIG life insurance policy, your family will get an additional death benefit if you die as a result of a covered accident. The benefit can be as much as $250,000 or the face value of the policy, whichever is less. 

Child Rider

If you have children, you can add them to your policy and get coverage for them. If something were to happen to them, you would get a death benefit. You can add your child starting at 15 days old up until their 19th birthday. 

Terminal Illness

With the terminal illness rider, you can get a one-time acceleration of up to 50% of your death benefits, up to a maximum of $250,000, if you are diagnosed with a covered terminal illness. 

Waiver of Premium

If you are totally and permanently disabled, the waiver of premium rider ensures your coverage will continue. However, you no longer have to make premium payments. To be eligible for this rider, your policy must have a face value of $100,000 or more. 

Customer Service

AIG has several online resources to help you make an informed decision as you shop for life insurance. It has a term life insurance calculator so you can see how much coverage you need, a glossary of life insurance terms, explanatory videos, and a guide on what to expect during a life insurance medical exam. 

You can’t get quotes online. If you submit your information on the site for a quote, it will be sent to an agent who will follow up with a phone call to finalize a quote for you. If you’d like to get a quote faster, you can contact the AIG sales team at 800-294-4544. 

If you’re a policyholder, AIG does have an eService Center. You can manage your policy through the portal, pay your premiums, make a claim, and change your beneficiary. 

AIG does not have 24/7 support. Its sales team is only available Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PST, and Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. PST. 

If you need to reach the general customer service line, you can call 888-517-9797. However, it’s only staffed Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST. 

Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) collects and codes all complaints submitted by consumers about insurance companies. To help consumers understand the complaints submitted, the NAIC releases companies’ complaint ratios every year, or the number of complaints received relative to a company’s market share. 

The industry standard complaint ratio is 1.0. A ratio below 1.0 is considered better than average, indicating that the company received fewer complaints than expected. 

AIG’s policies are primarily issued by American General Life Insurance Company. In 2019, American General had a complaint ratio of 3.28, a complaint index that is more than three times worse than expected in the market. 

The most common complaints were related to policyholder service and claim handling. Customers frequently complained about delays or a lack of response from AIG’s support team.  

For the past three years, AIG has had significantly higher complaint ratios than the national complaint index. In fact, in 2017, it was a staggering 4.29.

Third-Party Ratings

AM Best is a credit rating agency focused on the insurance industry, issuing its opinions on companies’ abilities to meet their contractual and policy obligations. 

In 2020, AM Best affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) for AIG, recognizing the company’s significant market share and expectations for improvement in its operating performance. 

AIG performed very poorly in the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study. In the study, J.D. Power evaluated companies on several factors, including product offerings, application and orientation, communications, interactions, price, and statements. AIG was ranked last out of 24 life insurance companies, with a rating well below the industry average. 

Cancellation Policy

Like most insurance companies, AIG offers a 10-day free look period. You have 10 days after receiving your policy to review your documents and cancel your policy. If you cancel during the free look period, you will get a full refund of all premiums paid. 

After the free look period expires, cancellation fees and terms can vary based on your policy, so check the plan documents carefully and talk to your AIG agent if you have any questions. 

To cancel, contact your AIG agent or call 888-517-9797. 

Price

While you can’t get a quote online, AIG claimed that you can get up to $250,000 of term life coverage for as little as $14 per month. 

However, AIG’s policies tend to be more expensive than its competitors. In the J.D. Power Life Insurance Study, AIG ranked last in terms of pricing. 

Like other insurance companies, AIG does require you to select “male” or “female” when submitting your information online. Being nonbinary doesn’t disqualify you from getting life insurance. However, you should be aware that most insurance companies haven’t updated their underwriting processes to reflect a current awareness of gender issues. 

Competition

AIG does offer a wide range of insurance products. If you’ve had difficulty getting coverage before because of pre-existing health issues, its accidental death or guaranteed issue policies may be a useful solution for you. 

However, the company is likely more expensive than other life insurance companies, and its customer service ranking is poor. 

If you’re looking for another option, consider John Hancock. Like AIG, John Hancock has multiple insurance plans, including term, universal, and final expense with guaranteed acceptance. 

What gives John Hancock the edge over AIG is its Vitality program. You can get up to 15% off your insurance premiums by engaging in healthy habits, like going to the doctor for your annual wellness exam as well as exercising and making other healthy choices. And, John Hancock has a higher ranking from J.D. Power and a much better complaint ratio than AIG.

  AIG John Hancock
Market Share 10th-largest in the U.S., 2.7% Sixth-largest in the U.S., 3.6%
Number of Plans 7 5
Dividends for 2020 Not applicable Not applicable
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives Not applicable Vitality Program/Quit Smoking Incentive
Service Method Direct, phone and agent Phone, web, agents
AM Best Rating A (Excellent) A+ (Superior)
Price Rank Average Fair
Complaints Trend 3.28 0.35
Verdict

AIG can be helpful if you need supplemental coverage or if you have been unable to get life insurance from other companies. It does allow you to get accidental death or guaranteed issue policies without a medical exam and it offers term and universal life insurance plans with coverage amounts as high as $10 million. However, AIG has far more customer complaints than is expected for its size. And, it tends to be more expensive than its competitors. 

If you’re in relatively good health and are willing to undergo a medical exam, you can likely find more affordable life insurance policies with more responsive customer service with other companies.

How We Review Life Insurance Companies

Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative approach that analyzes each insurer on their stability and reliability, customer service, claims experience, diversity of product lines, and cost. We compare the terms of each type of policy offered—including available coverage amounts, optional riders, and premium payment options—with those of other major life insurance companies. Lastly, we look at how the company is rated by third-party organizations to determine its reliability and overall reputation. 

Learn more: Read our full Life Insurance Review Methodology.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Insurance Information Institute. "Life Insurance: Facts and Statistics." Accessed September 23, 2020. 

  2. J.D. Power. "Life Insurance and Annuity Providers Are More Customer-Centric but Gaps Remain, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed September 22, 2020. 

  3. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Complaint Index." Accessed September 22, 2020. 

  4. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Complaint Code." Accessed September 22, 2020. 

  5. Businesswire. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of American International Group, Inc. and Most Subsidiaries; Downgrades Issuer Credit Ratings of Life/Health Subsidiaries." Accessed September 22, 2020.