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Americo boasts a sound financial position and offers a portfolio of products designed to provide coverage while you pay off your mortgage. It also offers an impressive array of riders to customize and extend your coverage. But the company’s consumer-facing website is lacking and customer satisfaction is low.
- Pros & Cons
- Company Overview
Final expense coverage available
No medical exam required
Wide variety of riders available
Permanent policies are limited
Difficult to find policy specifics on website
High number of customer complaints
Americo Financial Life and Annuity Insurance Company (Americo) was established in 1946 as The College Life Insurance Company. Based in Kansas City, Mo., it is authorized to conduct life insurance business in the District of Columbia and all U.S. states except New York, although not all policies are available in every state. The company provides a suite of products designed to cover policyholders while paying off their mortgage, plus a final expense policy.
- Year Founded 1946
- Kinds of Policies Guaranteed-issue whole life, whole life, term and universal life
- Payment Options Automatic withdrawal (EFT) from savings or checking account, money order, or check
- Customer Service Phone: 800-231-0801 (existing policies); fax: 800.395.9238; email: email@example.com
- Official Website www.americo.com
- Final expense coverage available: Americo offers small whole life policies with few health questions and no physical exam required. These policies tend to be easy to qualify for and are available to applicants aged 50 and older.
- No medical exam required: Most policies are issued via a process called simplified underwriting which is a way to approve life insurance coverage without an exam.
- Same-day decision: In most cases, policies can be issued on the same day the application is submitted. And you can apply for final expense policies online without contacting an agent.
- Wide variety of riders available: Americo offers an array of riders, including three living benefit riders included at no additional cost on some of its policies. It also offers disability income, waiver of premium, and child term riders.
- Permanent policies are limited: You can get permanent coverage from Americo, but long-term coverage is low. Decreasing whole life policies begin with a higher death benefit, which decreases to 10% of the initial death benefit, and final expense policies are limited to $30,000 in coverage, max.
- Difficult to find policy specifics on website: Americo’s website has limited information about policies and riders.
- High number of customer complaints: Americo receives three times the annual number of customer complaints expected for a company its size.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) annually releases a complaint index for U.S.-based insurance companies. This index is a means by which to compare companies of different sizes in terms of customer satisfaction, as measured by the number of complaints filed and the size of the insurance company.
A company that receives an expected number of complaints for its size will be given a complaint index of 1. An index less than 1 means the company received fewer complaints than expected, while a number greater than 1 means it received more. An index of 2.0, for example, would indicate twice the expected number of complaints.
Over three years, Americo’s NAIC average index was 3.210, meaning that three times more complaints were registered against it during that period than would be expected for a company of similar size. This number indicates customer satisfaction and claim resolution well below the industry average.
The credit rating agency AM Best publishes a yearly list ranking U.S. insurance companies by financial strength, which indicates their ability to pay claims. In 2021, Americo was assigned an A rating, indicating an excellent ability to meet their ongoing senior financial obligations, according to AM Best.
Most of Americo’s life insurance policies are designed to provide the most coverage to policyholders for a limited number of years, up to 30.
Term life insurance is designed to last for a certain period of years, such as 20, and features a death benefit that is paid out to the beneficiary or beneficiaries if the policyholder dies while the policy is in force. It does not accrue cash value, and expires at the end of the term unless it is renewed or converted to permanent coverage.
Americo offers term life insurance for periods of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. Some policies give customers the option to extend the policy to whole life upon the end of the term; the maximum death benefit is $400,000.
Whole life insurance pays a benefit to beneficiaries when the policyholder dies. It is guaranteed to remain in place for the insured’s entire lifetime if the premiums are paid. Over time the policy builds cash value, which the insured can borrow against as necessary. Premium rates are locked in for the life of the policy.
Americo offers a decreasing whole life policy which means that the premium stays the same for life, but the death benefit decreases after a certain period of time. Americo offers level death benefit periods up to 30 years, after which time the death benefit decreases to 10% of the original face amount. Considering that the maximum coverage on this policy is $450,000, the maximum lifetime death benefit available would be $45,000.
Similar to whole life, universal life policies are usually designed to provide a lifetime death benefit. But Americo appears to structure theirs to last for a specified level-premium period, up to 30 years. At the end of the period selected, policyholders are eligible to receive a return of premiums paid.
Final Expense Insurance
This policy offers coverage from $2,000 to $30,000 in death benefit without a physical exam, although applicants must answer a few medical questions. Rates are then locked in for life and will never increase. The policy cannot be canceled for age or health reasons as long as premiums are paid. It can be issued up to age 85.
Final expense policies are geared toward people with pre-existing health conditions who might not be eligible for traditional policies, as reflected in the relatively low death benefit cap. They are often used to cover final expenses, or to help surviving family members pay for medical bills or housing costs.
Riders are provisions in an insurance policy that extend protection or provide additional coverage. Riders may require an additional payment on top of any regular policy premium. However, they can also be purchased on their own.
Child Benefit Rider
Also known as a child term rider, it extends term life insurance to a policyholder’s existing or future children.
Disability Income Rider
If a policyholder is subject to long-term disability, this rider allows for payments to help offset loss of income, usually after a waiting period.
Waiver of Premium Rider
A waiver of premium rider enables the policyholder to keep their plan in force without payment of premium under certain conditions, such as the loss of a job or a disability.
Accelerated Death Benefit (ADB)
Americo offers accelerated death benefit riders, which enable policyholders to access a portion of the face value of their policy while they are still alive in the event of a qualifying health event. They are subject to administrative fees and partial repayment of any policy loans or interest. Some of Americo’s plans offer three living benefits free of charge:
- Terminal illness rider: This allows for disbursement of an accelerated death benefit if the policyholder is diagnosed by a licensed physician with a terminal illness.
- Critical illness rider: This rider provides an accelerated death benefit in the case of a chronic illness or health event (e.g., cancer, heart attack, stroke).
- Chronic illness rider: For the purposes of this rider, a critical illness is defined as the inability to perform certain activities of daily living.
Accidental Death Benefit
Not to be confused with accelerated death benefit, an accidental death benefit rider pays extra if the policyholder’s death is determined to be the result of a covered accident.
The Americo website is americo.com. Existing policyholders can call 800-231-0801, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT. Company representatives can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Methodology: How We Review Life Insurance Carriers
We designed a comprehensive ranking methodology based on consumer priorities and life insurance company fundamentals to rank more than 90 insurers across five general categories: financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, the overall buying experience, and cost.
In order to do this, we collected over 5,000 data points and scored each company based on 55 metrics. We grouped metrics by category to see how insurers performed in each; we then weighted category scores to determine how companies performed overall.
To learn more, read our full Life Insurance Methodology.