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Americo boasts a sound financial position and offers a portfolio of products designed to help take care of your family after you pass away. 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 for final expense
Same-day decision for some products
Wide variety of riders available
Whole life 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 all types of policyholders from new families to senior citizens.
- 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); email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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 for final expense: Final expense 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: While other options may exist, Americo's focus for permanent coverage is on final expense policies for seniors. These policies are limited to a maximum of $40,000 of coverage.
- Difficult to find policy specifics on website: Americo’s website has limited information about policies and riders.
- High number of customer complaints: Americo received more the annual number of customer complaints expected for a company its size in 2021.
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.
In 2021, Americo had a complaint index of 1.27. This indicates the company had a bit more complaints than expected for a company of its size and may have struggled with customer satisfaction at least during 2021.
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.
Americo offers term, universal, and whole life policies. The company emphasizes its final expense policies which are a type of whole life for seniors with lower death benefit amounts.
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 coverage by converting it to permanent coverage at the end of the term.
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.
Similar to whole life, universal life policies are usually designed to provide a lifetime death benefit. Universal life policies tend to have flexible premiums and death benefit amounts. They also build cash value similar to whole life. Americo appears to allow you to convert expiring term policies to permanent universal life policies. They also offer various universal life options such as an indexed policy that grows your cash value in accordance with the performance of a stock index.
Final Expense Insurance
This special type of whole life insurance offers coverage from $5,000 to $40,000 in 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 is not available to those under age 50.
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 things such as medical bills, funeral expenses, 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.
Child Benefit Rider
Also known as a child term rider, it extends term life insurance coverage to a policyholder’s existing or future children. Americo also allows it to be used for grandchildren instead of 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, normally disability. The rider will specify how many months you can skip payments for, before you must start paying again.
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. You might have to pay to add these to a policy, but some of Americo’s plans offer these 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 email@example.com.
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.
Americo Financial Life. "Who We Are."
Americo. "Protecting You and Your Family."
Americo Financial Life. "Life Insurance for Seniors."
Americo Financial Life. "Final Expense Products at a Glance."
NAIC. "Americo Fin Life & Ann Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."
Americo Financial Life. "Life Insurance."