If you’re shopping for life insurance but have existing health issues, Big Lou may be a solution. Big Lou is a life insurance brokerage that specializes in connecting customers with life insurance policies, even if they have high blood pressure, sleep apnea, diabetes, or other conditions.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
- Company Overview
Designed for customers with existing health issues
You can use your medical exam elsewhere
Instant term policies available
Limited policy information available
Online quotes not available for most policies
Customer service varies by insurer
- Established in the 1980s, Big Lou is based in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
- It sells whole, term, and universal life policies in all 50 states.
- Big Lou also sells annuities and long-term care insurance.
- Its policies are underwritten by major insurers.
- Big Lou specializes in life insurance for customers in the “impaired risk” market.
TermProvider was launched in the 1980s, but it created the Big Lou brand in 2011. Through the Big Lou name, TermProvider sells life insurance, annuities, and long-term care products.
As an insurance broker, Big Lou doesn’t underwrite the policies it sells. Instead, it connects customers to 40 different major insurance companies, including Pacific Life, Protective Life, Lincoln Financial Group, and American General.
Big Lou is a leader in the “impaired risk” market, meaning it specializes in helping people with existing health issues get coverage. Because it works with so many different insurers, Big Lou’s team may be able to get you better rates than you’d find elsewhere.
- Year Founded 2011
- Kinds of Plans Term, whole, universal
- Number of Plans 4
- Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, annually
- Customer Service Financial professional, phone
- Phone 800-682-2017
- Official Website www.bigloulife.com
Big Lou 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.
- Designed for customers with existing health issues: Big Lou is an insurance broker in the impaired risk category. Customers who are overweight or have health issues like diabetes or high blood pressure can struggle to get approved for a policy. Because Big Lou works with many different life insurance companies, it can help customers get coverage even if they were previously denied.
- You can use your medical exam elsewhere: Big Lou encourages customers to shop around. It will even give you your medical exam results so that you can get rate quotes from other brokers.
- Instant term policies available: If you don’t want to undergo a medical exam or go through a lengthy application process, Big Lou does have instant term policies. If you are under the age of 50, you can get up to $1 million in coverage online with simplified underwriting.
- Limited policy information available: Big Lou works with many different insurance companies, each with its own policies and conditions. Big Lou doesn’t show policy information online, so the only way to learn about the specifics is to apply for coverage.
- Online quotes not available for most policies: While you can get a quote for instant term insurance online, all other policies require you to speak with a Big Lou financial professional for pricing.
- Customer service varies by insurer: Big Lou works with over 40 different life insurance companies. They all vary in terms of customer service, and some may be less responsive and helpful than others.
Since its launch, Big Lou has served over 100,000 customers.
As an insurance broker that focuses on customers with weight or health issues, Big Lou partners with over 40 different life insurance companies to sell term, whole, and universal life coverage.
There are four different plan options:
Term life coverage is a popular choice because it tends to be less expensive than other types of life insurance. With term life insurance, you select a policy term—such as 10 to 30 years—and your beneficiaries receive a death benefit only if you pass away during the specified time period.
There are two term life options from Big Lou:
- Instant term: With instant term insurance, you can apply online and purchase a policy within minutes. For those who are under 50, you can get up to $1 million in coverage without a medical exam. If you’re under 55, you can get up to $500,000 in coverage without an exam.
- Fully underwritten: If you want additional coverage and are willing to undergo a health exam, Big Lou has fully underwritten policies. While it can take longer to get a policy, you may be able to purchase more coverage and get lower premiums than you would with an instant issue policy.
Universal life policies are a form of permanent coverage. They also have an investment element that allows you to potentially grow your cash value. Universal life policies are more flexible than other types of permanent coverage since you can adjust your premiums or benefit amount as your needs change.
Whole life provides permanent coverage. Instead of a policy that lasts only for a set term, whole life insurance lasts for your lifetime. Whole life policies can also accumulate cash value over time, and you can take withdrawals or loans to pay for expenses.
With insurance riders, also known as endorsements, you can get additional coverage or even purchase insurance for loved ones.
Because Big Lou partners with many different insurance companies, it doesn’t have a standard set of riders; your rider options are dependent on the insurance company that is willing to work with you.
The following riders (and more) may be available to you if you purchase insurance through Big Lou.
Some insurance companies offer accelerated benefit riders. With an accelerated benefit rider, you can access some of your policy’s death benefit while you’re still living if you are diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness. Depending on the company, an accelerated benefit rider may be included with your policy, or it may have an additional cost.
With the accidental death rider added to your policy, your beneficiaries will receive a larger death benefit if you pass away due to a qualifying accident.
Waiver of Premium
If you have the waiver of premium rider added to your policy and you become permanently disabled, the insurer will waive your premiums and your policy will remain active.
Big Lou is focused on providing personalized service. According to the company, life insurance quote tools are largely inaccurate unless you are in excellent health; if you are overweight, currently take prescription medications, or have been diagnosed with a health issue, your premiums will be higher than what online calculators quote.
Instead, Big Lou encourages you to speak with a financial professional to discuss your situation and insurance needs. It lists the contact information for all of its agents online, so you can talk to a real person about what you want in a life insurance policy.
You can reach customer service at 888-893-2105 or you can email BigLou@TermProvider.com.
If you are a policyholder and have questions about your payments or policy, you should contact the company that issued your policy.
When shopping for life insurance, pay attention to companies’ customer service and complaint ratios.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) issues complaint ratios that reflect the number of complaints customers submitted relative to a company’s size. A complaint ratio over 1.0 means the company received more complaints than the NAIC considers typical; a ratio below 1.0 means the company received fewer complaints.
Each company that issues Big Lou policies has its own complaint ratio. For example,
- American General: 3.2
- Lincoln Financial Group: 1.6
- Pacific Life: 0.05
- Protective Life: 0.79
- SBLI: 2.98
Before purchasing a policy, you want to ensure the company you choose is reliable and financially sound. A good resource when you’re doing research is AM Best’s Financial Strength Rating (FSR) system. AM Best is a credit rating agency that evaluates insurance companies.
Each insurer that works with Big Lou will have its own AM Best FSR. For example, American General has an A (Excellent) rating, while Pacific Life has an A+ (Superior) rating.
Many of Big Lou’s partner insurance companies appear in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. The study evaluated 23 top life insurance companies based on their available policy options, pricing, and customer support. Here’s how some of Big Lou’s partners did in the study:
- American General: Not ranked
- Lincoln Financial Group: 14 out of 24
- Pacific Life: 7 out of 24
- Protective Life: 13 out of 24
- SBLI: Not ranked
While Big Lou doesn’t post its partner insurer’s policy information online, all insurance policies typically have a 10-day "free look" period, though it may be longer in your state. You can decide to cancel your policy during the free look period and get a refund of all the premiums you paid.
After the free look period, how cancellations are handled is dependent on your contract and insurer. In most cases, you can cancel term life insurance without penalty, but you won’t get a refund. With universal and whole life policies, there may be a surrender charge.
Talk to a Big Lou financial professional about cancellation policies before purchasing coverage.
Big Lou doesn’t offer online quotes for the majority of its policies. Because most of its customers have health issues, its premiums may be higher than you’d see listed elsewhere. However, other companies usually only show rates for people in excellent health, so it isn’t a good indicator of what rates to expect for yourself.
To get a quote, you can submit a form online or call and speak with a Big Lou financial professional.
While most life insurance companies require you to select either “male” or “female” when getting a quote, Big Lou is one of the rare exceptions. Big Lou has a third “not applicable” option if you don’t want to select male or female.
With most insurance companies, 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.
If you’ve struggled to qualify for life insurance in the past due to your weight or health issues, Big Lou may be a good option. They can connect you with an insurance company willing to work with you, and some customers can even purchase coverage without a medical exam.
However, Big Lou doesn’t publicly provide policy information or lists of available riders, so it’s difficult to compare policies. And because Big Lou doesn’t underwrite policies itself, the customer service you get can vary based on the company that issues your plan.
We compared Big Lou to MassMutual, our choice for the best whole life insurer and the best insurer for seniors.
Like Big Lou, MassMutual doesn’t offer online quotes. However, it has extensive information about its policies and riders online. MassMutual has more options, too. It sells term, whole, universal, and variable universal life policies. And, it has riders that allow you to buy additional insurance, waive your premiums if you’re disabled, or access your benefits if you become terminally ill.
MassMutual stands out from Big Lou due to its customer service. Its complaint ratio in 2020 was just 0.14, significantly lower than the industry standard, and you can also contact financial professionals in person or over the phone.
|Market Share||Dependent on underwriting company||Fourth-largest in the U.S., 5.9%|
|Number of Plans||4||5|
|Dividends for 2020||N/A||$1.7 billion|
|Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives||N/A||N/A|
|Service Method||Employer (group), phone||Financial professional, web|
|AM Best Rating||A and higher (based on company underwriting the policy)||A++ (Superior)|
|Price Rank||Not available||About average|
|Complaints Trend||Ranges from 0.05 to 3.2 depending on the underwriting company||0.14|
If you’ve had trouble qualifying for life insurance coverage before, Big Lou may be able to help you purchase a policy. It works with over 40 different insurers to compare rates on behalf of customers with existing health issues.
If you’re in good health, Big Lou’s rates may be higher than you’d get with other insurance companies, so it makes sense to shop around.
Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative methodology that analyzes each insurer on its 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.
NAIC. "Complaint Index - American General." Accessed May 19, 2021.
NAIC. "Complaint Index - Lincoln Life." Accessed May 19, 2021.
NAIC. "Complaint Index - Pacific Life." Accessed May 19, 2021.
NAIC. "Complaint Index - Protective Life." Accessed May 19, 2021.
NAIC. "Complaint Index - SBLI." Accessed May 19, 2021.
AM Best. "Pacific Life Insurance Company." Accessed May 19, 2021.
Businesswire. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of American International Group, Inc. and Most Subsidiaries; Downgrades Issuer Credit Ratings of Life/Health Subsidiaries." Accessed May 19, 2021.
J.D. Power. "Life Insurance Customer Satisfaction Flatlines Despite Pandemic Fears, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed May 19, 2021.
NAIC. "Complaint Index - MassMutual." Accessed May 19, 2021.