Columbian Life Insurance Review

Accelerated death benefits at no additional cost

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Columbian Life Insurance Company

Columbian Financial Group

Investopedia’s Rating
2.2

Our Take

Columbian insurance issues whole life, final expense, and term policies. Several different types of riders are available to help you customize your policy, but available coverage is relatively low. Plus, this company has more than twice the expected number of complaints for an insurer of its size and its financial strength rating is one of the poorest we’ve seen.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Company Overview
  • specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Guaranteed issue final expense policies available

  • Accelerated death benefit riders at no extra cost

Cons
  • Maximum coverage is $500,000

  • Much higher than expected level of customer complaints

  • Vulnerable financial rating

  • Can’t apply without an agent

  • No online quotes

Company Overview

Columbian Mutual Life Insurance Company was founded in New York City in 1882. Designed to sell policies to working-class families, this insurer specializes in small face value life insurance products. 

Columbian Mutual Life Insurance Company, Columbian Life Insurance Company, and other subsidiaries are a part of the Columbian Financial Group (CFG) of companies. CFG has 20,000 independent agents and pays out more than $200 million in life insurance benefits to beneficiaries each year. 

The headquarters of Columbian Mutual Life Insurance Company is in Binghamton, New York. Columbian Life Insurance Company is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Between the two companies, Columbian is licensed in all 50 states. However, products and availability may vary by state.

specifications
AM Best Rating
B
NAIC Score (avg.)
N/A
Years In Business
140 Years
Policy Types
Final Expense, Term, Whole
Accepts Credit Cards
No
Why Trust Us
91
Companies reviewed
55
Features considered
5,005
Data points analyzed
We collected over 5,000 data points from 91 life insurance companies to measure financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, and the overall buying experience. We then evaluated each company based on 55 metrics to develop unbiased, comprehensive reviews.
Columbian Life Insurance Company

Columbian Financial Group

Investopedia’s Rating
2.2

Columbian 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

  • Guaranteed issue final expense policy available: If you’re in great health, getting life insurance isn’t a problem. However, if you’re facing health problems, coverage can be hard to come by. To help you ensure your family is financially prepared for your passing, Columbian offers a guarantee issue final expense policy with no medical questions asked.  
  • Accelerated death benefit riders at no extra cost: Accelerated death benefits allow you to access a portion of your life insurance benefits while you’re still alive, if certain conditions are met. Columbian’s Life’s Solutions Whole Life policy includes three different ADB riders without increasing your premiums.

Cons Explained

  • Maximum coverage is $500,000: Columbian provides consumers with small face value policies. The maximum amount of coverage you can get with this insurer is $500,000. If you need a higher amount of insurance, you’ll need to go with a different company. 
  • Much higher than expected customer complaints: Most of the top-rated insurance companies we researched have a consumer complaint index of less than 1.00. However, Columbian’s is 2.70, which may be a sign that customers and beneficiaries aren’t satisfied with its service. 
  • Vulnerable financial rating: AM Best rates insurance companies on their financial strength and stability. Compared to other insurance companies we researched, Columbian is in a vulnerable financial state. 
  • No online quotes: Unlike many companies that offer term and final expense coverage, you can’t get a quote online. 
  • Can’t apply without an agent: You can’t get an online quote, and you won’t be able to apply for a policy without reaching out to an agent.

Complaint Index

Last year, Columbian Mutual received far more than expected complaints compared to other insurance companies of similar size. While Columbian Life Insurance received fewer than expected complaints. 

Each year, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) looks at the complaints filed and calculates an index for each insurance company based on those complaints and their market share. Companies that received the number of complaints the NAIC expected based on their size receive a score of 1.00. If a company has fewer complaints than expected, its index is below 1.00. Conversely, if the index is greater than 1.00, the company received more complaints than expected. 

Columbian Mutual received an index of 2.70 in 2021. This means it received more than double the number of expected complaints, which could indicate a customer service problem. However, Columbian Life Insurance did far better and received an index of only 0.72 for 2021, which indicates that consumers filed fewer complaints than expected.

Third-Party Rating

Compared to other insurance companies we researched, Columbian is in a vulnerable financial position. AM Best is a leading financial rating provider for insurance companies. It analyzes each company’s financial strength and stability. 

Columbian’s current AM Best score is “B.” A “B” rating ranks below all of the most financially secure insurance companies, which earn A financial strength ratings (A++, A+, A, or A-). It’s also lower than the companies that earned a B++, or B+. 

If an insurance company isn’t financially strong, it may not have the assets it needs to cover its death benefits claims. Many of the insurance companies we reviewed have a much higher score in this area and might be a better fit for you.  

Policies Available 

While Columbian offers fewer types of life insurance products than many of the other insurers we researched, it does sell both term and permanent policies.

Term Life Insurance

When you purchase a term life insurance policy, you’ll get a level premium throughout the life of your policy. Columbian has term lengths as long as 30 years, which is a common length compared to other companies. If you pass away during your term, your beneficiaries receive your death benefit. However, there is no other benefit with term coverage. Unlike permanent insurance products, term life has no cash value component. 

Final Expense Insurance 

Final expense insurance is a small face-value whole life policy designed to pay for your final expenses. Compared to other types of coverage, final expense insurance is typically easier to get approved for. It doesn’t require a medical exam and only asks a few health questions. However, note that if your policy has a graded death benefit period, your beneficiaries won’t get the full death benefit if you die of natural causes until the period is over.

Whole Life Insurance 

No matter how old you are when you finally pass away, whole life insurance can ensure your loved ones are taken care of. Unlike term policies, whole life covers you for your entire life, as long as your premiums are paid. In addition, there’s a cash value that can grow over the years. You can access this saved money while you’re still alive. 

Available Riders 

There’s not a one-size-fits-all type of insurance policy. Your needs are different from those of your neighbors or anyone else. That’s why insurance companies allow you to customize your coverage with riders. Columbian has a variety of riders available.

Guaranteed Insurability Rider 

As you age, your health condition may change. Unfortunately, with poor health, it’s hard to get approved for additional life insurance. That’s why the guaranteed insurability rider is so beneficial. Once you get approved for your original policy, this rider allows you to add coverage at certain times without having to go through additional medical screenings. 

Child Rider

The child rider is a small value death benefit that you can add to your policy for your children who are still minors. Once they become an adult, they may be able to convert this coverage to their own permanent policy.

Waiver of Premium 

A waiver of premium rider helps you prepare for devastating financial situations. It waives your premium payments if certain conditions are met, such as you becoming totally disabled and unable to work.    

Accidental Death Benefit 

The accidental death benefit rider increases your death benefit if you die as a result of an accident. This can provide an additional financial safety net to help your family through your unexpected loss. 

Accelerated Death Benefit: Terminal Illness Rider

An accelerated death benefit (ADB) allows you to access your life insurance funds before you pass away. To qualify for the terminal illness ADB rider, you must be diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a life expectancy less than one to two years. 

Accelerated Death Benefit: Chronic Illness Rider

The chronic illness rider is another type of accelerated death benefit. To get approved, you’ll need to be diagnosed with a chronic illness. Many insurance companies require that you’re unable to perform at least two of the six daily living activities

Accelerated Death Benefit: Critical Illness Rider

In order to qualify for the critical illness rider, you must be diagnosed with a critical illness. While each insurance company has its own requirements, this diagnosis typically includes conditions like cancer, a heart attack, or kidney failure. 

Customer Service

If you need to get in touch with the Columbian customer service team, there’s an online form you can fill out, or you can call 1-800-423-9765. The department is open on weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m EST. 

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.

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. Columbian Financial Group. "Our Story."

  2. NAIC. "Columbian Mut Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  3. NAIC. “Columbian Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report.

  4. AM Best. “AM Best Places Credit Ratings of Members of Columbian Financial Group Under Review With Developing Implications.