The Kemper Corporation is an insurance company that sells auto, property, health, and life insurance policies. Through its Kemper Life division, it specializes in guaranteed issue and limited pay whole life coverage, but also sells term life insurance.
The company targets customers with modest incomes who want basic coverage for their loved ones. Policies tend to be for smaller amounts than what other companies offer, and policies are usually sold by agents in the customers’ homes.
However, the Kemper Corporation and its subsidiaries have received more complaints from customers than is typical for a company of its size. The majority of the complaints surrounded how claims were handled and policyholder service.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
- Company Overview
Customers can skip medical exams
In-person assistance available
High level of complaints from policyholders
Online quotes not available
- Kemper Life, a division of the Kemper Corporation, issues term, whole, and guaranteed issue policies.
- The company was founded in 1912 and is based in St. Louis, Missouri.
- It also sells auto, home, and health insurance.
- Policy availability varies by state.
- AM Best upgraded the Kemper Corporation’s Financial Strength Rating in January 2021.
The Kemper Corporation was initially founded in 1912. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, the company’s Kemper Life division issues life insurance policies through its subsidiaries: United Insurance Company of America, The Reliable Life Insurance Company, Union National Life, Mutual Savings Life Insurance Company, United Casualty Insurance Company of America, Union National Fire Insurance Company, Mutual Savings Fire Insurance Company, and Reserve National Life Insurance Company.
Kemper Life sells its policies through agents and insurance brokers who work on commission. Available policies vary by state; you have to talk with an insurance agent to see what plans are available in your location.
- Year Founded 1912
- Kinds of Plans Term, whole
- Number of Plans 4
- Payment Plan Options Monthly, Annually
- Customer Service Agent
- Phone 800-777-8467
- Official Website www.Kemper.com
Kemper Life 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.
- Customers can skip medical exams: Kemper Life offers guaranteed issue whole life policies. You can get a policy regardless of your health history without undergoing a medical exam.
- In-person assistance available: Some of Kemper Life’s policies are sold by agents in your home, meaning they will come directly to your home to discuss your insurance options.
- High level of complaints from policyholders: Kemper and its subsidiaries have received more complaints than is typical for its size. For people who prioritize responsive customer service, that issue is a major drawback.
- Online quotes not available: While other insurance companies allow you to get quotes online, Kemper doesn’t offer that option. For details on its policies and pricing, you have to work with an agent.
- Higher-than-average premiums: Because most of Kemper’s policies are sold in-home, they have higher operational costs. As a result, they also have higher-than-average premiums.
As of 2021, the Kemper Corporation services over 6.2 million policies.
Through Kemper Life and its subsidiaries, Kemper has four different life insurance plans available. Online quotes are not available, so you have to contact Kemper and ask to be connected to an agent.
For those who want inexpensive, temporary coverage, term life insurance may be a good option. You receive coverage for a set term, and your beneficiaries receive a death benefit if you pass away during that term. Kemper offers terms of 10, 20, or 30 years.
Unlike term life insurance, whole life insurance provides you with permanent coverage. They also have a savings component that can accumulate cash value. You can tap into the cash value if you need money for your retirement, a major expense, or a sudden emergency.
Kemper has three whole life policies:
- Whole Life: Kemper’s whole life policies have level premiums and are available to people of all ages.
- Guaranteed Issue Whole Life: Guaranteed issue policies allow you to get life insurance even if you’ve been denied coverage in the past. Plus, your premiums are guaranteed to never increase.
- Limited Pay Whole Life: With a limited pay whole life policy, you pay premiums for a set time period, such as 20 years. After that period ends, the policy is paid up, and you are no longer required to make payments.
While insurance companies often have a variety of riders you can add to your policy to customize your coverage, Kemper doesn’t have optional riders. Kemper’s policies provide basic coverage, but they don’t allow you to get coverage for family members or add accelerated benefits.
While many companies have robust websites and customer portals, Kemper Corporation’s site is very barebones. You cannot get a quote, make a payment, or change your beneficiaries online. However, you can download the forms you need for those processes.
The company also doesn’t have educational materials. Other companies have life insurance calculators to help you decide how much coverage you need, detailed articles explaining the different types of lie insurance available, and other tools.
To get a quote for a life insurance policy, you must contact an agent. To get started, you have to fill out a form with your contact information, and an agent will follow up with you.
Current policyholders can get help by contacting their agent or by calling 800-777-8467.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) collects all complaints that consumers submit about insurance companies. Based on the companies’ market shares, the NAIC creates complaint ratios that reflect how many complaints companies receive relative to their size.
The industry standard is 1.0. If a company has a ratio above 1.0, they received more complaints than the NAIC expected for a company of its size. Likewise, a score below 1.0 means the company received fewer complaints than is typical.
Kemper Life’s complaint ratio is significantly higher than the national complaint index. Reserve National Life Insurance Company—the company that underwrites some of Kemper’s life insurance policies—had a complaint ratio of 4.42 in 2020.
Because the complaint ratio was so high, we looked up customer complaints to see what the biggest issues were. The majority of complaints concerned claim handling and policyholder service. Customers reported problems getting responses from the company, unnecessary delays, and denials of claims.
Since 2018, Kemper’s complaint ratio has been much higher than average. Its complaint ratios in 2018, 2019, and 2020 were all over 1.7.
The Kemper Corporation has a good reputation in the insurance industry.
In 2021, AM Best—a credit rating agency that issues its opinions on companies’ financial stability—upgraded Kemper’s rating to “A” (Excellent) from “A-”. AM Best said the change was based on Kemper’s very strong balance sheet, operating performance, business profile, and enterprise risk management. A high rating from AM Best indicates that the company is reliable and able to pay out contractual claims.
Neither Kemper nor Reliable Life Insurance Company were included in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. The study evaluated and ranked 24 top life insurance companies based on their available policies, customer service, and cost.
As is typical for life insurance companies, Kemper customers can take advantage of a 10-day free look period. For 10 days after receiving your policy documents, you can review your plan and decide to cancel without penalty.
After the free look period expires, Kemper’s cancellation policies vary based on the type of coverage you have. With term life coverage, you can cancel at any time, but you won’t get a refund. If you have a whole life policy, you may be eligible for a surrender cash value.
To cancel your policy, contact your insurance agent.
Most of Kemper’s policies are issued through its Kemper Home Service division, and agents visit customers in their homes to discuss their insurance needs, sell policies, and collect premiums. Because the in-home service model is more expensive, Kemper’s premiums tend to be higher than the industry average. As of 2020, the average policy Kemper issues has a face value of $5,800 and a monthly premium of $24.
Like other companies, Kemper requires you to select either “male” or “female” when completing an insurance application. Being nonbinary won’t prohibit you from qualifying for life insurance. However, you should be aware that most insurers haven’t yet updated their underwriting processes to reflect an awareness of gender issues, and their application processes may be outdated and restrictive.
Kemper sells multiple insurance policies, but its high number of consumer complaints and higher-than-average premiums are significant drawbacks. If you’re looking for a highly-rated insurance company with more competitive pricing and a better reputation for customer service, consider Northwestern Mutual—our pick for best whole life insurer.
While Kemper sells term and whole life policies, Northwestern Mutual has more options. It sells 12 insurance plans, including term, whole, universal, and variable universal policies. It also has several riders you can add to your policy to customize your coverage, including waiver of premium and accelerated care benefits.
When it comes to customer service, Northwestern Mutual has the clear edge over Kemper. The company’s complaint ratio was 0.05 in 2020, significantly lower than the national complaint index.
Northwestern Mutual was also ranked by J.D. Power as the fourth best individual life insurance company in the 2020 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, beating out 20 other companies.
|Market Share||Not applicable||Largest in the U.S., 8.6%|
|Number of Plans||4||12|
|Dividends for 2020||Not applicable||$6 billion expected|
|Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|Service Method||Agent||Agents and advisors|
|AM Best Rating||A (Excellent)||A++ (Superior)|
|Price Rank||Above Average||Average|
|Complaints Trend||4.42 (Very Poor)||0.05 (Excellent)|
While Kemper sells guaranteed issue policies and offers in-home service, its high number of complaints and costly premiums should make you think twice about purchasing a policy from the company.
There are many other insurance companies that offer convenient quote options, robust educational materials, and more competitive rates. When shopping for a company, look at their AM Best ratings, complaint ratios, and customer service options to make an informed decision.
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 that 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.
SEC.gov. "Form 10-k: Kemper Corporation." Page 11. Accessed April 12, 2021.
NAIC. "Complaint Code - Reserve National Life Insurance Company." Accessed April 12, 2021.
AM Best. "AM Best Upgrades Credit Ratings of Kemper Corporation, Its Affiliates and Subsidiaries." Accessed April 12, 2021.
NAIC. "Complaint Index - Reserve National Life Insurance Company." Accessed April 12, 2021.
NAIC. "Complaint Index - Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company." Accessed April 12, 2021.