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The Lafayette Life Insurance Company is a long-standing insurer that’s part of one of the strongest life insurance groups in the world—Western & Southern Financial Group. It consistently earns high marks for financial strength and has a good track record when it comes to customer satisfaction. Plus, it includes three living benefit riders with most policies. However, its lineup of policy and rider options is somewhat lacking.
- Pros & Cons
- Company Overview
Far fewer complaints than expected
Superior financial strength rating
Can earn dividends
Offers return-of-premium term
Three living benefits included
Limited policy options
No online quotes or applications
The Lafayette Life Insurance Company was founded in 1905 and is a member of Western & Southern Financial Group—a Fortune 500 company. It's based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, and provides life insurance products and annuities to individuals and small businesses. Lafayette Life provides its products to policyholders in 49 states (excluding New York) and Washington, D.C.
- Far fewer complaints than expected: Has far fewer complaints than are expected for an insurer of its size, according to NAIC complaint index data.
- Superior financial strength rating: Earned an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best for the past 10+ consecutive years.
- Can earn dividends: Select whole life policies give you the opportunity to earn dividends, which can help pay premiums, be received as cash, or build policy values.
- Offers return-of-premium term: Return-of-premium term is an uncommon offering among term insurance providers. It costs quite a bit more than a standard term policy, but if you outlive the term, some or all of the premiums you paid will be returned to you.
- Three living benefits included: Most policies include living benefits for chronic, terminal, and critical illnesses at no additional cost. This is a standout feature that’s only available with a few of our top-ranking life insurance companies.
- Limited policy options: The company offers term and whole life policies, including a simplified issue whole life policy. But it does not offer universal life, variable life, or indexed policies.
- Limited riders: Policies only offer a few different rider options, limiting your ability to customize coverage to your needs.
- No online quotes or applications: You can’t apply for coverage or get a quote online, you must reach out to an agent.
You can learn a great deal about a company by looking at the complaints it receives. Lafayette fares well when it comes to complaints as it has far fewer than are expected for an insurer of its size, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
The NAIC tracks the number of complaints that insurance companies receive and then calculates an index that takes their market share into consideration. An index of 1.0 means a company has a volume of complaints expected for its size. An index above 1.0 means a company has more complaints than expected. On the other hand, indexes under 1.0 are a good sign as they mean a company has fewer complaints than expected.
Lafayette has an impressive three-year average complaint index of 0.167 when looking at the past three years of NAIC complaint index data. Sitting far below the 1.0 mark, the insurer has far fewer complaints than other insurers of the same size.
Lafayette Life has also earned impressive marks from AM Best for its financial strength. AM Best is a long-standing credit rating agency that assesses the creditworthiness of over 16,000 insurance companies worldwide. It provides a Financial Strength Rating (FSR) for insurers that ranges from a D to an A++. Lafayette Life has had a rating of A+ (Superior) since June of 2009, the second-highest possible rating, which means that the company has a superior ability to meet its ongoing insurance obligations.
Lafayette Life doesn’t have the most comprehensive lineup of life insurance products as there aren’t any universal life offerings. However, it does offer term, whole life, and final expense policies. Here’s a closer look at each.
Term Life Insurance
If you are looking for an affordable life insurance policy that provides financial security for a loved one, term life insurance can be a good solution. It offers a death benefit to your beneficiary if you pass away during a certain term, such as 20 years. However, when the term expires, you will need to renew the policy to keep coverage. Renewals are based on your current age, so your premium will increase. Many companies will allow you to convert your term policy to a permanent one before it ends as well.
Insurers have limits on term policy conversions. For example, you may only have a certain number of years once your term policy is issued to convert it to a permanent policy.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance comes at a higher initial cost than term coverage but offers more benefits. You can lock in a fixed premium for the rest of your life and will have a guaranteed death benefit for your beneficiary when you pass away, no matter when that is. Further, whole life policies have a cash value component that you can draw from or borrow against during your life.
If you access your cash value as a policy loan or withdrawal during your lifetime, it may reduce your death benefit. However, if you pay back your loan, the cash value will be restored.
Final Expense or Burial Insurance
Final expense insurance can be a helpful life insurance solution for those who may struggle to get approved for other life insurance policies. This coverage doesn’t require a medical exam, but it does ask a few health questions. It’s designed to cover a person’s final expenses such as their funeral, burial, and bills. The death benefit is limited to $50,000 if you elect level premium payments, and may be graded for the first three years.
If the death benefit is graded, your beneficiaries receive a return of the premiums you paid in lieu of the full death benefit (plus a small percentage) if you die of natural causes during the graded benefit period.
Life insurance riders are additional features that may be added or included in your policy. Lafayette Life offers the following options.
If you’d like life insurance for your children, a child rider enables you to add them to your policy. In most cases, you can add coverage for a child up to the age of 17 and it covers them to the age of 25. In the unfortunate event that your child passes away while they are covered, you will be paid a death benefit.
When coverage ends, many insurers give the child the option to convert the plan into a permanent policy without providing evidence of insurability.
Waiver of Premium
A waiver of premium rider is an add-on that helps to guarantee you can keep your life insurance in the event that you become totally disabled. If you become disabled for a certain amount of time, this rider can go into effect, enabling you to keep coverage without needing to pay your monthly premiums.
ADB: Terminal Illness Rider
An accelerated death benefit (ADB) rider pays you some or all of your death benefit while you are alive. Lafayette Life offers an ADB if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness.
ADB: Chronic Illness Rider
You can also receive an ADB if you are diagnosed by a physician with a qualifying chronic illness.
ADB: Critical Illness Rider
Additionally, an ADB may be paid if you are diagnosed with a covered medical condition. However, this benefit is not available in California.
Lafayette customer service can be reached by calling 800-243-6631. The company’s business hours are Monday through Thursday between 8 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. ET, and Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. ET. You can also complete an online form to get a response via email within two business days.
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.