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North American has fewer policy offerings than many of its major competitors, but it makes up for what it lacks in variety by offering important riders to enable customization of its term and universal life products. On top of that, the company’s easy-to-navigate website, no-medical-exam coverage, and solid customer satisfaction ratings elevate our rating.
- Pros & Cons
- Company Overview
Superior financial strength
No-medical-exam coverage available
Low number of customer complaints
Well-priced term coverage
Three living benefits included with coverage
No online application available
No online claim filing
North American Company for Health and Life Insurance (North American) was founded in 1886 as North American Accident Association. Its administrative offices are in West Des Moines, Iowa. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, North American is a subsidiary of Sammons Financial Group. The company is licensed to sell life insurance in all U.S. states except New York, as well as the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam.
- Superior financial strength: North American has been assigned an A+ (Superior) rating by AM Best for financial strength. This means the company is deemed to have a superior ability to meet its ongoing insurance obligations.
- No-medical-exam coverage available: All policy types can potentially be obtained with no medical exam. To qualify for this accelerated underwriting program, you need to be in good health and answer thorough health and lifestyle questions. Coverage is available up to $3 million if you’re 50 or younger, and up to $2 million if you’re aged 51 to 60.
- Low number of customer complaints: North American receives a low number of customer complaints based on its size.
- Well-priced term coverage: Based on a review of quotes from 32 term life insurance companies, North American’s policies are priced in the lower 25th percentile. This means they’re more affordable than 75% of the companies we reviewed.
- Three living benefits included with coverage: Policies automatically include three living benefits (for critical, chronic, and terminal illnesses) for no additional upfront premium cost.
- No online application available: While you can get a quote online for term coverage, if you want to apply for a policy, you’ll need to connect with an agent to do so.
- No online claim filing: North American does not offer online claim-filing capability.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) calculates a complaint index for insurance companies annually. The index is a means by which to compare companies of similar sizes in terms of customer satisfaction, as measured by the number of complaints filed.
A company that receives the number of complaints expected for its size has an index of 1.00. If a company has fewer complaints than expected, its index is below 1.00. Companies with more complaints than expected have an index above 1.00.
Over three years, North American has had no complaints, meaning it had fewer complaints registered against it than expected during that period. This number suggests that customer satisfaction and claim resolution issues are low.
Global credit rating agency AM Best publishes a yearly list ranking U.S. insurance companies by financial strength and their ability to pay claims. In 2021, North American was assigned an A+ (Superior) rating, indicating that it has a superior ability to meet its ongoing insurance obligations.
AM Best assesses the creditworthiness of more than 16,000 insurance companies worldwide, and provides reports summarizing those companies’ ability to pay claims, debts and other financial obligations in a timely manner. The agency’s highest rating is A++ (Superior) and the lowest is D (Poor).
North American offers three life insurance policies: term life, universal life, and indexed universal life. The policy types, and the company’s specific products, are described below.
Term life insurance guarantees payment of a stated death benefit to the insured's beneficiaries if the insured person dies during a specified term—for example, 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. Unlike permanent life insurance policies, term policies typically have no savings component and no value other than the death benefit. Because there are dozens of life insurance companies that offer term coverage, finding one of the best term life companies can be a challenge.
- ADDvantage Term Life Insurance: Coverage amounts start at $100,000 for this North American term policy and can go as high as you need, subject to underwriting limits. This term policy also can be converted to one of North American’s permanent policies without a physical exam. You can select a term up to 30 years long and customize it with various riders, including a child rider, an accelerated death benefit for terminal illness rider, and a total disability rider.
Universal life is a type of permanent life insurance that provides death benefits to beneficiaries when the policyholder dies. The policy is guaranteed to remain in place for the insured’s entire lifetime if sufficient premiums are paid. Over time the policy builds cash value, which the insured can borrow against or withdraw from if necessary.
- Custom Guarantee Universal Life: North American’s universal life (UL) plan offers low-cost guaranteed death benefits up to age 120. Its optional premium recovery endorsement feature allows you to recover part or all of total premiums paid within 60 days of the plan’s 15th, 20th, or 25th anniversary date upon full surrender of the policy. It also provides for conversion to an indexed universal life policy without evidence of insurability and with no surrender charge. Similar to the term product, you can customize this UL policy with various riders, including accelerated death benefit riders for critical, chronic, and terminal illnesses.
Indexed Universal Life
When a universal life policy is pegged to a stock market indicator, such as the S&P 500, it is said to be indexed. The value of an indexed universal life (IUL) policy is affected by the performance of the index it’s tied to. While policies will not lose value due to negative index performance, gains are capped as well. North American offers three different types of IUL policies.
- Builder Indexed Universal Life policies: There are four iterations of this policy type. Each offers the potential for cash accumulation based on a stock market indicator, and each has at least a 1.5% minimum account value guaranteed interest rate.
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.
Accelerated Death Benefits
North American’s policies include three accelerated death benefits for terminal, critical, and chronic illnesses. These enable policyholders to access a portion of the face value of their policy while they are still alive in the case of a qualifying health event. They are subject to administrative fees at the time of election.
- 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, such as cancer, heart attack, or stroke.
- Chronic Illness Rider: For the purposes of this rider, a critical illness is defined as the inability to perform at least two activities of daily living or suffer severe cognitive impairment.
Children’s Term Life Benefit Rider
North American’s term, UL, and IUL policies also feature this rider, which extends term life insurance to a policyholder’s existing or future children. When the child becomes an adult, they typically have the option to convert coverage to their own permanent policy.
Waiver of Monthly Deductions Rider
North American’s UL and IUL policies feature this rider, which pays the monthly deductions from universal life plans if the insured becomes disabled, after a six-month waiting period. It does not pay premiums, however. This rider is not available in New Jersey.
Guaranteed Insurability Rider
Also featured in the company’s UL and IUL policies is this rider, which lets policyholders increase the coverage on their policies without taking a medical exam. This rider can usually be exercised at specific ages or upon certain triggering events, such as getting married or having a child.
Accidental Death Benefit
North American’s UL and UIL policies offer an accidental death benefit, which pays a sum in addition to the death benefit if a policyholder dies either immediately or within 90 days from a qualifying accident.
North American’s website can be accessed anytime at northamericancompany.com. Life insurance assistance is available by calling 877-872-0757, Monday through Thursday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Central Time.
For claim assistance, call 877-733-2524 during the same hours. The customer care email address is LifeCorrespondence@SFGmembers.com. Beneficiaries must send downloaded claim forms through U.S. mail to North American Life Insurance, One Sammons Plaza, Sioux Falls, South Dakota., 57193.
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.
AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Sammons Financial Group, Inc - AM Best News."
National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "NAIC Complaint Index."
AM Best. “Guide to Best’s Financial Strength Ratings - (FSR).”