Occidental Life Insurance Review

Life insurance with customizable options

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American-Amicable Group

American-Amicable Group

Our Take

For customers looking for whole, term, or universal life insurance policies, Occidental Life offers multiple options. Plus, the company has a lengthy list of insurance riders available that you can use to customize your policy. 

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Multiple policy options

  • Several riders available to enhance your policy

Cons
  • No online quotes available

  • Relatively low coverage amounts

  • Medical exams required

Key Takeaways
  • Owned by American-Amicable, which is based in Waco, Texas.
  • It sells term, whole, and universal life policies.
  • It also offers health insurance and annuities.
  • Insurance is only sold through agents.
  • Products are available in all 50 states.
Company Overview

The Occidental Life Insurance Company of North Carolina is a subsidiary of the American-Amicable Group of Companies, which is based in Waco, Texas, and offers multiple life insurance products, including term, whole, and universal life coverage. 

Besides life insurance policies, Occidental Life also sells annuities and individual health insurance plans. Policies are available to residents in all 50 states. 

  • Year Founded 1910
  • Kinds of Plans Term, whole, universal
  • Number of Plans 5
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, annually
  • Customer Service Insurance agent
  • Phone 800-736-7311
  • Official Website www.occidentallife.com

Occidental 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.

Pros Explained

  • Multiple policy options: Occidental Life sells term, whole, and universal life policies. Customers can also choose from a variety of plans, including final expense policies. 
  • Several riders available: Occidental Life has a lengthy list of riders you can add to your policy for an additional cost. While it has common riders, such as accelerated death benefits, it also offers extra riders like confined care, disability income, and grandchildren coverage riders. 

Cons Explained

  • No online quotes available: While other insurance companies allow you to get quotes online, Occidental Life doesn’t have that feature. Instead, you have to work with an agent. Not being able to get an instant quote can make it more difficult to comparison shop. 
  • Relatively low coverage amounts: Occidental Life’s policies have relatively low coverage amounts. While other companies allow you to purchase term life insurance with $1 million of coverage or more, the maximum face amount for Occidental Life is $300,000 on term life policies. 
  • Medical exams required: All of Occidental Life’s policies require medical exams before you can qualify for coverage. 
What You Need to Know

American-Amicable, the parent company of Occidental Life, had over $10 billion of life insurance policies in force at the end of 2020.

Available Plans

Occidental Life sells term, whole, and universal life insurance policies. All of its policies are fully underwritten, meaning you have to fill out a questionnaire about your health and undergo a medical exam. To purchase any Occidental Life policy, you must contact an insurance agent. 

Occidental Life offers the following five options: 

Term Life

Term life insurance is popular because it is typically less expensive than whole or universal life insurance. It offers temporary coverage, paying your beneficiaries a death benefit only if you pass away during the policy’s covered term. 

Occidental Life’s Easy Term policies provide level term life insurance for terms of 10, 20, or 30 years. Policies can be renewed, and there are several riders you can add to your plan. 

Coverage amounts range from $25,000 to $300,000. 

Universal Life

Universal life insurance provides permanent coverage. However, it’s also flexible; you can change your premiums and even your death benefit if your needs change over time. 

With Occidental Life’s Easy UL, you can get a death benefit and potentially accumulate cash value. The maximum amount of coverage available is $250,000. 

Whole Life

Like universal life insurance, whole life policies give you permanent coverage. Whole life policies do not have adjustable premiums or flexible death benefits, but they can accumulate cash value. The following are Occidental Life’s whole life options: 

  • Family Choice: Family Choice plans are only available to those 49 and younger. Depending on your age, you can purchase up to $35,000 in coverage. 
  • Financial Lifeline: The Financial Lifeline option is a modified whole life policy. However, your cash value accumulations are available in annuities you can use for your retirement. The maximum amount of coverage available is $150,000. 
  • Senior Choice: The Senior Choice plan is for people between the ages of 50 and 85. If you qualify, you can get up to $35,000 in coverage. 

Available Riders

Insurance riders are typically available at an additional cost and provide more coverage, access your death benefit early, or insurance for family members. 

Occidental Life has a long list of riders available, including: 

Accelerated Benefits

With the accelerated benefits riders, you can tap into some of your life insurance benefit while you’re still living if you are diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness. Accelerated benefits for chronic and terminal illnesses are included with some plans at no additional cost. 

Accelerated Benefits for Confined Care

If you have the accelerated benefits for confined care rider added to your policy, you can receive a monthly benefit if you are confined to a nursing home at least 30 days after your policy was issued. Your benefit will be 2.5% of the policy face amount, up to a maximum of $5,000. Using this rider will reduce the death benefit that can be paid to your beneficiaries. 

Accidental Death 

The accidental death rider gives your beneficiaries a larger death benefit if you die in a covered accident. 

Children’s Insurance

With the children’s insurance rider, you can purchase term life insurance for children under 17. Once the child turns 25, the plan can be converted into whole life insurance. 

Return of Premium

Available on some term life plans, you can receive some of the premiums you paid if your term expires and you’re still living. 

Waiver of Premium

If you become disabled, Occidental Life will waive your premiums and your policy will remain in effect. 

Waiver of Premium Due to Unemployment

If you become unemployed, Occidental Life will waive your premiums for up to six months. 

Customer Service

With Occidental Life, you cannot get quotes for its policies online. Instead, you have to contact an insurance agent. 

The company does have a customer portal where you can access policy information and download forms to begin the claims process. 

If you need to reach customer support, call 800-736-7311. Customer service is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. CST. 

Complaint Index

When it comes to customer complaints, Occidental Life has performed worse than is typical within the insurance industry. 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) issues complaint ratios that reflect how many complaints have been submitted by customers relative to the company’s size. The standard ratio for the industry is 1.0. Companies that received fewer complaints than expected based on their size have ratios below 1.0. 

In 2020, Occidental Life’s complaint ratio was 1.89 for its individual life insurance segment, worse than the industry standard. 

Third-Party Ratings

When choosing an insurance company, it’s a good idea to research the company to make sure it's financially stable. A good resource is AM Best, a credit rating agency that evaluates the finances of insurers. 

In 2020, AM Best affirmed Occidental Life’s A (Excellent) rating. 

Neither Occidental Life nor American-Amicable was included in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study that evaluated and ranked 23 top insurance companies. 

Cancellation Policy

As with other insurance companies, you have a 10-day "free look" period after your Occidental Life insurance policy is issued. During the free look period, you can change your mind about your policy and cancel your coverage to get a full refund. 

How cancellations are handled after the free look period ends is dependent on your policy type. Term life policies can typically be cancelled at any time, but you won’t get a refund. With whole or universal policies, you may be entitled to a surrender cash value. Contact your insurance agent to discuss your options. 

Price

You cannot get quotes for policies from Occidental Life online. Instead, you have to contact an insurance agent to get information on cost and to complete an insurance application. 

Like other insurance companies, Occidental Life requires you to select either “male” or “female” when getting a quote or applying for coverage. 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. 

Competition

While Occidental Life has several life insurance policies to choose from, its coverage amounts are limited. If you’re looking for a policy with a larger benefit amount, consider New York Life, one of our selections for the best life insurance companies. 

New York Life sells term, whole, universal, and indexed universal life policies. It has 10 different plans to choose from and, like Occidental Life, has multiple riders you can add to your plan to customize your coverage. 

However, New York Life has significantly higher coverage amounts. You can purchase plans with $1 million or more in death benefits for your beneficiaries. And, New York Life has a much better reputation for customer service.

  Occidental Life New York Life
Market Share N/A Fourth-largest in the U.S., 4.6%
Number of Plans  5 10 
Dividends for 2020  N/A  $1.9 billion 
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives  N/A  N/A 
Service Method  Agent  Financial professional, web 
AM Best Rating A (Excellent)  A++ (Superior) 
Complaints Trend 1.89  0.21 
Final Verdict

Occidental Life does offer several insurance options, and it allows you to add riders to your policy to adjust your coverage to meet your needs. However, with its relatively low coverage amounts and poor complaint ratio, you’re likely better off with another life insurance company that sells more substantial policies and provides a higher level of customer service.

Methodology

Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative methodology 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 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.

Article Sources

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  1. NAIC. "Complaint Index - Occidental Life Insurance Company of North Carolina." Accessed May 26, 2021. 

  2. Businesswire. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. and Its Subsidiaries." Accessed May 26, 2021. 

  3. J.D. Power. "Life Insurance Customer Satisfaction Flatlines Despite Pandemic Fears, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed May 26, 2021.