Penn Mutual Life Insurance Review

Robust term, whole, and universal life policies with high coverage amounts

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Penn Mutual

Penn Mutual

Our Take

Penn Mutual is a life insurance company with a long legacy. For those looking for substantial coverage for their families, it offers multiple life insurance options, a variety of optional riders, and high coverage amounts.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Robust list of optional riders

  • High coverage amounts available

  • Accelerated underwriting available

Cons
  • Online quotes not available

  • Insurance must be purchased through an agent

  • No educational tools or resources

Key Takeaways
  • Penn Mutual was founded in 1847.
  • Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the company has over 3,200 employees and 9,000 financial professionals in its network.
  • It offers term, whole, and universal life insurance policies.
  • It also sells annuities to provide guaranteed income in retirement.
  • Penn Mutual’s policies are available in all 50 states.
Company Overview

Penn Mutual was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1847. The company sells life insurance policies and annuities nationwide. 

Penn Mutual serves over one million clients throughout the country. Unlike other companies, which sell directly to consumers through their websites, Penn Mutual requires customers to consult with financial professionals or insurance agents to purchase policies. It has a network of over 9,000 financial professionals that sell Penn Mutual life insurance plans. 

As a mutual company, Penn Mutual is owned by its policyholders, and those policyholders are entitled to receive a share of the profits generated by the company. In 2020, its dividend payout to customers was $100 million. 

The company sells a wide range of life insurance products, including term, whole, and universal life policies. It also offers accelerated underwriting, speeding up the application process for some customers.

  • Year Founded 1847
  • Kinds of Plans Term, whole, universal
  • Number of Plans 9
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually
  • Customer Service Agent, financial professional
  • Phone 800-523-0650
  • Official Website www.pennmutual.com

Penn Mutual 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

  • Robust list of optional riders: Penn Mutual has a long list of optional riders you can add to your policy to get additional coverage or other benefits, including accelerated death benefits, accidental death riders, and children’s life insurance riders. 
  • High coverage amounts available: While some companies offer smaller benefit amounts, you can purchase a policy with a large benefit through Penn Mutual and leave your loved ones a lasting legacy. Penn Mutual offers insurance policies of $10 million or higher. 
  • Accelerated underwriting available: With fully underwritten policies, the application process can be extensive, and you have to undergo a medical exam. With Penn Mutual’s accelerated underwriting process, eligible customers can get coverage more quickly. Plus, you can skip the medical exam. 

Cons Explained

  • Online quotes not available: Many insurance companies allow you to get quotes for insurance online. With Penn Mutual, online quotes and applications aren’t available, which can make comparison shopping more difficult.  
  • Insurance must be purchased through an agent: Instead of purchasing policies online, Penn Mutual requires all customers to purchase life insurance through a financial professional or insurance agent. For some, having to meet with an agent is an added hassle and a major drawback. 
  • No educational tools or resources: Life insurance companies often have tools you can use to calculate how much coverage you need and to learn about your insurance options. Penn Mutual has very few educational resources beyond its policy brochures. 
Note

In 2020, Penn Mutual paid out $1.4 billion in benefits to its policyholders or their beneficiaries.

Available Plans

Penn Mutual has several different insurance options. Whether you want a simple term life plan to give you temporary coverage or a robust life insurance policy to leave your family a large inheritance, Penn Mutual likely has a plan for you. It also owns more complex policies for high-income individuals, such as indexed universal life and survivorship policies. 

Depending on your state and the type of coverage you choose, you could qualify for a policy with a face amount ranging from $100,000 to over $10 million. 

Penn Mutual has nine life insurance options to choose from: 

Term Life

Term life insurance is typically the least expensive form of life insurance. It’s temporary, providing coverage for only a specified term, such as 10 to 30 years. Your family only receives the policy’s death benefit if you die within the plan’s term; after that, your beneficiaries receive nothing. 

Penn Mutual has two term life plans: 

  • Guaranteed Convertible Life: Guaranteed convertible coverage guarantees your eligibility for insurance in the future. As long as you’re under the age of 70 and your policy hasn’t ended yet, you can convert your coverage to a permanent policy, and your premiums will be based on your health when you first took out your term policy. 
  • Protection Non-Convertible Term: Cheaper than guaranteed convertible life, the non-convertible term option is a basic term life policy that gives you coverage only for the term. After it expires, you can purchase a permanent policy, but acceptance isn’t guaranteed, and you will likely pay higher premiums based on your age and health. 

Whole Life

Whole life coverage is permanent, lasting for your entire lifetime. Unlike term life insurance, whole life policies can also build cash value over time. 

Penn Mutual has two whole life policies: 

  • Guaranteed Whole Life: With a guaranteed whole life policy, your death benefit is guaranteed for life. Your payment amounts will never increase, and your policy will grow in cash value. 
  • Survivorship Choice Whole Life: The survivorship policy is designed to cover two people, such as spouses or business partners. The cost of a survivorship whole life policy is more affordable than buying two separate policies since the policy’s death benefit is only paid out when both covered persons die. 

Universal Life

Universal life insurance is a type of permanent coverage that has an investment aspect that allows you to potentially grow your cash value. Premiums you pay over the minimum required amount accumulate along with the cash value portion of your policy. 

Penn Mutual has five universal life policies available: 

  • Accumulation Builder Flex Indexed Universal Life: This policy has a death benefit, but it also allows you to accumulate cash value that you can tap into while you’re still living. You can invest in five different index accounts, and your account is guaranteed to be credited by 1% or more every year. 
  • Diversified Advantage Variable Universal Life: With this policy option, you can potentially build your cash value by investing in one of the plan’s 33 options, such as funds tied to stock market indices or fixed interest accounts. 
  • Guaranteed Protection Universal Life: Guaranteed protection universal life policies provide a death benefit for your beneficiaries, and you can also build cash value. It offers flexible payment options, allowing you to pay up early or skip or delay payments if you have enough cash value accumulated. 
  • Protection Universal Life: Protection universal life policies offer a guaranteed death benefit for your beneficiaries. Beginning in your policy’s 11th year, you’ll also get a guaranteed annual boost to build your cash value growth. This benefit increases your cash value by 0.25% every year. 
  • Survivorship Plus Select Indexed Universal Life: These policies cover two people, providing a death benefit only when both persons die. You can choose to invest to grow your cash value with funds that track stock market indices. All accounts are guaranteed at least 1% interest regardless of market performance.

Available Riders

Like many other insurance companies, Penn Mutual allows applicants to add optional insurance endorsements, also known as riders, to their policies. While riders can add to your policy’s cost, they can give you extra benefits, such as coverage for children or your spouse. 

Available riders can vary by location, so talk to an insurance agent to see what riders are available. 

Depending on what state you live in, you may be able to add these riders to your Penn Mutual policy: 

Accelerated Death Benefit

If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, you can access some of your death benefit while you’re still living if you added the accelerated death benefit to your policy. The accelerated death benefit is included with some plans. 

Accidental Death Benefit

With the accidental death benefit, your beneficiaries will receive a larger benefit amount if you die as a result of an accident. This rider is optional and comes with an additional cost. 

Children’s Term Insurance

You can purchase term life insurance for your children with an additional cost with this rider. Once your child turns 23, they have the option to convert their policy to permanent coverage. 

Chronic Illness Accelerated Benefit

The chronic illness accelerated benefit gives you access to some of your benefits while you’re alive if you are diagnosed with a chronic illness. This rider is included with most permanent life insurance policies. 

Disability Waiver of Premium

If you become totally disabled, the rider waives all premiums and keeps your policy in force. This rider has an added cost. 

Guaranteed Purchase Option

With the guaranteed purchase option, you can increase your coverage at specified ages or after certain events without medical underwriting. 

Customer Service

For information about Penn Mutual policies and rates, you must contact a financial professional or insurance agent. You can use the company’s locator tool to find a financial professional near you

Policyholders can contact Penn Mutual’s customer support team by calling 800-523-0650. 

Penn Mutual does have an online portal where customers can pay their premiums, transfer and rebalance funds, change their address, download tax forms, and download policy forms. 

Complaint Index

When comparing companies, look for an insurer with a strong reputation for customer service. The National Association of Insurance Commissioner (NAIC)’s complaint index is a useful tool you can use. 

The NAIC releases company complaint ratios that reflect the number of complaints that consumers submitted about insurers. 

The standard complaint ratio is 1.0. Ideally, you’d want a company that has a complaint ratio below 1.0 since that means the insurer received fewer complaints than is typical for a company of its size. 

In 2020, Penn Mutual’s complaint ratio for its individual life insurance segment was 0.26, well below the national complaint index. 

What You Need to Know

Penn Mutual’s complaint ratio has been quite low for three years. From 2018, 2019, and 2019, its complaint ratio was under 0.30, indicating that it has consistently received fewer complaints than is typical for a company of its size.

Third-Party Ratings

In 2021, AM Best affirmed Penn Mutual’s “A+” (Superior) rating. The credit rating agency cited the company’s strong balance sheet, favorable business profile, and operating performance as the rationale for the rating. 

Penn Mutual was not included in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. The study ranked 24 life insurance companies based on their available insurance policies, pricing, and communication. The study included the biggest insurers in the industry, including State Farm, Globe Life, and Nationwide. 

Cancellation Policy

As with other companies, Penn Mutual gives you the right to cancel your policy within the first 10 days after it’s been issued without penalty. During this time, commonly known as the free-look period, you can decide to cancel and get a full refund. 

After the free look period, Penn Mutual’s cancellation policies vary based on policy type. With term life policies, you can cancel at any time, but you won’t get a refund on your premiums. With universal life policies, you’ll have to pay a surrender charge if you cancel within the first nine years your policy is in force. Penn Mutual will pay you the policy’s cash value minus any outstanding loans and surrender charges. 

Before signing an insurance contract, talk to your agent and read the document carefully to make sure you understand the policy cancellation terms. 

Price

Penn Mutual does not publish its pricing information, and you must contact a financial professional or insurance agent for a quote. In general, your premiums are based on the type of life insurance you want, the death benefit amount, added riders, your age, and your overall health. 

Like other insurance companies, Penn Mutual requires you to select “male” or “female” when applying for a life insurance policy. 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 Penn Mutual offers a wide range of insurance policies and riders, pricing isn’t available online, and you have to work with a financial professional to purchase coverage. 

Because of those limitations, we compared Penn Mutual to State Farm, our pick for the best instant issue life insurance company. 

State Farm offers no-exam instant issue term policies. With this option, you can get up to $50,000 in life insurance without getting a medical exam. If you qualify, coverage begins right away. 

State Farm also sells basic final expense policies. Final expenses policies are smaller whole life policies that cover your burial expenses, and they tend to be cheaper than other insurance options. For those looking for coverage they can get quickly and inexpensively, State Farm may be a better choice than Penn Mutual. 

  Penn Mutual State Farm
Market Share Not applicable Seventh-largest in the U.S., 3.5%
Number of Plans  9 10
Dividends for 2020  $100 million $600 million
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives Not applicable Not applicable
Service Method Agents, financial professionals Agents
AM Best Rating A+ (Superior) A++ (Superior)
Price Rank  Not available Better than average
Complaints Trend 0.26 0.24
Final Verdict

For those who want to purchase a significant amount of life insurance coverage, Penn Mutual can be a useful option. Penn Mutual offers policies with benefits ranging from $100,000 to $10 million or more, and has multiple riders you can add to your policy to customize your coverage.

How We Review Life Insurance Companies

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 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.

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. NAIC. "Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company - Complaint Index." Accessed April 23, 2021. 

  2. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company and Its Subsidiaries." Accessed April 23, 2021.