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Penn Mutual is a historic company with a strong dividend-paying history. It has a low incidence of complaints, solid financial ratings, high coverage no-exam life insurance, and affordable term policies. But it falls short when it comes to website features and online information.
Top Rated For
- Great for Dividends and No-Medical Exam Life Insurance Best Life Insurance Companies of 2023
- Best for High Coverage Best No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance
- Best for Most Policy Types Best Children’s Life Insurance Companies of 2023
- Best for No Medical Exam Most Affordable Life Insurance Companies of 2023
- Best for No-Medical-Exam Best Universal Life Insurance Companies of 2023
- Best for Dividends Best Whole Life Insurance Companies of March 2023
- Best for No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance Best Life Insurance Companies for People Over 50
- Pros and Cons
- Company Overview
Well-priced term policies
Generous term conversion options
High coverage no-medical-exam life insurance
Strong dividend-paying history
Very few customer complaints
Limited website information
Online applications not available
Online quotes not available on the website
The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company (Penn Mutual) was incorporated in February 1847 and is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a mutual company, it's fully owned by policyholders, not stockholders. As owners, policyholders are eligible to receive annual dividends. In fact, Penn Mutual has consistently paid dividends to eligible policyholders for almost 175 years.
With annual premiums in excess of $2.5 billion, Penn Mutual ranks among the 25 largest life insurance companies in the U.S. by premium. Penn Mutual’s plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
- Year Founded 1847
- Kinds of Policies Whole, term, universal, variable universal, indexed universal
- Payment Options ACH transfer, check, credit card
- Customer Service Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (1-800-523-0650)
- Official Website pennmutual.com
- Well-priced term policies: Penn Mutual has the fourth-cheapest term policies of the 32 companies for which we collected rates. We gathered quotes across a range of ages for healthy males and females for 30-year $250,000 policies. Penn Mutual did well across all age groups.
- Generous term conversion options: Penn Mutual lets you convert its Guaranteed Convertible Term policy to any of its whole life products. This is a nice feature compared to some companies that don’t make their entire portfolios available for term conversion. You can also convert the death benefit to permanent coverage during the term period selected, up to 20 years, or until you turn 70, whichever happens first. Other companies may require you to convert within the first 10 years of the policy.
- Strong dividend-paying history: The company has the longest dividend-paying history of the 91 life insurance companies we reviewed. It’s paid them for the past 174 years. New York Life comes in a close second with 168 straight years of life insurance dividend payments.
- High coverage no-medical-exam life insurance available: A number of Penn Mutual policies can be opened without a medical exam for coverage up to $7.5 million, and coverage may be approved the same day. This is the highest amount we encountered for no-medical-exam life insurance in our research, and Penn Mutual claims it’s the highest amount out there.
- Very few customer complaints: Only 10 customer complaints were filed against Penn Mutual for life insurance in 2021, and only seven in 2020. As one of the country’s largest insurance companies, this is impressive.
- Limited website information: Coverage summaries on Penn Mutual’s website are overly general. Customers will have to explore the site carefully or call a company representative to get more detailed descriptions of the various policy offerings.
- Online applications not available: Some companies let you apply for term policies or guaranteed issue policies online without the help of an agent. But customers must reach out to a representative to open a new plan with Penn Mutual.
- Online quotes not available on the website: Many other insurers’ websites provide quick life insurance quotes for term coverage, but Penn Mutual’s does not. You'll have to contact an agent for pricing information on any policy.
Penn Mutual is in the top 15% of all companies we reviewed in terms of low numbers of complaints. This is based on data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
The NAIC releases an annual complaint index for U.S.-based insurance companies. This index is a means by which to compare companies in terms of the number of complaints filed by policyholders and the company’s size.
A company that receives an expected number of complaints for its size will have a complaint index of 1.0. A number less than 1 means the company received fewer complaints than expected, while a number greater than 1 means it received more. An index of 2, for example, would indicate twice the expected number of complaints.
Penn Mutual’s complaint index averaged 0.126 over three years, so the company received far fewer complaints than expected.
AM Best publishes a yearly list rating U.S. insurance companies on their financial strength. Penn Mutual has an A+ rating, the second-highest of AM Best’s rating categories. An A+ indicates that the company has a superior ability to honor its ongoing insurance obligations, such as paying claims.
It's crucial when you're shopping for life insurance to choose a strong company that has the features you want. It’s also helpful to see how the company stacks up against its competitors.
|Penn Mutual||Guardian Life Insurance||Mutual of Omaha|
|Types of Coverage||Whole, term, universal, indexed universal, variable universal||Whole, term, universal, variable universal||Term, universal, indexed universal, variable universal, final expense|
|Dividends for 2022||$123 million||$1.13 billion||Not applicable|
|Online Application||No||No||Yes, for guaranteed issue whole life|
|AM Best Rating||A+||A++||A+|
|Price for Term Policies||Very good||Average||Average|
|NAIC Complaint Index (averaged over 3 years)||0.126||0.110||1.067|
Our ratings take NAIC complaint index scores and AM Best ratings into account. The NAIC complaint index indicates how many complaints a company receives relative to its size. AM Best assesses a company's ability to pay its claims on a graded scale, with A++ being the highest. All our best life insurance companies have at least an A rating.
Penn Mutual offers a wide range of insurance policies and most of its life insurance products are eligible for no-med-exam underwriting for up to $7.5 million in coverage.
Term life insurance pays a benefit to designated beneficiaries if you die within a specified period of time, such as 15 or 30 years. It offers coverage at a fixed premium rate but it doesn't earn cash value. It expires at the end of the designated term. Penn Mutual offers the following term policies:
- Guaranteed Convertible Term: These policies offer short-term protection in 10-, 15-, 20-, and 30-year terms with an option to convert to permanent coverage before the age of 70, or during the first 20 years of a 30-year term.
- Protection Non-Convertible Term: This plan offers terms of 10, 15, 20, and 30 years without the option to convert to permanent coverage. These are Penn Mutual’s most affordable term policies.
- One-Year Term: This policy renews annually at a higher rate each year, but you can convert it to any Penn Mutual permanent product up to age 84.
Whole life insurance pays a benefit to beneficiaries when the policyholder dies. It's guaranteed to remain in place for the insured’s entire lifetime if the premiums are paid. The policy builds cash value over time, which the insured can borrow against or withdraw from if necessary. These are Penn Mutual’s whole life offerings:
- Guaranteed Whole Life II: This policy gives death benefit protection up to age 121 with locked-in premiums. Policies can be opened from birth to age 85 inclusive, with the option to pay off the premiums early so you can avoid paying them during retirement. Payment periods are up to every five years until age 100. The policy can be customized with a host of available riders.
- Survivorship Whole Life: This whole life insurance policy covers two people, such as spouses or business partners. It transfers to the surviving insured person after the death of the first. It features a 10-year payment plan, an option to spread out premium payments until age 100 of the surviving insured, and a guaranteed death benefit to age 121 of the surviving insured.
Universal life (UL) insurance is a permanent life insurance policy that has a cash value like whole life. It grows according to an interest rate that’s determined by the insurer, and it often has a contractually guaranteed low-end rate.
UL policies are more flexible than whole life. The policyholder can vary the amount of the death benefit or the premium payment as long as certain other conditions are met. But premiums may have to be increased in the policy’s later years to continue coverage in some cases. Penn Mutual offers the following UL policies:
- Guaranteed Protection UL: This plan offers lifetime death benefits at a competitive price and it has no-lapse guarantees until age 121. It also features the ability to change the payment approach at any time. A chronic illness accelerated death benefit is automatically included at issue.
- Protection UL: A lower-cost option than Guaranteed Protection UL, this policy offers no-lapse coverage until age 100 and favorable premium and coverage guarantees after age 90. Premium and death benefit flexibility, plus the ability to skip a premium payment and catch up if the policy has sufficient cash value, are other components of the plan. A no-cost chronic illness accelerated death benefit rider is included at time of issue.
A no-lapse guarantee and no-lapse rider keep a policy from lapsing regardless of the policy’s net cash value.
Variable Life Insurance
Variable universal life (VUL) insurance is a type of permanent coverage that lets you invest the policy’s cash value in the stock market via subaccounts, which are like mutual funds. It’s considered the riskiest type of life insurance because the cash value can lose money if investments perform poorly. The policy is more likely than other types of permanent coverage to lapse for this reason.
- Diversified Advantage Variable Universal Life (VUL): This policy offers income accumulation potential through variable accounts and it also gives you the option to tie cash value gains to indexed accounts that aren’t directly invested in the market. This is a unique offering in that it combines the features of a VUL policy and an IUL policy.
- Protection VUL: Protection Variable Universal Life offers guaranteed lifetime protection via a no-lapse guarantee rider that's automatically included at no extra cost. Lower-cost investment options are available. The policy doesn't offer indexed accounts like the Diversified Advantage VUL.
Indexed Universal Life Insurance
Indexed universal life (IUL) insurance policies are designed to find a happy medium between the high risk nature of VUL policies and the relative predictability and low-risk nature of UL and whole life policies. A common misconception is that the cash value of these policies is invested in a market index such as the S&P 500. But the cash value isn’t directly invested. Rather, it’s credited gains (but not losses) based on the performance of the index it’s tied to.
Penn Mutual offers two IUL policies:
- Accumulation Builder Flex Indexed Universal Life (IUL) : A universal life policy is said to be indexed universal life insurance when it's pegged to a financial indicator such as a stock, bond, or interest rate. This policy from Penn Mutual is tied to the Standard & Poor's 500 index. It features five indexed account options, including a high-capped and uncapped option, plus a fixed account. Its guaranteed minimum floor is 1%.
- Survivorship Plus Select IUL: This policy provides coverage for two people and benefits to beneficiaries when the last insured person dies. This policy is tied to the S&P 500 or the S&P Global Broad Market index. Five indexed account options are available. The plan features a 1% floor and guaranteed policy enhancement at age 51 or year 11 of the policy, whichever comes later. It includes a standard 20-year no-lapse guarantee and up to 13 riders to enhance value, including an extended no-lapse rider.
A “cap” limits gains in an IUL policy. For example, the most your cash value will be credited is 6% if your cash value is tied to the annual performance of the S&P 500, but the account is capped at 6%, even if the index performs well above that amount.
Riders are provisions in an insurance policy that extend protection or provide additional coverage to a plan. Most riders are elective and require an additional payment on top of the regular premium, but some are offered free of charge depending on the policy type, such as Penn Mutual’s Chronic Illness Accelerated Benefit.
Penn Mutual offers several riders.
Guaranteed Increase Option
Penn Mutual’s guaranteed insurability rider allows the policyholder to increase coverage without taking a medical exam. The rider is available to be exercised at ages 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 37, 40, 43 and 46, or if you get married or have a child, including by legal adoption. You must be age 40 or younger to add this rider.
Children’s Term Insurance Rider
The children's term insurance rider pays a benefit up to $25,000 upon the death of a child of a policyholder. It can be added for children up to age 17 and coverage stays in force until age 23. There's only one charge applied regardless of how many children you have. Each child can convert this term coverage to permanent life insurance on the policy anniversary nearest their 23rd birthday.
Disability Waiver of Premium Rider
Penn Mutual offers more than one waiver of premium rider for disability. Each waives premium charges if you become disabled, provided that a four-month waiting period is met.
Accelerated Death Benefit (Terminal Illness Rider)
Penn Mutual’s terminal illness rider is triggered when policyholders have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have 12 months or less to live. The amount is paid as a lump sum and can't exceed 50% of the face amount of the policy or $250,000, whichever is less. Some Penn Mutual policies offer this rider at no additional cost.
Chronic Illness Accelerated Benefit
Similar to but distinct from the terminal illness benefit, the chronic illness benefit allows policyholders who are diagnosed with long term, chronic illnesses to access part of their death benefit while still living, regardless of their life expectancy. It’s triggered if you can’t perform at least two activities of daily living (ADLs) or suffer a severe cognitive impairment for at least 90 days. Most Penn Mutual permanent policies automatically include this benefit.
An accelerated death benefit, also known as a “living benefit,” is a provision in many life insurance policies that allows the insured to receive part of their death benefit while they're still alive.
Accidental Death Benefit Rider
Not to be confused with an accelerated death benefit, the accidental death benefit rider extends life insurance benefits to include an extra lump sum amount if the death of the insured is the direct result of an accident. The payment is determined by the amount of the policy’s coverage and the rider.
The Penn Mutual website can be accessed any time at pennmutual.com. A client service hotline (800-523-0650) is available Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time. Customers can contact the support team 24 hours a day at email@example.com. Policyholders are able to manage their accounts or file claims online.
Penn Mutual offers some very affordable term policies. It ranked fourth for cheapest term coverage overall and for each age group in our review of quotes from 32 life insurance companies, for males and females in excellent health, across three different age groups. But it's important to note that of Penn Mutual’s two available term policies, its nonconvertible policies are the ones that have the cheapest coverage. Convertible policies may cost more.
Who Is Penn Mutual Best For?
Penn Mutual is a solid choice to consider if you don’t mind getting in touch with an agent for a quote and policy information. Its wide range of products, policy perks, and no-exam options make it suitable for a wide swath of applicants. Most notable are its long history of dividend payments and ultra-high-coverage no-medical-exam life insurance.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are also a lot of reasons to love its term policies, including long-lasting conversion options, the ability to convert to any available permanent product, and the price.
But you may want to check out our list of the best term life insurance companies to find the features you want if you just can’t stomach a company that isn’t willing to provide policy details or a term quote on its consumer-facing website.
Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company is our pick for best whole life insurance company for dividends because it’s paid them for 174 consecutive years. The company offers life insurance policies to suit many people’s financial needs, investment goals, and budgets, so it could be the company for you if you want a multi-million-dollar dividend-paying policy and would prefer to avoid an exam.
Who owns Penn Mutual?
Penn Mutual is owned by its policyholders rather than stockholders. It's technically a mutual company, not an insurance company according to the standard definition of the term. This allows policyholders to receive regular dividends.
What type of insurance is Penn Mutual?
Penn Mutual provides multiple types of life insurance plans and riders. They fall into two categories: permanent life and term life. It also offers annuities.
How do I cash in my Penn Mutual life insurance policy?
You can surrender your policy to Penn Mutual at any time. You'll receive your net cash surrender value: its value minus any surrender fees that might apply. You can also tap into your policy for cash if you're experiencing a financial emergency, which will reduce your death benefit but probably won't eliminate it entirely.
How do I check if a Penn Mutual life insurance policy still exists?
The NAIC provides a life insurance policy locator service. It's accessible online and it's free. The NAIC will intervene and ask Penn Mutual to search its records. Penn Mutual will reach out to you, although you'll most likely have to prove that you're authorized to receive any information about the policy if it still exists.
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.
NAIC. "Penn Mutual Complaint Report."
AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company and Its Subsidiaries."
Securities and Exchange Commission. "Form N-6 Registration Statement."
Insurance Information Institute. "Tips for Finding a Lost Life Insurance Policy."