Pioneer Life Insurance

Group and individual coverage sold under Washington National Insurance Company

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Washington National Insurance Company

Washington National Insurance Company

Our Take

Available through Washington National Life Insurance Company, Pioneer Life offers whole life, term, and universal life insurance with available group coverage. 

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Well-established partners

  • Group coverage available

  • Strong financial reliability

Cons
  • Limited information online

  • Abysmal customer satisfaction

  • Restricted customer support

Key Takeaways
  • Pioneer Life sells life insurance as Washington National Insurance Company, a provider that was founded in 1911. 
  • Whole life, term, and universal life insurance are available with optional group life coverage. 
  • While customer satisfaction ratings could use some work, Washington National receives strong scores for financial strength.
Company Overview

Pioneer Life Insurance Company is headquartered in Carmel, Texas. After a 2003 merger, Pioneer became a subsidiary of Conseco Life Insurance Company and now sells life insurance under the name Washington National Insurance Company. 

Washington National is a longstanding insurance provider, originally founded in 1911 by brothers George and Harry Kendall. Today, Washington National has over one million policyholders with more than 25,000 employer group policies in force. 

Geographical Restrictions

Pioneer Life policies are available in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Life insurance is not available in New York.

  • Year Founded 1911 (Washington National)
  • Kinds of Plans Whole life, term, universal life
  • Number of Plans 3
  • Payment Plan Options Annual, semi-annual, quarterly, or monthly bank draft
  • Customer Service (800) 525-7662, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. EST
  • Official Website www.washingtonnational.com

Pioneer Life Insurance Company 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

  • Well-established partner: Pioneer Life works with Washington National, a life insurance provider founded in 1911. 
  • Group coverage available: Through Washington National, there is group life insurance coverage available for additional savings. 
  • Strong financial reliability: Washington National receives excellent ratings for financial strength from leading ratings provider, AM Best.

Cons Explained

  • Limited information online: As Washington National, Pioneer Life does not have much information online to inform customers.
  • Abysmal customer satisfaction: Washington National receives extremely poor ratings from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for customer satisfaction. 
  • Restricted customer support: Washington National offers restricted customer service hours, with phone representatives only available Monday through Friday during limited business hours.

Available Plans

As Washington National Insurance Company, Pioneer Life sells three types of life insurance coverage: term, whole life, and universal life insurance policies for individuals and business owners. 

Pioneer Life Insurance Company sells life insurance as Washington National Life Insurance Company.

Term Life

Term life insurance is a type of temporary life insurance coverage that has a specific end date. Most policies last anywhere from 10 to 30 years, although the exact specifics of each plan depend on your specific provider and state of residence. 

Washington National made headlines in early 2021 for a new program designed for members of group term life insurance called Monthly Income Protection. With this in place, policyholders receive their dividends in monthly payments rather than the standard lump sum payment. You can choose a monthly income replacement benefit for beneficiaries lasting two, three, or five years. During retirement, there is also the option of a lump-sum death benefit of $10,000 to $25,000 with no ongoing payments after the monthly income benefit expires. If you leave your job, there is added portability so you can keep your coverage.

Whole Life 

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent coverage designed to last the rest of your life while building cash value over time. Washington National offers coverage for individuals between the ages of 50 and 85 years. Policy benefits begin at $5,000, but the maximum benefit depends on the age at enrollment.  

Washington National Whole Life Policy Maximum
Age of Enrollment Maximum benefit 
Ages 50 to 69 $30,000
Ages 70 to 85  $15,000 

Washington National offers the option of either a level or graded benefit, based on your eligibility. A level benefit matches the value of the policy, less any loans or fees, while a graded benefit has more specific terms. It offers a reduced benefit when the insured dies due to certain causes within the policy’s first two years. After the initial two-year period, beneficiaries receive the face amount plus rider benefits after policy loans and interest. 

Universal Life

Washington National also offers universal life insurance, which is similar to whole life insurance but adds greater flexibility. Policyholders can adjust their coverage levels and change premiums while also earning cash value over time for a tax-free death benefit. 

Policyholders at Washington National also have the option to grow cash value by investing in the S&P 500 index option. The exact products available from Washington National depend on where you live and other eligibility requirements. For the most current details, contact your agent.

Available Riders

Life insurance riders are a type of additional coverage that you can purchase to provide extra coverage for your life insurance policy. These riders often come at an additional cost but offer extra protection to enhance your existing coverage.

Washington National offers two popular types of life insurance riders.

Accelerated Benefit Rider

If the policyholder experiences a terminal illness, the Accelerated Benefit Rider allows early access to the death benefit. 

The Accelerated Benefit Rider may be included with some Washington National policies at no extra cost. 

Accidental Death Benefit Rider

The Accidental Death Benefit Rider pays an additional benefit if the insured party dies from a covered accident or cause. This rider is available at an additional cost and must be purchased at policy purchase.

Additional riders may be available based on the coverage you choose and the state in which you live.

Customer Service

Because Washington National Insurance Company underwrites policies, you should contact them directly for any questions or support.

You can reach Washington National Insurance Company several ways.

Washington National Insurance Company Customer Support
Phone (800) 525-7662
Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. EST
Mailing address  Washington National Insurance 
11825 N. Pennsylvania Street
Carmel, IN 46032
Payment address  Washington National Insurance Company
P.O. Box 1939
Carmel, IN  46082-1939 
Online portal  My.WashingtonNational.com
Online form gallery  https://my.washingtonnational.com/forms

If you have questions about your policy, you can contact your agent directly for further clarification. Customer support can also help you get in touch with your agent.

Consider contacting your agent first because Washington National customer service is poorly rated.

Complaint Index

To judge customer satisfaction, we look at scoring from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Each year, the NAIC compiles customer complaints for life insurance companies and assigns an average score using a baseline 1.0 rating. 

There are no NAIC ratings for Pioneer Life, but that is not surprising, given that its license is no longer active. Instead, we look to Washington National Insurance Company, whose complaint index is extremely high compared to other life insurance companies. Washington National receives a 3.48 rating in 2020. It is even worse than its 2019 and 2018 ratings, which were 2.56 and 1.47, respectively. It shows that Washington National has an increasing trend of poor customer service, with the number of customer complaints nearly doubling each year. 

Third-Party Ratings

Neither Pioneer Life nor Washington National makes an appearance on J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study or 2021 U.S. Insurance Digital Experience Study.

In addition to customer satisfaction, another important factor to consider is a company’s financial strength. When a company receives high ratings from AM Best, it often means that the provider can be relied upon for reliable claims processing and payments.

Washington National receives a score of A- (Excellent), showing strong financial strength and reliability.  

Cancellation Policy

When you purchase a new life insurance policy, there is a free look period that allows you to review your policy in detail after you buy. If you have a change of heart and decide to cancel your policy during this period, there are no penalties, and eligible paid premiums are refunded. If you cancel your policy after that, you may incur additional penalties and fees should you cancel your policy before the end of its term. 

While Pioneer Life does not specify the exact details of its cancellation policy, your agent can help provide further information regarding options and penalties.  

Price

For life insurance coverage, Washington National offers sample pricing based on both male and female nonsmokers.

Washington National Sample Pricing: Whole Life Insurance for Male, Non-tobacco
Ages $5,000 coverage  $10,000 coverage 
55 $17.60 $31.68
60  $22.44  $41.36 
65  $28.16  $52.80 
Washington National Sample Pricing: Whole Life Insurance for Female, Non-tobacco
Ages $5,000 coverage  $10,000 coverage 
55 $15.40 $27.28
60  $19.14  $34.76 
65  $23.10 $42.68 

While this helps to get you a general idea of what to expect, it is important to note that this pricing is for demonstrative purposes only based on a sample profile. 

The cost of your life insurance policy is based on a series of individual factors that insurance providers use to calculate risk. As seen above, gender is one major factor that can influence pricing, although insurance providers tend to use the sex at birth in lieu of current gender identity. Other factors that can impact the cost of your life insurance include your age, medical history, and where you live. Certain states may limit availability or affect the pricing of certain products. 

Based on your qualifications, you may be eligible for simplified underwriting, which skips the required medical exam and uses a simple health questionnaire instead.

Competition

To best understand how Pioneer Life performs in the industry, we compare it to one of the best life insurance companies, New York Life. 

Washington National is significantly smaller in size and holds a smaller market share than New York Life, one of the biggest insurance companies in the country. Its dividends are much smaller than New York Life, as well. As Washington National, Pioneer Life trails in financial strength and is not even rated in J.D. Power customer satisfaction rankings. Its NAIC ratings are extremely poor and troublesome, especially given New York Life’s excellent ratings.

Even as Washington National, we found that Pioneer cannot compete with New York Life, the third-largest insurance provider in today’s market. 

  Pioneer Life Insurance (as Washington National Life Insurance) New York Life 
Market Share 0.045%  Third-largest in U.S., 5.7%
Number of Plans  10 
Dividends for 2020  $766.7 million  $1.9 billion 
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives  Yes  Not applicable 
Service Method  Agents  Agents 
AM Best Rating A- (Excellent)  A++ (Superior) 
Price Rank  Varies  Better than most 
Complaints Trend  3.48 Very poor  0.15 Excellent 
Final Verdict

Pioneer Life Insurance Company does not sell life insurance under the Pioneer name, instead selling life insurance policies under Washington National Life Insurance Company. Several types of coverage are available, including group life coverage with flexible monthly payments.

Our Methodology: How We Review Life Insurance Carriers

Investopedia uses our exclusive Life Insurance Review Methodology to evaluate today’s leading insurance providers. We use a series of critical factors to perform an in-depth analysis, focusing on a company’s strengths and weaknesses. Important factors of consideration are the types of coverage available, additional riders, price, underwriting, customer satisfaction, and financial strength. Based on these factors and more, we present the most current and in-depth insurance product reviews so you can make the best financial decisions for yourself and your family.

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  4. J.D. Power. “2021 U.S. Insurance Digital Experience Study.” Accessed September 16, 2021. 

  5. J.D. Power. “2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study.” Accessed September 16, 2021. 

  6. AM Best. “Washington National Insurance Company.” Accessed September 16, 2021. 

  7. Agent Pipeline. “Providence.” Accessed September 16, 2021.