Security Life Insurance Review

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Ameritas

Ameritas

Our Take

Security American Financial Enterprises, the parent company of Security Life, was acquired by Ameritas in 2016. Through Ameritas, people can buy term, whole, universal, variable universal, or indexed universal life policies. Ameritas has high coverage amounts and multiple riders available, making it a good choice for people who want to customize their plans and give their families substantial protection. 

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Potential to earn dividends

  • Multiple coverage options

  • Optional riders available

Cons
  • Online quotes not available for most plans

  • All policies are sold through insurance agents or financial professionals

  • No simplified issue options

Key Takeaways
  • Ameritas acquired security American Financial Enterprises and Security Life in 2016.
  • Through Ameritas, consumers can buy term, whole, universal, indexed universal, and variable universal life insurance.
  • The company also sells dental and vision insurance, disability coverage, and retirement annuities.
  • Ameritas is licensed to sell life insurance in all 50 states.
Company Overview

Security Life of Minnetonka, Minnesota, was part of Security American Financial Enterprises. In 2016, Ameritas announced that it had acquired Security American Financial Enterprises. As part of the acquisition, Ameritas took over the plans of 380,000 Security American Financial Enterprises’ members. 

Today, Ameritas sells a wide range of life insurance products and retirement annuities, dental insurance, and vision plans. It also sells group life insurance policies for employers. 

Based in Lincoln, Nebraska, Ameritas is licensed to sell its policies in all 50 states. As of 2020, it has over $105 billion of life insurance policies in force.

  • Year Founded 1887
  • Kinds of Plans Term, whole, universal, indexed universal, variable universal
  • Number of Plans 9
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually
  • Customer Service Online, financial professional
  • Phone 800-745-1112
  • Official Website www.ameritas.com

Ameritas 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

  • Potential to earn dividends: Depending on the policy you choose, you may be eligible for annual dividends. You can use dividends to increase your policy’s cash value, increase your policy’s death benefit, or reduce the number of premiums you owe. 
  • Multiple coverage options: While some life insurance companies offer just one or two coverage options, Ameritas’ offerings are much more robust. The company sells term, whole, universal, indexed universal, and variable universal plans. 
  • Optional riders available: Ameritas has several riders you can use to purchase additional coverage or access your death benefits early with accelerated death benefits, children’s term insurance, and accidental death benefits. 

Cons Explained

  • Online quotes not available for most plans: With most insurance companies, you can get a rate quote for most of their plans. With Ameritas, you can only get online quotes for term life coverage. For all of the company’s other insurance options, you have to work with an agent or financial professional. 
  • All policies are sold through insurance agents or financial professionals: Ameritas’ policies are sold exclusively through insurance agents or financial professionals; you cannot buy a policy on your own online. Insurance agents and financial professionals that sell insurance are paid on commission by Ameritas, so they have a financial incentive to sell certain products to you. 
  • No simplified issue options: With some companies, you can purchase life insurance without undergoing a medical exam with simplified issue policies. However, Ameritas doesn’t have that option; all of its policies are fully underwritten and require medical exams and bloodwork. 

Prior to its acquisition by Ameritas, Security Life had approximately 100 employees and specialized in the ancillary benefits market. It sold dental and vision benefits to both consumers and employee groups.

Available Plans

While Security Life now operates under the Ameritas brand, consumers can still buy a range of life insurance options. Ameritas offers term, whole, universal, indexed, universal, and variable universal policies. All of its policies are fully underwritten and only available through insurance agents or financial professionals. 

There are nine Ameritas life insurance plans to choose from: 

Term

Popular because of its affordability, term life insurance is temporary. It gives you temporary protection, meaning it only pays out a death benefit if you pass away during the policy term. 

Ameritas’ term policy is Value Plus Term. You can choose a term of one, 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. You can opt to renew your policy at the end of your term—regardless of your health—but you will have increasing premiums. 

During the first five years of your policy, you can decide to convert your plan to permanent life insurance. In most cases, a second medical exam isn’t required. 

Whole

As a form of permanent coverage, whole life policies are usually more expensive than term life coverage. However, you get lifelong protection, and your policy can accumulate cash value. Over time, you can decide to borrow against the cash value or take out loans to pay for major expenses or to supplement your retirement income. Ameritas has three whole life plans: 

  • Access Whole Life: This option gives you guaranteed cash value growth and includes accelerated death benefits. 
  • Growth Whole Life: As you pay your premiums on the Growth Whole Life plan, your cash value will grow on a guaranteed basis. Growth Whole Life plans are participating policies, and policyholders are eligible to receive dividends. 
  • Value Plus Whole Life: Value Plus policyholders typically receive dividends, and this option also includes the accelerated death benefit rider at no additional charge. 

Universal Life

Like whole life insurance, universal life coverage gives you permanent protection. However, universal life policies work differently than whole life plans. You can decide to adjust your premiums or death benefit if your finances or needs change. If money is tight, you can opt to reduce your premiums. Or, if you want to increase your cash value, you can decide to pay more. 

Ameritas’ universal life plan is Ameritas Value Plus UL. It includes the Care4Life rider at no additional charge, which allows you to utilize a portion of your death benefit while you’re living if you are diagnosed with a critical, chronic, or terminal illness. 

Indexed Universal Life

Indexed universal life policies combine death benefits with an investment component. The policy’s cash value is linked to the performance of a stock market index like the S&P 500. There are three index universal life plans from Ameritas: 

  • Growth Index UL: Your investments can be linked to the performance of the S&P 500, Russell 2000, MSCI EAFE, or BNP Paribas Indices. You can also decide to invest your money in a fixed account with a guaranteed interest rate of at least 2%. 
  • Value Plus Index UL: This plan has many features as the Growth Index UL plan, but it also has an index floor rate to protect your investment. Your policy’s account value won’t decrease due to an index’s negative performance. However, you should remember that your policy’s value can go down due to other policy expenses. 
  • Value Plus Survivor Index UL: The Value Plus Survivor Index UL is a two-person policy that only pays a death benefit after both covered persons die. 

Variable Universal Life

Variable universal life policies have a death benefit, but you can also invest a portion of your premiums to potentially grow your cash value. Ameritas has two variable universal life plans: 

  • Performance II: With the Performance II plan, you can invest your money in a choice of investment options made up of portfolios managed by leaders in the mutual fund industry. 
  • Advisor II: The Advisor II allows you to invest in funds managed by leading investment firms. The plan is designed for moderate to aggressive investors. 

Available Riders

When you purchase a life insurance policy, you can usually add insurance endorsements, also known as riders, to your plan to customize your policy to your needs. Since its acquisition of Security Life, Ameritas offers the following riders: 

Accidental Death Benefit

If you add this rider to your policy and die in a covered accident, Ameritas will pay your beneficiaries a larger death benefit. 

Care4Life

The Care4Life rider is a suite of accelerated death benefit riders, also known as living benefits. Depending on your circumstances, you can use some of your death benefit while you’re living. 

  • Critical Illness: If you have a stroke, heart attack, major burns, or other critical conditions, you can use up to 25% of your policy’s death benefit, up to a maximum of $250,000. 
  • Chronic Illness: If you have a chronic illness and are unable to perform two or more basic living tasks—such as dressing, toileting, eating, or bathing—you can use up to 50% of your benefit while you’re living, up to a maximum of $1 million. 
  • Terminal Illness: For those who are diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a life expectancy of 12 months or less, the terminal illness rider allows the policyholder to use up to 75% of their policy’s death benefit, up to a maximum of $1 million. 

Children’s Insurance

With the children’s insurance rider, you can get up to $25,000 of coverage for each of your dependent children. Once your children are adults, they can convert it to permanent insurance. 

Guaranteed Insurability

With the guaranteed insurability rider, you can increase your death benefit at certain times without providing evidence of insurability. 

Customer Service

Security Life no longer functions as an independent company. Since its acquisition in 2016, all policies have been managed and issued through Ameritas. 

To contact customer support, you can call 800-745-1112. Or, you can send a secure message through Ameritas’ website. Ameritas doesn’t list its operating hours, but it does state that customer service representatives are available Mondays through Fridays. 

All of Ameritas’ policies are sold through insurance agents or financial professionals. You can use the company’s locator tool to find an agent or financial professional in your area. 

Complaint Index

When shopping for life insurance, it’s a good idea to pay attention to companies’ complaint ratios. Released by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the complaint ratios reflect the number of complaints consumers submitted about a company relative to its market share. 

The industry standard complaint index is 1.0. A company with a complaint ratio below that number had fewer reported issues than expected. A number above 1.0 signifies that more complaints were submitted than is typical for a company of its size. 

In 2020, Ameritas’ overall complaint ratio was 0.51, which is better than the industry standard. For its individual life insurance segment, the company’s complaint ratio was 0.67, which is still better than the national complaint index. 

Third-Party Ratings

Since Security Life’s acquisition, its policies and services have been under the Ameritas brand. In general, Ameritas has an excellent reputation.  

In 2021, AM Best, the credit rating agency that evaluates insurance companies, issued Ameritas an “A” (Excellent) Financial Strength Rating (FSR). 

AM Best’s ratings reflect insurers’ financial stability and outlook. A high rating indicates that AM Best believes the insurer has a strong operating performance and can afford to pay out its contractual and policy obligations. 

Ameritas was not included in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, which ranked 23 top life insurance companies. 

Cancellation Policy

As with all insurance companies, you have a free-look period when buying life insurance from Ameritas. You get 10 days (longer in some states) to change your mind and cancel the policy and get a full refund. Once that timeframe ends, there may be additional charges for canceling your contract, but the terms of the cancellation are dependent on the type of plan you have. 

Talk to your insurance agent or financial professional to make sure you understand the terms of your policy and how to cancel your plan. 

Price

Ameritas only offers online quotes for term life policies. For all other coverage options, you have to contact an agent or financial professional for a quote. 

To get an idea of Ameritas’ pricing, we got quotes for two 30-year-old individuals for $1 million of term life coverage. Both individuals are non-smokers and are in excellent health. 

  30-Year-Old Male 30-Year-Old Female 
10-Year Term $25.13 per month $19.92 per month
20-Year Term  $34.68 per month  $27.73 per month 
30-Year Term  $56.38 per month  $42.49 per month 

Like other life insurance companies, Ameritas requires you to choose either male or female when getting a quote or submitting a life insurance application; there isn’t an option if you identify as nonbinary. While being nonbinary doesn’t disqualify you from getting life insurance, you should be aware that most insurance companies haven’t updated their underwriting processes to reflect an awareness of gender issues. 

Competition

Ameritas offers a wide range of insurance products and riders, but its policies require medical exams and are fully underwritten. That’s a significant drawback for those who want to buy coverage quickly or have existing health issues. 

With that in mind, we compared Ameritas to Haven Life, an insurer that sells simplified issue policies. 

Haven Life is owned by MassMutual, a major insurance company. Through Haven Life, you can get up to $500,000 in term life coverage without a medical exam, and you can even apply online. If eligible, you can purchase life insurance within minutes, a major advantage over Ameritas. 

  Ameritas Haven Life by MassMutual 
Market Share Not applicable MassMutual is the third-largest in the U.S., 5.9%
Number of Plans  9
Dividends for 2020  Not available  Not applicable 
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives  Not applicable  Not applicable 
Service Method  Agents, financial professionals  Online, phone 
AM Best Rating  A (Excellent)  A++ (Superior) 
Complaints Trend  0.67  0.07
Final Verdict

While Security Life was a well-known insurer, it was acquired by Ameritas in 2016. Today, Ameritas sells a wide range of life insurance plans with high coverage amounts and several optional riders. It can be a good fit for those who want to buy substantial protection and are willing to get a medical exam. For those who want to complete the entire application process online and skip medical examinations, they’ll have to work with another insurer. 

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 third-party organizations rate the company 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. Businesswire. "Ameritas Life to Acquire Security Life Insurance Company of America." Accessed September 28, 2021. 

  2. NAIC. "Ameritas Life Ins Corp National Complaint Index Report." Accessed September 28, 2021.