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Western & Southern Life Insurance Company is a financially strong life insurer that sells various insurance products to help you prepare for the future. A dividend-paying whole life policy is available, along with term, universal, and indexed universal policies. However, you won’t be able to get an online quote for most products, and you can’t start a claim online.
- Pros and Cons
- Company Overview
Dividend-paying whole life policies available
Decreasing term life insurance policy available
Helpful consumer education available on the website
No online quotes
Can’t start a claim online
Western & Southern Life Insurance Company started selling insurance door to door back in 1888. Since selling its first policy in May of that year, it’s grown tremendously. As of 2021, it’s managed over $100 billion in assets.
In 1913, Western & Southern bought its first of several other companies. More recently, it acquired Gerber Life Insurance Company in 2018.
Cincinnati, Ohio, is the corporate home of Western & Southern. The company sells insurance in Washington, D.C. and in every state except Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York.
Western & Southern 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.
- Dividend-paying whole life policies available: Western & Southern declared their first dividend back in 1914. Though it’s not a guarantee, this company often sends dividend payments to the policyholders of eligible whole life policies. Approximately one quarter of the 91 life insurance companies we researched offered this feature.
- Helpful consumer education available on the website: Buying life insurance can be challenging, especially if you aren’t sure what type of policy is best for you. The Western & Southern website has various educational articles, tables, and videos to help you determine what makes sense for your financial situation. There’s even a calculator available to see how much coverage you should have.
- Superior financial strength rating: The company received an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from credit rating agency AM Best. This is the second-highest rating the agency bestows and indicates a superior ability to pay ongoing insurance obligations, such as claims.
- No online quotes: Comparing quotes is important when shopping around for life insurance. Getting a quote online is often the easiest way to do so. But with Western & Southern’s policies, you have to go through the trouble of talking to an agent for a quote.
- Can’t start a claim online: After losing a loved one, the last thing you may feel like doing is picking up the phone and calling a life insurance company. However, since Western & Southern doesn’t offer a way to start the claim process online, that’s exactly what you’ll need to do.
Over three years, Western & Southern received slightly more complaints than expected based on its size.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) calculates a complaint index to help consumers be better informed about insurance companies. Companies that receive an expected number of complaints based on their size receive an index of 1.00, while insurers with fewer complaints than expected have an index below 1.00. Companies with more complaints than expected have an index greater than 1.00. The higher the score, the more complaints a particular insurance company has based on its size.
We analyzed the information on the NAIC index over three years to give you a longer-term picture of how the company is performing. Western & Southern received a score of 1.84, which is a bit higher than expected. Many of the best life insurance companies we review have a complaint index under 1.00.
Western & Southern and its subsidiaries are in a superior financial position. AM Best analyzes various financial data points from an insurance company to determine its ability to pay policyholder claims and meet its other obligations.
AM Best gave Western & Southern an A+, the second-highest of the 13 ratings the company uses.
Western & Southern sells both term and permanent life insurance products to help you prepare for the future.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance is designed to provide temporary protection for a specific period, usually up to 30 years. Since it typically costs less than other types of coverage, this product can be an affordable way to cover yourself during your primary earning and family-raising years. When the term expires, so does the coverage and death benefit, unless you renew the policy or convert it to permanent coverage before the term expires. There is no cash value component.
Index Universal Life
Index universal life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that offers the potential to grow the cash value based on the performance of a stock market benchmark, like the S&P 500. Since your money isn't actually invested in the index, you won't lose money if the market goes down. However, gains are also capped as well.
Universal life insurance is a type of permanent coverage that offers flexible premiums and a flexible death benefit. You can make changes to the premium and death benefit as your needs change, and the cash value grows tax-deferred. However, changes that reduce the premium can ultimately result in a reduction of the death benefit as well.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance is another type of permanent life insurance. Your premiums are locked in at the same rate for the duration of the policy, and the cash value grows over time. As long as your policy is active, it covers you for your whole life. This means that when you pass away, your beneficiaries receive the death benefit. Western and Southern offers a dividend-paying whole life policy.
Some of Western & Southern’s insurance whole life policies are offered through a subsidiary, Lafayette Life Insurance Company. You’ll want to ask which company is going to hold your policy so you can make sure it's a good fit for you.
While life insurance policies are primarily designed to provide a death benefit, many also offer riders or endorsements you can add to customize the policy to better suit your needs. Some riders are available at no additional cost, while others may require an extra premium.
Guaranteed Insurability Rider
The guaranteed insurability rider allows you to purchase additional life insurance at specified future dates without having to go through another medical exam or answer health questions. If your health has deteriorated since you bought your policy, this is a nice rider to have.
The child rider allows you to add one or more of your dependent children to your life insurance policy. If your minor child passes away, the rider pays a death benefit. Once the child reaches adulthood, they can usually convert the rider to an individual policy if they want to continue coverage.
Waiver of Premium
The waiver of premium rider pays your life insurance premiums if you have a qualifying event, such as becoming totally disabled, usually after an elimination period is met.
Accidental Death Benefit
An accidental death benefit rider pays an additional death benefit if you die due to an accident. This extra money can help your family cover unexpected expenses during this difficult time.
Accelerated Death Benefit Rider
Accelerated death benefits pay out a portion of the death benefit while you're still alive if you're diagnosed with a terminal illness, a chronic condition, or experience a critical illness. Western & Southern has a Life Plus Accelerated Death Benefit rider that covers a variety of illnesses and conditions under a single rider. It’s available on all policies at no additional premium cost.
Western & Southern’s customer service team can answer your questions and help you obtain a quote. You can call 866-832-7719 to reach the customer care department between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET on Fridays. If you prefer not to spend time on hold, you can also schedule a time for the company to call you. There’s also the option to fill out an online form to reach Western & Southern through email.
Our Methodology: How We Review Life Insurance Carriers
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.