UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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Ameritas was founded as Old Line Bankers Life Insurance Company of Nebraska I 1887. Initially a Midwest company, the company grew over time to cover the entire nation. The company formed a series of subsidiaries in the 1980s and 1990s to provide coverage in various new markets.
In 1988, a new name was adopted: Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. Ten years later, Ameritas Mutual Insurance Holding Company was created, and in 1999 it merged with Acacia Mutual Holding Corporation. Another merger in 2006 created UNIFI Mutual Holding Company, a name that lasted until 2012 when things came full circle and the name went back to Ameritas Mutual.
Ameritas writes life, supplemental insurance products, and retirement investments for individuals, businesses, and institutions. Products are sold through agents and financial professionals across the coverage area.
Ameritas products are focused on supplemental health insurance as well as life and annuities.
Ameritas writes a range of life insurance products including term life insurance, whole life insurance, and universal life insurance. They do not specifically state whether any of their policies have a simplified issue option that will not require a medical exam; this does not appear to be their product focus.
Ameritas’ Keystone Term Life is designed to provide affordable coverage for a specific period of time. Terms range from one year up to 30 years. Terms can be renewed up to age 100, allowing the policy to be continued as needed.
Add-ons to term life policies include an Accidental Death Benefit, Waiver of Monthly Premiums, and a Children’s Insurance Rider. The site does not provide a minimum or maximum benefit amount, however, based on the quotes we performed listed later in this review, there is a good range of choices.
Ameritas offers two whole life policies – Keystone Whole and Keystone Foundation Whole. Both products offer a cash accumulation account that is guaranteed to grow, as well as annual dividends. The information on the site does not clearly explain what the difference is between these two policies.
There are a number of riders that can be added to the policy, including an accelerated death benefit, an accidental death benefit, and the flexible paid-up rider that allows faster growth of the cash accumulation account.
Ameritas offers three types of universal life insurance policy: universal, index universal and variable universal.
There are three standard universal life policies available. Excel Essential has a 15-year guarantee with payment of a minimum premium, and will then stay in force as long as the cash accumulation account contains at least $1. The Excel LifeValue is also a flexible universal life policy without the 15-year guarantee.
The third Universal policy is the Excel LifeValue Survivor policy. This plan covers two people and pays out on the death of the second while providing all of the features of a universal life insurance policy. This type of plan is frequently chosen by couples to keep costs down.
The Index Universal life product is available in two forms Excel Index and Excel Index Plus. This plan offers the benefits and features of a universal life insurance policy with an accumulation account that is attached to an equity index for growth.
The Excel Performance Variable Universal Life policy is a universal plan that allows a flexible choice of investment options for the accumulation account. The insured can choose to direct a portion of their premium payments to their selected investments.
Dental and Vision Plans
Ameritas main supplemental products for individuals are My Dental Plan and 20/20 Plus, both of which provide coverage for dental, vision, and hearing costs.
My Dental Plan for dental coverage has a selection of options; most plans cover preventative services at 100% and a range of coverage for other services. In-network providers cost less, but there is coverage available for out-of-network as well.
20/20 Plus offers vision screening coverage as well as coverage for prescription eyewear and contacts. This plan also includes hearing care benefits either in-network with EPIC or at another provider with out-of-network benefits.
Plan availability and included coverage vary from state to state, so it is best to research the benefits listed specifically for your state.
Other Individual Products
Ameritas offers several other products for supplemental care and retirement planning.
Disability insurance is available to provide financial protection in the event of a disability that renders you unable to work.
Annuities and other retirement products can be selected to help save money for retirement as well as prepare for other future financial needs. Ameritas financial professionals assist customers with choosing the right retirement planning products for their needs.
Group and Institutional Products
Ameritas writes group insurance plans for businesses and for public or nonprofit institutions such as schools and utilities.
These include group life insurance, group disability insurance, and retirement plans offered through employers or institutions to employees. They also write bonds and provide wealth management assistance.
We quoted a term life insurance policy for a 30-year-old male in California using Ameritas’ quick quote system. The rates returned range based on underwriting class. A ten-year term policy for a non-tobacco user at the best possible rate (generally meaning no health concerns or risks) is $107 per year or $9.22 per month.
A $1,000,000 policy with the same parameters came back at $26.68 per month. Both of these rates are very reasonable, although the cost can rise significantly for those with health concerns or other higher risks.
Rates for other products vary greatly based on location and coverage needed, but quotes can be obtained online. The easy to use quote system returns a chart that allows you to compare rates for the various levels.
We were unable to find a dedicated claims section on the company website, although there is a customer login portal through which that information might be available.
General contact information is provided for each type of policy for inquiries. Particularly when it comes to life insurance, it would be good to see claims information provided readily for beneficiaries who may not have access to a customer login.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Ameritas has a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of A+ and there has been a total of five customer complaints filed in the past three years. Only one of those was closed in the past 12 months.
There are only two reviews found on Yelp, both of which are negative. Both reviews state that the company refused to pay out on valid claims. This type of complaint is difficult to measure in terms of severity without both sides of the story – unless there are a large number of denied claims complaints, it is not usually a major red flag.
We found little else in the way of reviews, and for such a large company the complaint volume is very low. Overall, they appear to have a good reputation.
The Bottom Line
Ameritas offers good value based on our sample quotes and a good selection of life and supplemental products. They appear to have a solid reputation and have been in business for a very long time. This company appears to be a good choice for either individual or group insurance needs.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.