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About American General
American General was founded in Houston, Texas as part of American Common Insurance Provider in 1926. The company was one of the earliest multi-line insurers in the country. A series of acquisitions over the years expanded operations, and American General went public in 1968, having reached $1 billion in assets.
After many changes, American General focused in on the life insurance market, dropping many other lines of business along the way. In 2001 they were acquired by AIG Direct, becoming part of one of the largest insurance companies in the world.
Under the AIG banner, American General writes term life insurance directly. The company’s headquarters is in Amarillo, Texas.
American General Term Life Products
The American General website offers limited information on their term life insurance policies. Most of what is listed is very general.
Term life policies are offered with a variety of term lengths and benefit amounts. The site does not state what any of these are, or whether or not they offer policies without a medical exam.
Visitors to the site are directed to request a quote or call a quote hotline. This approach pushes insurance shoppers into a sales environment rather than simply gathering information.
American General Rates
As noted, one is unable to obtain a quote short of filling out the request form or calling the “quote hotline”. As a direct sales company, American General blends information gathering with quoting, a tactic that may cause people to feel pushed into purchasing a policy since they are already on the phone.
This company writes term policies only, which are marketed as an affordable option for life insurance. As a large company with a very clear niche, they may be competitive with other large insurers.
The American General website has does not provide claims information. There is a customer login area for policy management, and it is possible claims information is found within this section.
Unfortunately for the beneficiaries of life insurance policies, it may be difficult to log in to an account owned by the deceased, making this less than useful for the claims process.
It seems likely that claims are handled through AIG since much of the information on the website points to the parent company.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
American General has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). There have been 20 complaints against the company in the past three years, six of which have been closed in the past 12 months. The BBB states the company’s failure to respond to one complaint is the reason the rating dropped to an A-.
American General has 172 reviews on Consumer Affairs, most of which are negative. Of the 34 star ratings left, 31 are one-star, and only one is five-star. Many of the complaints focus on problems with claims and with contacting the company. Most of them refer to AIG, indicating that it is, in fact, the parent company handling the claims process.
Overall, the complaint volume is not high for such a large company. That said, there does tend to be some confusion when a smaller company is part of a huge corporation like AIG. It is very likely that other complaints about this company are mixed in with general AIG complaints.
The Bottom Line
With so little information offered and the reliance on the AIG name and branding, any sense of American General as a company is hard to come by. They may well offer affordable term life policies and are certainly backed by a huge company, but it is difficult to recommend them specifically among AIG companies due to the lack of details.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.