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About Equitable Life & Casualty
Equitable was formed in 1935 out of a group of benevolent societies that had been created a few years before to assist the families of poor miners financially after the death of a society member. Founded by a local doctor, the original name of the company upon its launch was Equitable Mutual Aid Protective Society, and members paid into the society so that the funds could be distributed when needed.
In the 1960s, Equitable was among the first to offer Medicare Supplement coverage in response to the gaps in the newly created Medicare system. From that point on, the company focused on the needs of seniors, and over the decades added new products to assist with things like home care and nursing homes.
Equitable moved into third-party administration in 2009, and now administers policies for several other companies. They are licensed in 45 states, but their headquarters remain in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Equitable’s main products are Medicare Supplement and life insurance, although they also offer a few other supplemental policies. We have reviewed the company’s Medicare Supplement products separately, so this review will focus on their other offerings.
Equitable’s Heritage Protector Plans are offered in two forms, Level and Graded.
The Level plan provides the full death benefit from the first day of issue, while the Graded plan offers increasing benefits. Under the latter, if the insured dies in the first 12 months of issue, all premiums plus 5% are paid to the beneficiary. In the second 12 months, the payout is all premiums plus 10%, and in the third year, 75% of the death benefit will be paid. After 36 months, the plan becomes level and the full death benefit is paid.
Heritage Protector plans are offered with an issue age of 50 through 85, with death benefits ranging from $2,000 to $35,000. These plans are intended to provide coverage for final expenses. While the website does not specifically state whether or not they require a medical exam, this type of policy usually does not. The lower death benefit indicates a simplified issue program.
Equitable’s CancerCare plan provides coverage specifically for a cancer diagnosis. The plan covers a variety of expenses that are not paid by the main health insurance plan.
Plan benefits include an initial diagnosis payout of $1,000 to be used in any way the insured wants, coverage for overnight hospital stays, and coverage for a wide variety of inpatient and outpatient treatment. Also covered are things like transportation, including ambulance rides, to and from the hospital, and inpatient hospice for terminally ill patients.
EquiCash is a hospital indemnity plan that provides coverage for out-of-pocket costs associated with inpatient hospital stays. The plan pays what your health insurance does not.
EquiCash is offered at three plan levels: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Each level offers increasing amounts of coverage. All levels have a daily hospital indemnity benefit, coverage for durable medical equipment and ambulance charges, emergency room and physician benefits. An optional lump sum cancer rider can be added at any level.
Short-Stay Nursing Home
EquiCare is the company’s short-stay nursing home policy, and it can be tailored to a variety of levels.
Daily cash benefits start at $50 and go up to $300 with benefit periods ranging from 100 to 350 days. This plan is designed to pay for the cost of a nursing home stay of less than one year, and not for long-term care.
Equitable does not offer online quoting or any rate information. There is a form that can be filled out to have a representative contact you for further information and quotes. This type of form is common for a company like Equitable but often leads to unwanted, ongoing solicitation attempts, which many people prefer to avoid.
It would be helpful to see online quoting available at least for the company’s life insurance products.
Equitable offers several ways to start a claim. There is an email form that can be filled out and submitted to start the process, although this is not true online claims reporting as it simply leads to a representative contacting the insured to handle the claim.
There is also a toll-free number, although it is only open during business hours of 7:00 am to 5:30 pm. This is common for a company where claims are not often filed on an emergency basis, such as with home insurance or auto insurance.
Finally, claims forms can be found on the website and either mailed or faxed to the company.
Overall, they do make it easy to find claims information and to contact the company. There is no information, however, on the claims process or what to expect.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Equitable has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and there are only three customer complaints on file in the past three years. Two of those were closed in the past 12 months. For a nationwide company of this size, this is quite a low number of complaints.
Equitable has been rated three times on Google Reviews, but only one customer wrote a full review, in which the company was praised for excellent service. The overall rating is 4.3 stars but again is based only on three ratings.
We were unable to find any reviews of this company on the usual consumer websites, which is usually a good sign, particularly with a low complaint volume at the BBB and the presence of a few positive reviews.
The Bottom Line
Equitable caters to seniors and has been focused on that market for a long time, so their products and expertise are likely to appeal to many. Although there are no red flags, it is difficult to compare this company to others without rate information. They are worth getting a quote from for those who are willing to go through the process of direct contact rather than obtaining their quotes online.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.