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Modern Woodmen of America Review

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UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018

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Modern Woodmen of America is a large fraternal financial organization offering life insurance and other financial products. They are member owned and operated and have been around for more than 125 years.

About Modern Woodmen of America

Modern Woodmen, taking its name in honor of the pioneer woodmen whose efforts cleared the way to build homes and towns, was founded in Lyons, Iowa in 1883. A fraternal organization, it is funded, owned, and operated by members to provide financial assistance for each other in times of need. By 1897, the organization had moved to Rock Island, Illinois, where it maintains headquarters to this day.

Modern Woodmen provides life insurance, investments, and other financial products and services on a membership basis. Members have access to a wide variety of benefits, including scholarships, hardship assistance, discounts, and other services. There are no specific requirements for becoming a member.

The Modern Woodmen website boasts 750,000 members and states they are the third largest fraternal organization in the country by assets. In addition to insurance and investments, Modern Woodmen also runs a bank.

Modern Woodmen of America is not affiliated with similarly named WoodmenLife (Woodmen of the World), which is also a fraternal financial organization operating completely separately.

Modern Woodmen Products

Modern Woodmen offers life insurance, annuities, and investments directly. They partner with other companies to offer their members other supplemental products but do not underwrite these products directly.

Life Insurance

Whole life insurance, universal life insurance, and term life insurance policies are all available from Modern Woodmen.

MaxLife whole life insurance is the company’s traditional whole life policy. It offers a guaranteed death benefit with locked in premiums for life. This plan has multiple riders available to choose from as well as multiple payment term options.

Max CL universal life is a standard universal policy, featuring flexible premiums and cash accumulation.

Max CL Pro is designed to provide flexibility along with a guaranteed death benefit even if interest rates change, as long as enough premiums have been paid.

Both universal life insurance plans offer a selection of riders to customize the policy.

Maximizer term life is a level premium term policy. Term lengths can be 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. This plan includes riders such as return of premium and can be converted at the end of the term. It can also be added to a whole life policy for increased coverage.

Step One is offered as an affordable “starter” policy for young people. It can be paid in one premium or in level premium amounts through the insured’s 30th birthday. Coverage can be increased or converted.

Junior Max is Modern Woodmen’s juvenile term life insurance product. Junior Max is designed to provide children with coverage through 18 years old and can be converted at the end of the term.

Annuities

Modern Woodmen offers three types of annuities to provide retirement income, with different payment and payout approaches.

MaxProvider is a flexible premium deferred annuity offering low-risk lifetime income. It has a guaranteed return of principal as well as guaranteed interest rates for the duration and allows tax-deferred savings that can be paid out in multiple different ways.

Modern Woodmen also has a variable annuity that carries greater market risk in return for higher potential return on investment. The company also offer a single premium immediate annuity that provides quick turnaround for income.

Investments

Modern Woodmen provides financial planning assistance as well as investment choices including mutual funds, brokerage accounts, 529 college savings plans, Coverdell education savings, and 401(k) accounts.

Rates

Online quoting is not an option on the Modern Woodmen page, which is fairly common for a fraternal organization. As a membership group, the personal approach is important to this sort of company, so representatives offer quotes as part of the process of becoming a member.

When comparing quotes from a fraternal financial organization, it is important to consider the added value of membership benefits. Premiums that are a bit higher may be worthwhile if you enjoy the benefits of membership, but may not be worth it to those who simply want to buy insurance without considering membership.

Claims

Modern Woodmen has an online life insurance claim form, which is somewhat unusual not only for a fraternal organization but for life insurance companies in general. Claims can also be submitted by phone during business hours, which are listed as Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

After submission, the organization will provide the beneficiary with claims forms and a list of required documentation in order to complete the process. While basic, the website does offer claims process information and makes it easy to begin the process.

Ratings and Consumer Reviews

Modern Woodmen of America has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). There have been seven complaints in the past three years, none of which have been closed in the past 12 months. Customer reviews on the BBB page resulted in a 4.56 out of 5 star overall rating for the organization.

We were unable to find reviews or complaints concerning this company on the usual consumer websites, which may be related to their status as a fraternal organization. With 750,000 members, however, it is definitely in the company’s favor that there are so few complaints out there.

The Bottom Line

Modern Woodmen of America is likely to appeal to those who like the idea of being part of a community and gaining added benefits from their financial products. Without rate information, we are unable to provide a solid comparison to other life insurance providers, however, those who choose a fraternal society may well find the benefits as important as the rates themselves.

For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.

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Review Information

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Modern Woodmen of America
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About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

5 Comments

  1. You must be living in a different world than I do.

    This company has HORRIBLE reviews and I can personally speak to the service they provide.

    You didn’t look in all the places they have reviews from consumers.

    Here is my review:

    We were with Modern Woodmen for over 8 years. Our premiums were auto-debit and we never missed a payment.

    Problem with these people is they never service your account. I made over 78 calls in 8 years for service, to add coverage, make changes and buy additional products.

    NOT! CALL WAS EVER RETURNED—NEVER. But every month that payment came out.

    I finally got tired of the dis-service and canceled with them, not 24 hours went by and I received 3 phone calls and 4 premium notices in the mail.

    Imagine that!!! When the money stopped all of a sudden I became the priority customer.

    When I received the check for the value of my policy, I could not cash the check and had to make several phone calls to find out why. The reason you ask?

    They like to hold the money from you until you absolutely exhaust every effort to get YOUR MONEY back from them.

    These people are UNCARING and ONLY want your money.

    The level of service concerns me in the fact that IF I had DIED, WHAT KIND OF TROUBLES WOULD MY FAMILY HAVE GETTING THE INSURED VALUE OF MY POLICY FROM THESE DEGENERATES???

    THEY WOULD HAVE TO JUMP THROUGH HOOPS TO GET WHAT I BOUGHT TO PROTECT THEM.

    DO NOT INSURE WITH THESE THIEFS!!!!

    Reply
    • I am doing an annual review of my finances, including my life insurance policy with Modern Woodmen.

      I have been with them for 20 years and never had any issues pro or con.

      But my concern today is the negative reviews and the issues my heirs may encounter upon my death.

      I would ultimately like to hear from others with their comments (pro or con)regarding their experience with life insurance death benefits and if they encountered issues upon filing for death benefits with Modern Woodmen.

      Better to know now than to leave a mess for my heirs.

      Thank you,

      Reply
  2. I am 74 years old and have a Modern Woodmen of America fixed annuity worth $275,000. I have a 0% surrender charge effective 12/1/19 and am wondering if I should consider withdrawing the funds at that time. My main concern is safety of investment.

    Reply
    • Hi Mike,

      It is very difficult if not impossible to give you a good answer to your question without knowing more details. You can contact me [redacted] if you would like to discuss.

      Reply
    • I too am a Modern Woodmen customer and have multiple annuities which like yours, have reached the end of the surrender charge period, as well as a significant life insurance policy.

      I was just comparing Modern Woodmen’s annual report to Northwestern Mutual’s.

      Northwestern Mutual has very high marks from the major rating services.

      Their 2018 surplus was 11% of liabilities.

      While Modern Woodmen is a small fraction of Northwestern Mutual’s size, their 2018 surplus to liabilities was 12.87%.

      I have no concerns about the safety of my investments there.

      Reply

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