UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.