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About Colonial Penn
Founded in 1968 by AARP co-founder Leonard Davis, Colonial Penn has always marketed its products towards seniors. The company is primarily a life insurance provider, and writes a range of plans designed for people over 65. As a result they focus mainly on guaranteed acceptance life insurance, which doesn’t require a medical exam for approval.
Colonial Penn has gone through several changes of ownership over the years. It was purchased by FNL Group in 1985, sold to Leucadia in 1991, and finally acquired by Conseco in 1997. For a brief time, the company name was changed to Conseco Direct Life, but went back to Colonial Penn in most states a few years later. Today, Conseco is known as CNO Financial, a large company that also owns Banker’s Life.
As a result of having the same parent company, some Colonial Penn policies are sold through Banker’s Life. Medicare Supplement insurance policies, however, are underwritten by Colonial Penn even if they are serviced by Banker’s in your state.
The company carries a fairly good level of brand recognition thanks to celebrity spokespeople, most notable Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. They are a well-known choice in the guaranteed life insurance market, and the addition of Medicare Supplement policies fits well with the company’s aim of offering simple coverage to seniors.
Although the company was born out of a close relationship with AARP, today that organization appears to sell their Medicare coverage through United Healthcare.
Medicare Supplement Plans
Colonial Penn sells only Medicare Supplement insurance and is not active in the Medicare Advantage market. Not surprisingly, the company offers a fairly good selection of options, allowing customers to select the type of extra coverage they would like above and beyond their original Medicare policy. While some companies offer only two or three plan options, Colonial Penn provides up to seven.
As with most companies, the plan offerings vary depending on the state, but the range of available plans includes basic supplement coverage known as Plan A and a range of increasing coverage levels. Plans B, F, G, K, L, M, and N are all available.
The site offers a basic comparison chart for the different plans, allowing an at-a-glance look at what’s available. The company requires the filling out of a contact form to get further, more detailed, information on plans and rates online. There is also an option to be directed to an agent for quotes and assistance with selecting a Medicare plan.
Filling out the form does require entering personal information, and will result in contact by a Colonial Penn representative. For those who prefer not to receive solicitations, it’s disappointing to see that there’s no anonymous way to obtain a basic rate quote.
Medicare Plan Rates
Colonial Penn doesn’t offer any online quoting or general rate information, which makes it difficult to compare them to other companies. While many smaller companies and agent-driven companies prefer to have people contact an agent for a quote, in the internet age, we would prefer to see a basic online quoting system. This would allow for quick policy and rate comparisons. Today’s technology makes this a standard to which Colonial Penn will hopefully one day match up.
Ratings and Reviews
It’s difficult to get a clear picture of Colonial Penn’s reputation through the Better Business Bureau (BBB), as there are multiple pages for the company’s various locations. However, the company’s headquarters in Philadelphia holds a B rating with the BBB. There are 68 complaints in the past three years, and 26 of those were closed in the past 12 months. The various other BBB pages also have a variety of complaint numbers and different ratings, most A’s and B’s.
Because many of the policies are sold through Banker’s Life, it’s worth considering that company’s ratings as part of the picture as well. Bankers Life headquarters holds an A+ rating with the BBB, and there were 143 complaints in the past three years. 35 of those were closed in the past 12 months.
Outside of the BBB, reviews are few and far between for Colonial Penn. There are a variety of complaints against parent company CNO, but these aren’t necessarily directly related to Colonial Penn policies. Consumer Affairs does have ratings for Banker’s Life. The company nearly reaches a 2-star rating based on 38 ratings, which isn’t a very large sample size.
As a result of the confusion between parent companies and associated companies, it’s difficult to get a clear picture of Colonial Penn’s reputation. That said, nothing jumps out in a look at the company that sets off any alarm bells.
Looking at Colonial Penn for Medicare Supplement coverage may add more confusion to an already confusing subject, due to the different company names involved. The company has been around a while, and has focused its efforts on helping seniors, which will likely appeal to many. However, without a rate quote it’s hard to say how competitive they will be in the market. Overall, those looking for a simplified approach to choosing a Medicare plan will probably want to look elsewhere, but if you prefer the assistance of an agent, Colonial Penn may be a good addition to your list.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.