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Pekin Insurance was founded in 1921 as The Farmers Automobile Insurance Association by members of the local Tazewell County, Illinois Farm Bureau. The company started out selling flat-rate automobile insurance and was one of the first companies to establish a 24-hour claims service.
Over the decades, the company grew and added more products to the lineup. In 1965 life insurance was added, and they moved into the Group Health market in 1970. Today Pekin writes a complete line of personal products in 6 of the states they serve and offers a partial list of their products in other states. They also write business insurance.
The six full-service states are Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Partial coverage is available in Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The company plans to expand to other states in the near future.
The company today has over 900,000 policies in force and sells their products through independent agents across the coverage area.
Medicare Supplement Insurance
Pekin writes Medicare Supplement Insurance but doesn’t offer Medicare Advantage or Part D Prescription Drug coverage.
The website doesn’t offer details on the Medicare Supplement plans that are offered. Since all companies writing Supplement insurance are required to write Plan A, it’s safe to assume they do write it. Plan A is the most basic of Medicare Supplement options.
The website specifically discusses Plan F and the high deductible Plan F, which are said to be the company’s most popular plan. This is the highest level of Medicare Supplement coverage available, covering all coinsurance and deductibles as well as things like Foreign Travel Emergency. The high deductible option allows for a lower monthly premium in return for higher initial out of pocket costs prior to the insurance kicking in.
The website doesn’t list which of the other letter-coded plans Pekin offers, nor is there detailed benefit information.
As an added benefit, Pekin offers Medicare Supplement customers a free discount program for vision and hearing services (PDF). This isn’t an insurance plan, simply a discount that is offered to policyholders for eyeglasses, contacts, hearing aids, and more. This is not a service that is included with most Medicare Supplement plans; even some Medicare Advantage plans have no discounts or coverage for hearing and vision.
Pekin does not offer online quoting for their Medicare Supplement plans. Instead, there is a link to contact a local agent for a quote. While this is common for smaller agent-driven insurance companies, Pekin is big enough that we would like to see them provide some level of online quoting.
As a result of the lack of rate information, we are unable to provide a rate comparison on either a local or national level.
Ratings and Reviews
Pekin Insurance currently has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They have a total of 21 complaints in the past three years with five of those having been closed in the past 12 months. For a company approaching 1 million in policies and covering a good-sized region, those are low numbers.
The company doesn’t appear on any of the major complaint sites we usually check, probably due to not being a national insurer. They do, however, appear on rating site eKomi, a site we haven’t seen before, with a 4.1 out of 5 overall rating based on 474 reviews. The site gives Pekin its bronze award for customer satisfaction. While there are some complaints, there are also a lot of positive reviews, which is quite an encouraging thing to see for any insurance company.
Overall, Pekin appears to enjoy a very positive reputation.
The Bottom Line
For anyone who likes a homegrown insurance company that is on the smaller side, but still has enough business to be a solid financial choice, Pekin should be on the list. Their coverage area is somewhat limited but expected to grow. We’d like to see a little more detailed information on their Medicare Supplement plans as well as rates to offer a more detailed review, however if they are on your list of possible companies, their reputation does make them worth a closer look and the time to contact an agent. If you prefer a company with a lot more online accessibility and information that is not heavily agent-driven, you might want to look elsewhere.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.