UPDATED: Mar 18, 2020
We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Transamerica is a major life insurance and financial services company that was formed in the city of San Francisco over a hundred years ago. Among their wide variety of life insurance plans is Final Expense, a plan aimed specifically at preparing for the cost of a funeral and other last expenses.
Transamerica’s roots go back to the creation of the Bank of Italy in San Francisco by an Italian American, Amadeo Giannini, in 1905. Transamerica itself was created as a holding company after the 1928 merger of Bank of Italy with Bank of America. The 1930 purchase of Occidental Life moved Transamerica into the life insurance market, and today it is the product for which they are best known.
Today Transamerica and Bank of America operate separately; Transamerica went on to diversify its holdings in to a wide variety of industries. Our full review of Transamerica and a look at all its products can be found here.
The life insurance arm of Transamerica remains the biggest part of the company’s operations and their flagship product. Their lineup includes a range of term life insurance and whole life insurance products, and they also offer supplemental products like Accidental Death and Long-Term Care.
Transamerica’s headquarters is now located in Baltimore, although they still own the well-known pyramid building in San Francisco that is a part of the company logo. Products are sold through agents and financial representatives across the country.
Transamerica Final Expense Insurance
The Transamerica site offers a limited description of their final expense insurance plans.
The site does not say what the maximum death benefit amount is, nor does it state what the issue age is for any of the three options.
The site lists three final expense insurance options, without an explanation as to what they entail. The three are:
- Immediate Solution
- 10-Pay Solution
- Easy Solution
While the 10-Pay is somewhat self-explanatory, the difference between Immediate and Easy is unknown. Final Expense insurance is usually a whole life policy with a lower death benefit to make it affordable even at an advanced age. Our best guess is that all of the options refer to the premium payment plan, but there may be other differences.
Transamerica promises no waiting period for coverage to kick in, and that they will not increase premiums over time due to age.
Rate quotes for Transamerica’s final expense plans are only available through an agent. This is in keeping with the limited amount of information that is offered on the website – the goal is to get potential customers in contact with an agent who can provide policy details along with a quote – and close the sale.
It would be easy for Transamerica to offer a quick quoting system for these policies, and as a huge company, it is likely to be disappointing for many this is not the case.
Claims information is entirely absent from the Transamerica website. We were unable to locate a dedicated page for claims filing – not even a mention of where to direct claims inquiries.
The contact page of the website provides general contact phone numbers, mailing addresses, and email addresses, but there is nothing specific about where to call with a claim. Presumably, this information is provided to policyholders directly, or may be available when logged into a customer account.
That is potentially frustrating to a beneficiary, however, who may not have access to login information and is already dealing with a stressful time if they are filing a final expense insurance claim. It would be beneficial to see a company as large as Transamerica make it easy to find claims information.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Transamerica has a B rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), with the reduction due to failure to respond to two complaints and five complaints that were not resolved. The overall number of complaints against Transamerica over the past three years is 419, with a total of 159 closed in the past 12 months. The overall number of complaints is not high for a company the size of Transamerica, but the unresolved complaints and failure to respond are taken very seriously by the BBB when it comes to the overall rating.
Consumer Affairs has 141 reviews of Transamerica. Their rating is based on the 55 reviews that were left in the past year, and the overall rating out of five is 1.5 stars. Many of the complaints are to do with financial products rather than life insurance, but a few also refer to difficulty getting a life insurance claim paid.
There are 47 reviews of Transamerica on Pissed Consumer, but it is worth noting that one particular person has left multiple reviews as ongoing updates on her issues with the company. Again, some are complaints about life insurance and some are to do with other products.
The Bottom Line
Transamerica does not have a high complaint volume, but they also offer very little to recommend them for final expense insurance. There is a strong lack of detail regarding their policies and zero in terms of rate information. They may be a good choice for those that already work with this company for other services, or for those working with an agent who can fill in the blanks. Overall, they are a reputable company, but when it comes to final expense specifically there is just not enough to go on.