UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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About Western & Southern Life
Western & Southern Life Insurance Company was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1888. Today they operate in 23 states as well as the District of Columbia through 138 field offices and a team of independent agents. Western & Southern Life Assurance Company, a subsidiary of the main company, is responsible for term life insurance and annuity products, while the parent company offers traditional whole life and universal life.
Both are part of Western & Southern Financial Group, which offers a full array of financial products including retirement and mutual funds. Some investments are offered through an affiliate.
Western & Southern Life Products
In addition to the common forms of life insurance, Western & Southern also offers accident and critical illness policies. For the purpose of this review, we will focus on the products offered by Western & Southern Life Insurance Company and its subsidiary, Western & Southern Life Assurance, and not the financial products offered by the financial group.
There are several plans to choose from in three whole life insurance categories. All include cash accumulation, fixed premiums, and permanent coverage.
Simple Choice is a traditional whole life policy that offers three payment plan choices: 20 years to paid, 65 years to paid, and 100 years to paid. The underlying plan is the same with all options, with the only difference being how long the insured makes payments and thus how high each payment will be. Additional premium riders are available for this plan.
The Superior Value Life plan has either a 20-year or 100-year payment plan option. This is a basic policy that does not appear to have any rider options.
The Legacy Master Plan is a single premium whole life policy. Cash value growth is guaranteed until age 100 with this plan, which also increases the death benefit amount.
Again, there are three categories for term life policies, with different benefits.
The Simple Choice Annual Renewable is the first type of policy offered. These policies offer annual renewable and convertible term coverage, meaning the insured can choose to renew or convert each year. Premiums will increase each year as the insured’s age increases but are not impacted by health changes within a 20 year period up to age 39, or a 15 year period over the age of 39. Issue age for these policies is from 18-61. An accelerated death benefit rider can be added to these policies, along with several other riders.
The Simple Choice Guaranteed Level Term is the second option, with rates that are guaranteed for the entire length of the selected term. 10, 15, 20, or 30-year terms are available. Like the annual, these policies can be renewed or converted, and have a selection of rider choices including accelerated death benefits.
Term to 25 is Western & Southern’s juvenile term life policy and can be issued from birth to age 17. Face value can be $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000. Several riders can also be added to this policy, but the site does not mention anything about convertibility at age 25. This is unusual, as most juvenile policies can be taken over in adulthood and converted.
Western & Southern has two universal life insurance products. Both offer flexibility and cash accumulation.
Ultra Universal is a flexible premium policy that offers level or flexible death benefit options. Minimum face value is either $25,000 or $100,000 for standard or preferred, with no maximum listed. Issue age for this policy is from birth to 80 years.
Protection Universal Life is more focused on no-lapse coverage with less focus on growing cash value. Issue age and face value minimums are the same as the Ultra, and multiple riders are offered on both policies.
The Family Accident Plan is a customizable supplemental plan to help pay added costs of an accident not covered by health insurance or for accidental death. Coverage amounts range from $10,000 for children to $150,000 for adults, and added benefits are available for an accidental death caused by an intoxicated driver or public conveyance. Premiums on this plan are fully refundable if the coverage is not used by age 65.
Critical Illness Insurance
This policy pays a lump sum for a critical illness diagnosis, with benefit amounts from $10,000 to $100,000. Issue age is from 18-69 (64 in California). Benefits are reduced at certain ages or with use of the policy, and premiums are returned in full upon the insured’s death if the policy has not been used.
Western & Southern offers several types of annuities designed to provide retirement income. They differ in terms of premium payment and payout timing. The options are:
- Flexible Premium Deferred Variable
- Flexible Premium Deferred
- Single Premium Deferred
- Single Premium Immediate
Annuities also feature varying levels of risk and return, so it is always best to discuss these with a financial advisor before buying.
We entered quote information for a 30-year-old male seeking $1,000,000 in 30-year-term life insurance coverage, and were returned a rate estimate of $127.40 per month. The same quote came back at $20.39 per month for $100,000 in coverage. Both quotes stated rates would be “as low as” this number, meaning they could be considerably higher.
Since the quoting system does not ask for a location, we are unable compare this to our usual sample rates. We have seen lower rates for both coverage amounts elsewhere but cannot provide a true apples-to-apples comparison on these quotes. The site directs visitors to be connected with an agent for a more accurate quote.
Claims can be filed online, but only by logging into the “My Account” section of the website, which could be difficult for a life insurance beneficiary who does not have the insured’s login information.
Claims can also be filed over the phone by calling a toll-free line, which is available from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday. These hours are considerably longer than many other life insurance companies’ claims line availability. After hours, there is a voicemail line where a message can be left.
There is also an email address and a mailing address offered on the website. We did not notice claims forms available for download.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Western & Southern Life has a Better Business Bureau (BBB) page that covers the financial group as well as the two life insurance companies in one. They have an A+ rating, with 28 complaints across the entire group in the past three years. Of those, ten were closed in the past 12 months. Overall, the complaint volume is low for such a large financial services company.
There are 17 complaints on Pissed Consumer, and a lot of them seem to focus on billing issues, including policies billing after cancellation. Increased payments and slow claims response or failure to pay claims are also cited.
We were unable to find much else in the way of complaints for this company, and there does not seem to be any red flags in the complaint content.
The Bottom Line
Western & Southern Life offers a good range of products, although they may not be the lowest-priced option. The complaint volume is low considering the size of the company, and they have a long history and a solid foundation. For those seeking to purchase life or other products with the assistance of an agent or financial advisor, they may be worth a closer look.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.