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About American Memorial
If you’re older than 50 and you have shopped for burial or funeral options, chances are likely American Memorial is a company you’ve heard of. American Memorial is the underwriting entity for Assurant Global Preneed. In other words, American Memorial is the sister company that you’ll work with and speak with to buy life insurance from the parent company Assurant. While this may sound shady, it’s perfectly normal in the life insurance industry.
Through its American Memorial Life Insurance distribution channel, Assurant Preneed Global has over 3,000 funeral home partners and is the largest provider of preneed funeral insurance in the U.S. and Canada.
American Memorial’s biggest partnership is with SCI, Service Corporation International, the largest funeral and cremation service company in North America. Assurant Preneed Global provides insurance products and support services for SCI.
Assurant Preneed began operating with the acquisition of United Family Life Insurance Company in 1980. American Memorial Life Insurance Company was purchased in 2000. Assurant Preneed offices are located in Atlanta, Georgia, and Rapid City, South Dakota.
Our take on American Memorial
American Memorial Life Insurance Company is a subsidiary of Assurant, a company that has been in the insurance game since 1892. American Memorial began in 1955, and has grown ever since.
While Assurant offers a variety of financial solutions, American Memorial targets the niche market of final expense life insurance.
Niche companies are always a tradeoff. Younger applicants will find themselves faced with limited options, and probably won’t find affordable life insurance from a company like American Memorial. Seniors, however, can benefit greatly from the final expense and pre-need policy options, which can ensure that your final expenses are taken care of in advance, sparing your family any financial burdens.
|A.M. Best Rating||A-|
|Customer Service Phone||800-533-2220|
|Address||American Memorial Life Insurance|
440 Mount Rushmore Road
Rapid City, SD 57701
What we like
Pre-Need Coverage Travels with You
Paying for your funeral up-front may seem like a risk, but American Memorial promises that your policy is flexible enough for you to move or change funeral directors.
Strong Reputation and Backing
Despite some legal setbacks involving their health insurance, Assurant remains a strong company with a reliable financial track record.
Few Customer Complaints
Compared to other companies their size, American Memorial has received fewer customer complaints than the industry average.
What We Don’t Like
No Online Quotes
No online quotes are available, and applicants will need to speak with an agent to obtain policy details and premium rates.
Limited Policy Options
High Modified Plans
The modified plans tend to be costly. Those with health conditions may wish to shop around to find the best rates.
American Memorial Life Insurance Products
A pre-need plan is designed to cover the cost of funerals and other end-of-life expenses. With this policy, the policyholder makes all the arrangements with the funeral home and then determines an up-front cost. After that, the policyholder will obtain a pre-need policy that fulfills these financial requirements. After your death, the American Memorial pays the funeral home on your behalf. Typically, these funds are available within 24 hours.
Your Story, Your Way
The key advantage of a pre-need policy is that it locks in your rates upfront. This also allows you to plan your funeral, which eases the burden on your family as well as gives you the chance to design your funeral according to your own wishes.
American Memorial Life offers flexible payment options. Policyholders can pay for the policy in a lump sum, or make payments over three, five, or ten years.
Policy Moves with You
If you change cities or wish to change funeral directors, you won’t have to make any changes to your plan. It’s not entirely clear how this works, however, given that the price is based on a preexisting arrangement with one funeral home. Policyholders may wish to raise this question to ensure that a new funeral home will provide the services they desire.
Final expense insurance is intended to cover any end-of-life expenses. This includes such things as remaining medical bills, outstanding debt, etc. Ultimately, the money is not earmarked for a particular purpose, so your beneficiaries can use the money as they see fit. Approval is dependent on your answers to a few basic medical questions, with no need for a formal medical exam.
American Memorial Life offers two variants of this final expense policy: the Preferred Plan and the modified plan.
Level Benefit Preferred Plan
The Preferred Plan offers level benefits for the lifetime of the policy, which ensures that your rates stay locked in. Rates are as follows:
|Age range||Minimum coverage||Maximum coverage|
This policy is designed for those in good health. Those with medical conditions should pursue the modified plan, below.
Applicants are also expected to receive coverage face-to-face. If you apply over the phone, your coverage is capped at $15,000, regardless of age or health.
A modified plan is intended for those with minor or well-managed health conditions, such as type-2 diabetes or well-managed hypertension. As with the Preferred Plan, coverage varies by age:
|Age range||Minimum coverage||Maximum coverage|
Note that unlike the Preferred Plan, the modified plan has a narrower range of ages.
Additionally, this is a graded benefit plan, which means that the full death benefit is not available until the third year of the policy. During the first two years, beneficiaries receive a return of the premiums plus an additional 10% interest.
American Memorial Life Insurance does not offer any additional riders with which to customize their policies. This decreases their overall value substantially, as many competing companies offer living benefits and other customizable features.
30-Day Free Look Period
American Memorial allows its policyholders to return their policy for a refund up to 30 days after purchase. This isn’t all that unusual in the industry but gives buyers greater confidence that they can “try out” their policy without a huge risk.
These policies are intended to offer low coverage amounts, since their purpose is considerably more narrow than other whole life insurance offerings on the market. As such, policyholders can expect generally affordable rates.
A 40-year-old man can receive a $10,000 policy for around $25/month, and his rate will go up to $115/month at age 70. These are generally competitive with other final expense policies on the market today, but they are hardly the best. The fact that no riders are included decreases the value of these policies substantially.
If you have pre-existing health conditions that prevent you from obtaining final expense insurance elsewhere, American Memorial may be a valid option. But if you shop around, you may be able to find policies that have better options and a lower monthly premium.
American Memorial Life is well-reviewed by consumer agencies:
- S&P Rating: A
- A.M. Best Rating: A-
Additionally, their parent company, Assurant has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. However, Assurant has historically made news for canceling the health coverage of some of their sick policyholders. They have since recovered from that scandal, and this should not impact the life insurance offered through American Memorial Life. Customers should simply be aware of the parent organization’s legal and financial history before making a final decision.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides ratings to insurance companies based on the number of customer complaints. A customer complaint ratio of 1.0 is considered average. The NAIC has a complaint index of 0.26, which indicates that they receive fewer customer complaints than other companies their size.
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