Every family’s life insurance needs are unique.
While many individuals buy life insurance to replace their income or pay off major debts, others simply wish to protect their loved ones from the burden of final expenses.
A subsidiary of Assurant, American Memorial Life Insurance Company specializes in offering small, affordable final expense policies.
As you map out a plan to pay for end-of-life expenses, it’s important to know and compare all of your options.
The review below is a great starting point, providing you with an overview of American Memorial Life’s history, financial stability, and products.
Our American Memorial Life Insurance Company Review
American Memorial Life Insurance Company first opened its doors to policyholders in 1955.
Assurant, American Memorial Life’s parent company, bought the business in 1996 as a means for accessing the preneed insurance market.
Assurant has been in the game even longer than its subsidiary, selling their first insurance policy in 1892.
Over the past few decades, Assurant has acquired multiple companies, like American Memorial, and experienced consistent growth.
American Memorial Life Insurance Company is part of the Assurant Solutions division.
This division is designated for providing niche insurance policies to customers throughout the United States. It also offers plans to some select overseas clients.
The company headquarters is now located in New York City, and it’s currently a Fortune 500 Company led by CEO and President Alan Colberg.
While the company has had legal issues in the past decade because of policy disputes, these have primarily been related to the company’s dealings in the health insurance market.
Awards and Accolades
American Memorial Life and Assurant have earned substantial recognition for commitment in various sectors.
Here are some of the rewards the company has received in the past few years.
- 2016 Best Employer for Healthy Lifestyles: Assurant won its fifth consecutive award due to its commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles in the workplace.
- 2016 Project of the Year from Pink Elephant’s IT Excellence Awards: This win came on the heels of the company successfully implementing a complex IT system which helped the company better serve clients.
- Communitas Awards 2015: In 2015, the company received awards in the Community Service and Corporate Responsibility categories. The primary reason behind the recognition was Assurant’s commitment to helping Habitat for Humanity in Northwest Metro Atlanta.
Financial Strength & Ratings
Insurance is designed to help individuals and businesses avoid risk.
Unfortunately, insurance carries its own risk.
If your insurance company declares bankruptcy, you won’t be able to claim your policy’s benefits.
That’s why it’s essential to understand a company’s financial viability.
American Memorial Life has a very positive profile from the world’s largest rating companies and consumer watchdog groups:
While ratings are only part of the picture, the solid ratings here indicate the company has strong financial health and good customer relations.
Because American Memorial Life Insurance Company is now part of Assurant, we’ll be taking a close look at the financial health of Assurant.
In 2017, the company had total assets of $31.8b and total equity of over $4.2b. In the same period, it brought in over $6.4b in revenue.
Assurant is also heavily involved in detecting fraud and other nefarious activities that may impact its financial stability.
Overall, both American Memorial Life and Assurant both have strong ratings from credit rating agencies and past clients alike.
Assurant’s end-of-life product offerings are as basic as they come, which could be a good thing for final expense policies.
Policyholders only have access to two primary forms of insurance:
- Preneed Insurance
- Final Need Insurance
They can help you and your family plan for smaller end-of-life expenses like funeral or church services, burial and casket, or cremation fees.
The advantage of these smaller end-of-life policies is that they often incur no taxes and have lower monthly premiums than traditional life insurance.
They are also easier to qualify for, and American Memorial’s underwriting, in particular, is less stringent than many of its competitors.
American Memorial’s final expense policies range from $3,000 to $50,000 in size, and they come with level premiums and an immediate payout.
With their looser eligibility requirements come higher premiums if the applicant’s risk factors are higher.
The purpose of a preneed insurance plan is to cover funeral costs and other end-of-life expenses. It is designed to help streamline the process of organizing a funeral and paying the necessary fees.
You organize your end-of-life arrangements with a funeral home or director and determine the total cost upfront.
Once you decide on your desired arrangements, you obtain a policy that fulfills the financial requirements.
When it comes time to pay for the funeral, money for the expenses are directly transferred to the funeral home.
In many cases, the funeral home will be able to gain access to your funds within 24 hours of the claim being processed.
One key feature associated with this policy is payment flexibility. American Memorial Life offers extensive payment options that allow you to pay on your own terms.
Policyholders can pay for the entire policy upfront, or spread the cost across three, five, and ten-year periods.
Final Need Insurance
In most cases, a final need policy is used to pay for funeral expenses or other related costs. Unlike preneed insurance, though, it isn’t sent to a pre-specified funeral home.
Your beneficiaries will receive the money from the policy in the event of your death.
The money is not specified for a particular purpose— your beneficiaries can use it how they see fit.
You won’t have to undergo any lengthy medical checks to obtain this policy, either. In most cases, you will just answer a few short medical questions before the underwriting process.
Those who access a final need policy benefit from a 30-day “no-look” period. This benefit allows you to change your mind if you no longer feel the policy is suitable for your needs.
In addition to its core features, American Memorial Life’s final expense insurance is sometimes more flexible than other company’s policies.
If for some reason, you move cities or no longer want to use the same funeral director, you won’t have to make any changes to your plan.
Alternatives for Final Expense Insurance
Of course, the wisest way to pick the right life insurance is to look at all of your options.
While American Memorial is a great choice for your final expense needs, it isn’t the only one.
As you shop for policies, be sure to take a look at the alternatives below:
- American Continental: American Continental leads the pack, with no exam policies up to $35000. Their simplified underwriting process is a breeze, but not ideal for applicants with severe health issues.
- Americo: Americo policies max out at $30,000 and come with an accidental death benefit rider, with the potential to add on children riders.
- Assurity: Assurity offers some of the most affordable final expense products, with policies up to $50,000 and level, graded, and modified options.
There’s plenty to like about American Memorial Life’s policies.
Let’s examine the key advantages of purchasing your next life insurance policy with this provider:
- Simple Products – These products provide straightforward coverage that allows you to plan for final expenses and related costs. While they don’t offer extensive coverage, they’re reliable products that are free of complexities.
- Strong Economic Viability – Because of its association with Assurant, American Memorial Life benefits from strong financial stability and security. As a publicly-traded company with over $30b in assets, there’s plenty of financial strength behind this firm.
- Additional Insurance Products – While American Memorial Life Insurance Company only offers niche life insurance plans, you can access a range of supplementary products through its parent company, Assurant.
- Available in Most US States – You can access American Memorial Life products in all but one US state—New York, being ineligible.
- Arrangement Directly with Funeral Homes – American Memorial Life helps take the pain out of the funeral planning process by allowing you to plan directly with funeral homes. Your family won’t be responsible for any of the final planning processes. Payment is sent directly to your funeral home.
- Global Reach – Assurant has a global reach. The firm does business in Australia, China, Japan, Canada, Chile, France, and a range of other countries, so you may be able to access similar products if you need to move overseas.
As with any large insurance provider, there are also some downsides associated with American Memorial Life and its parent company, Assurant.
It’s essential to consider the following drawbacks when you’re deciding if this is a suitable insurance partner for you and your family:
- Small Policies – The preneed policies at American Memorial Life don’t offer extensive coverage. If you’re looking for a plan that can provide your estate with large amounts of money, this is undoubtedly the wrong provider.
- Legal Issues – Assurant ran into legal issues in the past decade for canceling sick clients’ health insurance policies. While the health division is no longer part of Assurant, it’s still important to recognize issues related to payment of insurance policies. It does not appear that these issues impacted the American Memorial Life preneed policies.
- No Mention of Funeral Home Restrictions – The company does not mention if its policies are restricted to certain funeral homes or providers. Some insurance companies allow you to choose your own funeral home, while others partner with specific locations.
Whether you’re on a tight budget or simply looking to alleviate your loved ones of the stress of planning and paying for a funeral, a final expense policy could be just what you need.
With a fairly high face value for burial insurance and reasonable eligibility requirements, American Memorial Life stands tall among its closest competitors.
Backed by the financial strength and dependability of Assurant, American Memorial Life is a safe bet.
As you shop around for the right company, you should keep American Memorial Life Insurance Company at the top of your list.