While many people set out to purchase massive life insurance policies to provide income for their families for years to come, others simply need to cover final expenses.
Those insurance shoppers may find it challenging to pick the right company as countless providers specialize in offering preneed and final expense policies to older applicants.
One such company, Great Western, promises to help you tell your story with customizable life insurance policies.
Before you decide if they’re the right storytelling companion, take a look at their history, financial ratings, and products.
We’ll also provide you with a few worthy competitors to help you in the shopping process.
Our Great Western Insurance Company Review
Great Western Insurance Company (GWIC) specializes in life insurance and funeral services.
Founder John E. Lindquist established the company in 1983 in Ogden, UT, as a way of easing the stress of planning for final arrangements.
As part of their mission statement, Great Western Insurance wants
“to help you and your family prepare for the difficult moments in your lives.”
To make that goal possible, they offer simple yet effective policies and support. Today, Great Western is one of the premier preneed insurance companies in the country.
The ability to plan funeral arrangements goes hand-in-hand with the company’s tagline, “It’s your story to tell.”
The high level of customization for policies and plans makes it possible for families to get the peace of mind they need.
After operating for three-and-a-half decades independently, American Enterprise Group acquired Great Western in 2018.
American Enterprise Group has several other channels to cater to the insurance needs of their customers.
Other companies in the collection include American Republic Insurance Services, the Americare Group, and Medico Independent Agents.
The acquisition should advance Great Western in the financial expense market.
At the time of the acquisition, Great Western had 121 employees and continues to operate in 46 states nationwide, including the District of Columbia.
Financial Strength and Ratings
Despite the increasing transparency of insurance companies regarding their finances, Great Western Insurance does not provide much financial information to the public.
While this is not necessarily a red flag, it does make it more difficult for consumers to understand the strength of the company when comparing it to other top notch carriers.
Fortunately, A.M. Best has rated Great Western.
Great Western earned an “A-” rating from A.M. Best in 2019, which translates to “excellent.”
This mark is an upgrade from their B++ standard the previous year, which is the fifth-highest rating out of the sixteen possible outcomes.
The upgrade suggests that Great Western is in a stronger financial position to meet liabilities and obligations in the long run.
The BBB gave Great Western a “B,” which is the fifth-highest possible score out of 13.
While Great Western is BBB-rated, it does not have BBB accreditation.
Great Western’s products are simple and straightforward, designed to help families with final expenses.
Preneed insurance is a practical investment because it counteracts the inevitable inflation of funeral prices.
Great Western offers plans in Single Pay, One-Year, Three-Year, Five-Year, and Ten-Year forms.
With so many options, you can pick what works best for you based on your current financial situation.
When applying for a plan, customers only need to answer two health-related questions and will not be denied because of poor health or preexisting conditions.
Another perk of preneed insurance from Great Western is that the premiums never increase. As long as your payment is made on time, you can expect one flat rate.
Depending on their level of health, the policyholder will qualify for either the Course or Voyage plan.
- Voyage: The Voyage product can credit a favorable growth rate to the plan’s face value or return the paid premiums as a death benefit where the policyholders receive the higher amount.
- Course: The Course plan offers a favorable growth rate with slightly lower premiums than the Voyage plan.
While no amount of money can replace a family member, a final expense policy helps relieve those left behind from financial burden. It can help cover funeral costs and other expenses.
Based on the total compensation, your family will be able to allocate the funds to bills, tuition, or other needs.
Currently, Great Western offers two Final Expense plans: Guaranteed Assurance and Assurance Plus.
The policy does not require any health questions or an exam.
Policyholders who die in the first two years only get the paid premiums plus 10 percent interest, which changes to 110 percent in year three.
If someone dies due to an accident, the policyholder receives the full death benefit.
Anyone age 40 to 80 years old is eligible for Guaranteed Assistance, and the face amount is $1,000 to $4,000.
Healthy people who want additional value for their policy answer a few health questions and could be eligible for a full death benefit starting from the first day of the plan.
No medical examination is necessary. Assistance Plus also allows for Accelerated Death Benefit riders at no extra charge.
Families can opt for Dependent Child and Grandchild riders as well for an additional $1 per month.
Group Annuity Funding Agreement
The Group Annuity Funding Agreement or GAFA offers people a fixed interest rate benefit plan with the ability to accumulate assets.
The policyholder gets a fixed sum of money every year for the rest of his or her life. Additionally, Great Western annuities come with guaranteed principal and interest.
The annuity purchases are invested in intermediate-term investment-grade assets. Policyholders can withdraw the principal at any time they want.
Determining whether or not a company is a fit for your needs is an essential part of picking an insurance policy.
- Free look period: Great Western offers people a complimentary 30-day free trial where they can sign up and use the plan. You can cancel at any time during the first month.
- High limits on guaranteed policies: Great Western offers a guaranteed issue plan that covers up to $40,000 in expenses, while most competitors cap costs at half that amount.
- Simplified application: They also have straightforward issue coverage with a short three question application.
- Coverage location: Great Western has moderate coverage across the country. While 46 states plus the District of Columbia does represent a majority of the population, many other insurance providers are available in all 50.
- Cost: The significant downside to Great Western is the lack of competitiveness of its pricing. Other industry heavyweights offer comparable policies with lower prices.
- Policy types: Great Western’s selection of life insurance policy types is limited as they specialize in final expense coverage and pre-need insurance.
If you need a small final expense policy to protect your loved ones in the wake of your passing, you can count on Great Western to deliver.
Based on its BBB and A.M. Best ratings, it appears to be a viable choice for your life insurance policy.
Compared to many of its competitors, the company’s guaranteed policies have an impressive maximum value. Whether or not their policies will offer you the best rates, however, is debatable.
If you like the customization and higher limits on Great Western’s policies, it may be worth looking into.
But as always, do your homework.
You may find that another provider has the coverage you need at a price you can appreciate.