Few true mutual life insurance companies remain today, outnumbered by their stock-holding counterparts.
Guardian is one of the largest remaining mutual life insurance companies. Whether or not that distinction impacts your life insurance depends on what type of policy you’re seeking.
If you’re looking for a permanent policy, you may find a mutual company more beneficial. Term life shoppers may be better off elsewhere.
With those points in mind, take a look at our Guardian Life review, which offers insight into the company’s history, their products, and financial strength.
Let it be your first step in researching your life insurance options.
Our Guardian Life Insurance Company of America Review
One of the oldest life insurance companies in America, Guardian was formed in 1860 by Hugo Wesendonck, with the help of a group of 20 other men.
At the time, the company’s name was Germania Life Insurance Company of America.
The company outgrew the state of New York quite quickly, proceeding to spread across several states in just a matter of years.
In fact, they were doing business across the sea with an office in Europe by 1868, the first U.S. based insurance company to do so.
In 1917, the insurer made its official name change, to Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, the title it has held for over a century.
Less than a decade later, the Guardian switched to being a fully mutual company, meaning stock was no longer offered as ownership.
The only way to become an owner in the company is to own a Guardian policy.
Thereby, policyholders are the owners, and to this day, Guardian remains one of the most prestigious life insurance companies among the mutual insurers.
By the year 1957, Guardian began offering additional products outside of life insurance, including a major push towards employee benefits.
Over the next 30 years, this push would prove to be a large portion of Guardian’s expansion.
As Guardian has grown it its success, it has given back to the communities it serves.
The Guardian makes strides to assist the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, and the American Cancer Society, to name just a few.
Guardian’s Financial Ratings
Guardian continues to be a leader in the life insurance industry, paying dividends to its policyholders for 125 years running.
As of 2018, Guardian has $73.9 billion in assets and $8.5 billion in capital.
They’ve also acquired an almost perfect slate of financial ratings from all the major rating agencies.
Here are the ratings they received from each:
These ratings indicate superior financial strength and make Guardian attractive to consumers and businesses nationwide.
Guardian puts itself in an elite class of insurers who show little to no financial faults.
The company is also BBB-accredited and holds an “A+“, the Better Business Bureau’s highest rating.
Bottom line: You can count on Guardian’s exceptional dependability.
The company hosts a full lineup of life insurance products, including:
- Term life insurance
- Universal life insurance (and variable)
- Whole life insurance
Guardian Life promotes four main benefits to its term products.
- Level Premiums
- Level Coverage
The site provides quotes for term policies ranging from $250,000 to $5 million.
Because Guardian has such a strong focus on permanent products, their conversion option is a major asset if you think you may convert to another type of policy at the conclusion of your term.
A universal life product is one which allows a little bit of flexibility while still locking in some permanence.
The only real difference between these policies is related to their investment and growth avenues.
While a universal policy’s growth is fixed through interest and cash value gains within the policy, a variable policy lets the owner take greater risks with potentially higher rewards by investing in the stock market.
You’ll also need to deal with a registered representative from the carrier to purchase this type of policy.
The name of the game with a whole life product is permanence.
However, when you deal with a mutual company like Guardian, your whole life policy also has the potential for extra growth.
This is what makes Guardian so enticing for those who need both guarantees and some amount of permanent life insurance coverage.
While not guaranteed, Guardian Life Insurance Company has paid a dividend, which goes into the cash value portion of a whole life policy, and they’ve maintained some amount of the dividend every single year going back to 1868.
The rest of the product is fairly straightforward, carrying level premiums, a guaranteed minimum death benefit, and a stated rate of growth.
You also have access to cash via loans or surrender, but they do change how the product will grow in the future.
In addition, Long Term Care Insurance (LTCi) is available, along with disability insurance.
Aside from insurance, Guardian also has investment and retirement options available for families and individuals alike, with choices like 401(k), IRA, mutual funds, and annuities.
It continues its group products as well, focusing on dental, disability and life.
Similar retirement and investment options are made for business owners and their employees, as well as business continuation planning, but they can be individualized to suit the needs of the situation accordingly.
Alternatives to Guardian
Whether Guardian appears to have the policy to meet your needs or not, take a few moments to compare alternatives.
The companies below lead the pack in catering to specific life insurance needs.
As you shop around for the right policy, give these companies a look:
- Banner Life: If you’re looking for cost-effective term life insurance, you’ll save money with Banner Life. Their underwriting is exceptional, whether you’re in excellent health or not-so-excellent health, and they specialize in affordable term life policies.
- Protective: If you’re drawn to Guardian’s universal policies but want to know how they stack up, check out Protective. They have some of the most customizable universal policies out there, and they’re competitively priced.
- Northwestern Mutual: Guardian isn’t the only historied mutual company in the industry. Northwestern Mutual rivals the company with comparable whole life policies. The company is definitely worth a look for permanent coverage.
What We Like About Guardian
We’re obviously fans of Guardian.
Here are some of the provider’s standout features:
- Excellent reputation: Guardian has one of the most sterling names in the industry, with more than a century of exceptional business practices under its belt.
- Superior financial ratings: Along those lines, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a provider with better ratings than Guardian. It receives stellar scores across the board, whereas many life insurance carriers aren’t even scored by some of the major agencies.
- Mutual company: If you’re looking to invest with your life insurance policy, Guardian’s structure could be advantageous, allowing you to earn even more. It’s also beneficial to have ownership in the company.
- Product lineup: Guardian offers a variety of life insurance products, plus a whole host of retirement accounts and other insurance products. It could be your one-stop-shop.
- Customer support: Guardian’s online account management tools are convenient and user-friendly. You can also work with their agents to get the most out of your life insurance.
What We Don’t Like About Guardian
While Guardian is an excellent company, there are a couple of potentially negative aspects of partnering with the company:
- Conservative underwriting: If you have some high risk factors, namely ones related to your health, you may not fair well with Guardian’s underwriting methods.
- Term life rates: While Guardian’s term life products aren’t outrageously priced, they aren’t the most competitive either. Chances are you’ll find lower rates with a company which specializes in term life products.
Final Thoughts On Guardian
With a business structured to help individuals, families, and small and large businesses, Guardian has cleared a path for long-standing, trusted success.
It has a seasoned history, and its business model continues to be successful through the rising and falling tides of our economy year after year.
If you like to have your insurance and investments in one place, Guardian can help.
While Guardian is a phenomenal company to entrust with your universal or whole life products, you may want to find another company for term life.
Regardless of what type of policy you’re looking for, make sure to compare multiple options, getting quotes from a number of providers.