Columbian Life Insurance Review

Smaller policies with riders for customizable term or permanent life insurance

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Columbian Life Insurance Company

Columbian Life Insurance Company

overall rating
3.0

Our Take

Columbian Life Insurance Company offers a variety of life insurance riders on both term and permanent policies to customize your coverage, but the company lacks online quotes or policy management tools. The company also falls behind other insurers in terms of financial strength and customer satisfaction, and other life insurance companies will better serve people looking for high coverage limits. 

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Plenty of available riders to customize your coverage

  • Both term and permanent policies available

  • Offers a unique term policy with return of premiums

  • Good final expense planning options for seniors

Cons
  • AM Best downgraded the company’s financial strength rating to B (fair) in 2021

  • More complaints with the NAIC than expected for a company of its size

  • Not rated by J.D. Power

  • Customer service reviews are difficult to find

  • No online quotes

Key Takeaways
  • Columbian Life Insurance Company has several types of life insurance to choose from and plenty of options for customization, but the coverage limits on each policy are lower than from other providers. 
  • Considering Columbian Life Insurance Company doesn’t offer any pricing information online, their options for reaching customer service are very limited. 
  • Other companies are more reputable than Columbian Life Insurance Company in terms of financial strength and customer satisfaction. 
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1882
  • Kinds of Plans Whole, term, preneed
  • Number of Plans 5
  • Payment Options Flexible
  • Official Website https://www.cfglife.com/

Introduction


Columbian Life Insurance Company offers term and permanent policies with many attractive riders, but it lacks many of the features of other life insurance companies. We researched Columbian Life Insurance Company’s policy options, online tools, customer satisfaction, financial strength, and more to make it easy for you to compare the life insurance policy options that Columbian Life Insurance Company offers with the competition. 

Company Overview

Columbian Life Insurance Company is part of Columbian Financial Group, which is owned by Columbian Mutual Life Insurance Company. Founded in 1882, it is headquartered in Chicago and issues life insurance policies in 47 states. The company accounts for less than 0.05% of the market share. 

There’s some state variation in the policies available, and you won’t be able to check online. Columbian Life Insurance Company also doesn’t offer online quotes or applications, so you’ll have to speak with an agent to build your policy details and get your price. 

Available Plans

Columbian Life Insurance Company offers term life and whole life insurance policies to meet a variety of needs. It’s possible to get a guaranteed issue plan without a medical exam or health questions. It’s also possible to get a term policy and have 50% of your premiums returned if you outlive the term. Policy limits are generally lower than at other providers. 

Dignified Choice Final Expense

With this whole life policy, eligibility is determined by health questions, but a medical exam isn’t typically necessary. Premiums never increase and the benefit never decreases. The policy builds cash value over time, which you can borrow from if needed. It also comes with three available riders. This type of policy is available to applicants ages 25-85. 

Issue limits vary by age and health status, but maximums range from $20,000 to $35,000. 

Life’s Solutions Whole Life

This type of permanent policy has a level death benefit, premiums never increase, and the policy builds cash value. You can either pay premiums up to age 90 or arrange to have the policy paid in as little as 20 years with the flexible payment options. 

Face amounts range from $20,000 to $500,000 and you can add up to seven available riders. 

Simple Security Whole Life

This is a small policy that comes in face amounts between $5,000 and $15,000 for people ages 0-49 and between $2,500 and $15,0000 for people ages 50-85. With this policy, you’ll pay premiums for life and you can add up to six riders. 

SafeShield Simplified Issue Term

Term life insurance is designed to provide coverage during a specific time period when you have financial obligations. The classic plan is available in 15, 20, and 30-year terms. SafeShield Plus comes in 20 and 30-year terms and reimburses half of paid base policy premiums at the end of the initial term. These policies can also be renewed at annual guaranteed renewable premiums until age 95. 

You can choose a face amount between $25,000 and $250,000. There are also seven rider options available with this plan. 

Note

Columbian Life Insurance offers a unique term policy with a return of premiums that includes some riders free of charge. 

Preneed

A preneed policy from Columbian Life Insurance Company specifically pays for burial expenses at the funeral home of your choice. If you move while your policy is in force, you’ll be able to make arrangements with a new local funeral home. Most funeral homes will agree to guarantee the price of their services today, so you won’t end up short on funds due to inflation. This type of plan comes with two options:

  • The single-pay plan allows you to pay for your funeral costs upfront. There are no health questions asked and no medical exam required, and acceptance is guaranteed. 
  • The multi-pay plan allows you to spread out your payments over three, five, seven, or 10 years. Simple health questions will determine whether you’re eligible for an immediate full death benefit or a modified benefit for the first one or two years. 

Available Riders

Riders or endorsements are add-ons to an insurance policy that provide additional protections or benefits. Not every rider offered by Columbian Life Insurance Company is available with every plan. However, they do have an impressive selection of customization options with each. 

Accelerated Death Benefit Rider

This rider gives you access to half your death benefit in advance if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness expected to result in death within 12 months. It’s available with Dignified Choice Final Expense and SafeShield Simplified Issue Term policies. If you opt for SafeShield Plus, you can add this rider at no additional cost. 

Accidental Death Benefit Rider

This doubles the benefit if you die in an accident, with caps on the benefit for some plans. It’s available with all plans except the Preneed policy. 

Children’s Term Rider

You can add level term insurance for your children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren with this rider. Depending on the plan, you may need to add your children individually or it may cover them all. Face amounts vary and on most plans, coverage is convertible to permanent coverage at a certain age. 

This rider is available with all policies except Preneed. 

Guaranteed Purchase Option Rider

This allows you to boost your coverage at certain times without answering any additional health questions, even if your health status has changed. It’s only available with Life’s Solutions Whole Life and SafeShield Simplified Issue Term plans. 

Living Benefits Riders

This package of riders allows you to access up to 95% of your benefit amount if you are diagnosed with a terminal, critical, or chronic illness. You can add the package to your SafeShield Simplified Issue Term Policy, and it’s available for no extra charge with the SafeShield Plus and Life’s Solutions Whole Life plans. 

Level Term Rider

This rider allows you to add level term coverage to your Life’s Solutions Whole Life policy for 10, 20, or 30 years. Coverage can be renewed to age 90 at renewable premiums. You can get this rider for the primary insured or you can add it for up to three additional people for whom you have an insurable interest. 

You can also get a level term rider with your Simple Security Whole Life plan, but it works a little differently: It’s available up to age 65 for the primary insured and up to age 85 for one other insured person. 

With this plan, coverage can be converted to permanent life insurance without the need for a medical exam or health questions. 

Waiver of Premium Rider

If you are disabled completely and continuously, this rider allows you to stop paying your premiums after six months while keeping your policy in force. It’s available with Life’s Solutions Whole Life, Simple Security Whole Life, and SafeShield Simplified Issue Term policies. 

Unemployment Premium Waiver

Included in the SafeShield Simplified Issue Term policy at no additional premium in most states, this rider waives premiums should you collect unemployment for at least four weeks in a row after your second policy year. You can use this rider to waive up to six months of premiums over the life of your policy. 

Important

Not all riders are available with all plans, and not all offerings are available in all states. Ask an agent about your options. 

Customer Service: Limited Options

Unlike some other life insurance companies, Columbian Life Insurance Company doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support or online chat. The only ways to contact customer service are through the company’s online form or by calling 1-800-423-9765 on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET. 

Customer Satisfaction: Difficult to Determine

Columbian Life Insurance Company is not rated in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study, and customer service reviews on third-party websites are few and far between. 

While the company only had four complaints with the NAIC in 2020, that was about five times the amount expected based on the company’s small size and represented an increase from the previous year. The NAIC average complaint index is 1.00, and the best life insurance companies score below 1.00. The complaint index for Columbian Life Insurance Company in 2020 was 4.96. 

Financial Strength: B (Fair)

In 2021, AM Best, a third-party rating agency focused on the insurance industry, downgraded Columbian Life Insurance Company’s financial strength rating from B++ (Good) to B (Fair). Most of the top life insurance providers are rated A or higher. These ratings are important because they indicate an insurer’s reliability when it comes to paying claims. The rating for Columbian Life Insurance Company is therefore somewhat concerning, especially considering the downward trend. When choosing a life insurance provider, you should feel confident the company will be able to pay your beneficiaries far in the future. 

Warning

AM Best downgraded Columbian Life Insurance Company’s financial strength rating in 2021. 

Cancellation Policy: Not Specified

Columbian Life Insurance Company doesn’t specify its cancellation policy, which may vary by plan and state. However, by law, insurance companies must provide a minimum 10-day free-look period. Some states require up to 30 days, so it’s generally industry standard for life insurance companies to offer a 30-day cancellation policy. If you cancel your policy during the free-look period, your paid premiums will be refunded. 

Price of Columbian Life Insurance Company: Varies

Columbian Life Insurance Company does not offer online quotes or pricing estimates. Therefore, there’s no telling how much each policy will cost unless you call an agent for a quote. After getting your rate estimate, be sure to get quotes from a handful of other life insurance companies to ensure you’re getting the best deal. 

How Columbian Life Insurance Company Compares to Other Life Insurance

Compared to other life insurance providers, Columbian Life Insurance Company offers relatively limited customer support and lacks online tools. The company also lags behind in terms of its financial strength ratings. Columbian Life Insurance Company does offer some unique policy options and riders, but it won’t be the best choice for most people. 

Columbian Life Insurance Company vs. New York Life

Both Columbian Life Insurance Company and New York Life offer term and permanent coverage with a variety of riders. With both companies, you’ll need to speak to an agent to get a quote. However, there are several key differences between these providers:

  • New York Life has the highest possible financial strength rating from AM Best and is highly ranked for customer satisfaction, making it a more reputable provider than Columbian Life Insurance Company. 
  • New York Life pays dividends to policyholders.
  • New York Life offers much higher policy limits than Columbian Life Insurance Company, but minimum face values are higher as well. 
  • New York Life doesn’t offer final expense or preneed policies with low face values like Columbian Life Insurance Company. 
  Columbian Life New York Life
Financial Strength Rating (AM Best) B A++ 
J.D. Power Score, 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study  Not Rated Above Average
Policy Types  Final Expense, Whole Life, Simplified Issue Term, Preneed Term, Whole, Universal, and Variable Universal Life
Policy Limits  Lower starting face values and limits Higher starting face values and limits

New York Life is a more reliable insurance provider with higher policy limits, but the company does lack options for smaller policies. People looking for term, whole life, or universal life policies will most likely find that New York Life is the better option, and those in need of a smaller final expense policy will most likely be better served by another company altogether. 

Read our full  New York Life review. 

Final Verdict

While Columbian Life Insurance Company has some unique options, including a term policy with premium returns and a long list of riders, most people will be able to find similar policies at more reputable providers. The provider is also not a good fit for people accustomed to transacting online, since there aren’t any website tools for applicants or policyholders. 

It may be worth calling Columbian Life Insurance Company for a quote, but be sure to shop around at other providers with similar offerings before making a decision. 

Methodology

All of our reviews of life insurance companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company’s offerings, customer service, financial stability, cost, and more. For each company, we compared the life insurance products offered, as well as available features, and reported customer experiences. Visit our life insurance review methodology for the full breakdown of what we evaluated for over two dozen companies.