Occidental Life Insurance Review

Term, whole, and universal life coverage through an agent

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American-Amicable Group

American-Amicable Group

overall rating
3.3

Our Take

Occidental Life offers term, whole, and universal index life insurance policies sold through agents. Its policies offer different customizable options including rare riders like disability income and chronic illness. Occidental Life is a good option for seniors looking for a customized policy, but if you prefer purchasing a policy online or one with a level benefit, you’ll need to use another company.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Multiple choices for term coverage length

  • Term coverage up to 95 years of age

  • Up to $5,000 per month payout from the accelerated death—confined care rider

  • Whole life premiums payable until age 100

  • Offers a grandchild rider

Cons
  • Must buy policies through an agent

  • Whole life death benefit reduces by 50% at age 65

  • Whole life policies only offer 1% guaranteed return

  • Universal life has a $300,000 maximum

  • Spousal term rider amount decreases in maximum insurable amount with age

Key Takeaways
  • Occidental Life sells term, whole, and universal life insurance policies through an underwriting process that tries to avoid a medical exam by doing telephone interviews and requesting medical records. 
  • Occidental Life targets its coverage to seniors and allows you to coordinate your payments to coincide with your Social Security payments. 
  • Occidental Life offers rare but useful riders.
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1906
  • Kinds of Plans Term, Universal, Whole
  • Number of Plans 4
  • Payment Options Online, automated payment, credit card
  • Official Website www.americanamicable.com

Introduction

Occidental Life is an insurance company with a long history that sells term, whole, and universal life insurance policies primarily aimed at seniors. It focuses on products, services, riders, and business processes that better serve an older demographic such as phone interviews instead of online forms, grandchildren riders, and the ability to set monthly premiums to coincide with Social Security payments. 

We reviewed Occidental Life’s policy offerings, riders, pricing, customer service, industry ratings, and more to help you decide if its policies are right for you.  

Company Overview

Occidental Life is headquartered in Waco, Texas, and is part of the American-Amicable Group of Companies, which includes the American-Amicable Life Insurance Company of Texas, iA American Life Insurance Company, Pioneer American Insurance Company, and Pioneer Security Life Insurance Company. All of these companies offer the same suite of policies. 

The group of companies is owned by the Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc., which was founded in 1892 and employs over 5,000 people. 

Occidental Life is licensed for business in all 50 states, although actual product availability may vary by state. 

Available Plans

Occidental Life offers term, whole, and universal life policies sold through agents to individual consumers. 

Term Life Insurance

Occidental Life offers two forms of term coverage

Easy Term

Occidental Life's Easy Term policy offers up to $250,000 of coverage and comes with two options: level term life coverage with 10-, 20-, and 30-year level premiums or level life coverage with 20- or 30-year level premiums with return of premiums. Both policies are available up to age 95, but have different maximum issue ages. For example, the maximum age for a 30-year return of premiums policy is 50 years, and the maximum age for a 10-year level premium policy is 70 years. 

The policies are simplified issue policies, which means that Occidental Life typically provides coverage without a medical exam, although you will likely need to participate in a telephone interview and submit your medical records.

This policy also includes a terminal illness accelerated benefit rider and an accelerated benefits confined care rider free of charge.

Term Made Simple

The Term Made Simple policy has level premiums for a term of 10, 15, or 20 years and it includes the option of converting your policy to a whole life policy or renewing your policy annually until age 95. The maximum amount of coverage offered by this policy is not clear online.

It also includes a terminal illness accelerated benefits rider, accelerated benefits confined care rider, and a chronic illness accelerated benefit rider free of charge. 

Whole Life Insurance

Occidental Life offers one form of whole life insurance coverage that builds cash value with a 1% guaranteed interest rate on the cash value portion of your policy. 

With the whole life policy, your insurance premiums fund the death benefit for year one, but in the second year, approximately a half of your premiums fund your cash value portion and go into an annuity that you select from a list of options offered by Occidental Life.  You can borrow money from the annuity portion of your coverage without withdrawal fees at any time and you can also take out a policy loan on the cash value. 

Note that with Occidental Life’s whole life insurance, after age 65 or after five years of holding your policy, your death benefit decreases by 50%. 

Universal Life Insurance

Occidental offers a simplified issue adjustable universal life insurance policy called Easy UL. It is a flexible premiums policy that offers two options: a level death benefit or an increasing death benefit. The policy offers a no-lapse guarantee that states that so long as the no-lapse premium is paid, the death benefit is guaranteed for at least 15 years. There is no information about the no-lapse premium amount online. 

The policy can be issued from ages 0 through 75 and has a minimum issue amount of $25,000 and a maximum amount of $300,000. It guarantees an interest rate of 2% on the cash value of the policy and allows you to schedule your premiums annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly via bank draft. 

This policy includes a terminal illness accelerated benefit rider and an accelerated benefits confined care rider at no additional cost. 

Unlike many simplified issue policies, Occidental Life requires a telephone interview rather than an online form. While that might take longer to complete, it might be easier for those who struggle to use or have limited access to computers. 

Available Riders

Occidental Life has a significant selection of life insurance riders that allow you to customize your coverage: 

  • Critical illness rider. This rider allows you access to your death benefit if you are diagnosed with a critical illness. You can purchase this benefit in amounts up to 25%, 50%, or 100% of the full death benefit or up to $100,000. 
  • Disability income rider. With this rider, you can get up to 2% of your death benefit or $1,500 maximum as a monthly disability income benefit if you become totally disabled. 
  • Waiver of premium rider. If you become totally disabled, this rider waives your premiums.  
  • Children’s insurance rider. With this rider, you can purchase additional term coverage for your children up until age 25, at which time they can convert their coverage. You can get coverage of $15,000 or in units of $3,000. 
  • Accidental death rider. If you die accidentally, this rider will pay out additional money in the form of a higher death benefit up to $200,000 or five times the face value of your policy.
  • Terminal illness accelerated benefit rider. This rider allows you to access up to 100% of your death benefit early if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. It is included in some of Occidental Life’s plans free of charge. 
  • Accelerated death benefit—confined care rider. If you need to be in a nursing home, this benefit pays out a portion of your death benefit each month to pay for your care. You can get up to 2.5% or $5,000 of your policy monthly. 
  • Waiver of benefits for unemployment rider. If you become unemployed, this rider will pay the premiums on your base coverage and all riders for up to six months after you are unemployed for four weeks. 
  • Accidents-only total disability benefit rider. With this rider, you get income protection if you become totally disabled because of an accident. This provides you with up to $2,000 per month for a maximum of two years. 
  • Grandchild rider. You can purchase up to $5,000 in term life insurance for grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 
  • Reduced paid-up option rider. This rider provides you with the option to reduce your death benefit and stop paying it after the 10th policy year. After that point, you can direct all your payments to your annuity. 
  • Beneficiary guaranteed insurability rider. This is a rider that will allow you to pass your cash value to your beneficiary income tax-free and will allow them to purchase a policy of the same type from Occidental without a medical exam.  
  • Family insurance agreement rider. This policy rider includes coverage for family members including children older than 15 years of age and your spouse. You can get up to $3,000 in coverage for all children. You can get up to $16,750 for your spouse, but the amount that they are eligible for decreases depending on their age. 

Each of the riders has a pricing structure based on several factors such as your age and tobacco usage. The rate you pay is based on each $1,000 of life insurance coverage you select. 

To learn more about what riders are available with your policy and how much they cost, you'll need to contact an agent.

Customer Service: Good Phone, Fax, Mail, and Email Options

You can call Occidental Life customer support at 1-800-736-7311 from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday. It has an online portal that customers can also use to contact the company and to start claims. 

You can also reach out to the company via fax, mail, and email (conntactus@americanamicable.com).

Customer Satisfaction: More Complaints Than Average

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) complaint index compares an insurance company's performance against its competitors. According to the NAIC website, the index is determined by dividing the company's share of complaints by the company's share of premiums. An average rating is 1.0, and the lower the number, the better. 

Occidental Life receives more than the average number of complaints, with an NAIC complaint index of 1.72. However, because it is a smaller company, it receives just 0.008% of the national complaint market share. Many of the complaints it fields are for bad customer service and delays with paying out the death benefit. 

Financial Strength: A- (Excellent)

AM Best gives insurance companies ratings around financial strength by looking at things like its performance, balance sheet, assets, and activity. This is important as it’s a good indicator if the company will be able to pay out future claims.

Occidental Life has an A- (Excellent) rating from AM Best. 

Cancellation Policy: 10-Day Free Look Period

A free look period is a period of time in which you can cancel your insurance policy and get a refund of premiums without having to pay any penalties for your cancellation. Free look periods range from 10 to 30 days, depending on state laws and insurance company policy. Occidental Life offers you a 10-day free look period, which is the minimum required.

Occidental Life doesn’t list whether it charges penalties if you cancel after the free look period, so be sure you understand the cancelation policy before making a purchase.

If you opt to buy a permanent life insurance policy from Occidental Life, you will also want to ask how it calculates your policy’s surrender value and what the time frame is to cancel your whole life policy without a penalty. You'll also want to find out if there are fees involved and the potential tax implications.

Price of Occidental Life Insurance: Not Available Online

Occidental Life doesn't share pricing for its life insurance products online. You will have to contact the company or an agent for that information. 

Although many insurance companies allow policy renewals until age 90, your premiums may increase significantly once the initial term is over. For this reason, permanent life coverage with level or flexible premiums might be a better choice if you want to be insured until age 95 (and beyond).

How Occidental Life Compares to Other Life Insurance

Occidental Life offers highly customizable life insurance options aimed at seniors. However, a company like Western & Southern that sells other forms of life insurance and financial products might be a better option. 

Occidental Life vs. Western & Southern Review

Occidental Life and Western & Southern both offer several insurance policy choices and many customizable riders on their policies. Western & Southern also sells universal index policies, giving you more opportunities to grow your policy’s cash value. Both Occidental Life and Western & Southern have good AM Best ratings, although Western & Southern has a much better complaint index. 

Some other key differences between Occidental Life and Western & Southern include:  

  • Western & Southern offers a 0% to 1% guaranteed interest rate on its permanent policies whereas Occidental Life offers a 1% to 2% guarantee. 
  • Occidental Life offers free riders like accelerated benefits and confined care coverage. 
  • Western & Southern offers other forms of financial planning like annuities, mutual funds, and investments, allowing you to do all your financial and retirement planning in one place. 
  • Western & Southern offers fully underwritten policies that might require a medical exam whereas Occidental Life offers simplified issue policies that usually just require a telephone interview. 

Read the full Western & Southern Life Insurance review.

  Occidental Life Western & Southern Life 
Types of plans Term, universal, whole Whole, term, universal, universal index
Customer service  Phone, email, fax, mail  Phone, email, mail online 
NAIC complaint index  1.72  0.05 
Optional riders available  Yes  Yes 
AM Best rating  A-  A+ 
Final Verdict

Occidental Life offers highly customizable term, whole, and universal life insurance coverage with riders that can guarantee your income in case of disability, cover medical expenses in case of terminal or chronic illness, and provide coverage if you are confined to a nursing home. Its coverage is highly customizable and relatively affordable, depending on your age. However, it doesn't offer any universal index life insurance policies with options for growing your cash value so it might not be the best for those looking to use their insurance policy as an investment vehicle. 

Occidental Life is a great choice for people who are looking to buy a simplified issue life insurance policy with flexibility around when you pay your premiums and a significant number of riders available to customize your coverage.

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.