Penn Mutual Life Insurance Review

Whole, term, and universal life policies with strong financial strength ratings

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Penn Mutual

Penn Mutual

overall rating
4.5

Our Take

Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company has a long history and a strong financial stability rating from AM Best. The company may be a good fit for consumers wanting a customized solution for their families, as it offers a full suite of life insurance policies and multiple riders.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Owned by policyholders

  • Wide selection of term and permanent life insurance policies

  • $100 million dividend payout to policyholders in 2020

  • A+ (Superior) financial rating from AM Best

  • Aa3 (High Quality) financial strength grade from Moody’s

  • A+ (Strong) credit rating from Standard and Poor’s

Cons
  • Online quotes not available

  • No online tools or calculators

  • Must use financial professionals or insurance agents to enroll

Key Takeaways
  • Seventh mutual life insurance company ever chartered in the United States.
  • Outstanding record of paying policyholders dividends every year since 1847.
  • $3.7 billion in total revenue and $286 million in net income in 2020.
  • Network of 9,000 financial professionals for assistance.
  • Penn Mutual offers term, whole, and universal life insurance products.
  • The company also offers variable, fixed, and immediate annuities.
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1847
  • Kinds of Plans Whole life, term, universal
  • Number of Plans 9
  • Payment Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually
  • Official Website https://www.pennmutual.com/

Introduction

Penn Mutual sells a broad selection of whole, term, and universal life insurance products along with a variety of annuity solutions. As its name suggests, the company is a mutual life insurance company which means it is owned by its policyholders. Penn Mutual has an impeccable record of dividend payouts to its policyholders.

We’ve examined Penn Mutual’s life insurance policies, riders, marketplace competitiveness, customer satisfaction ratings, and financial strength grades to help you compare the life insurance policy options of the insurer with the competition.

Company Overview

Penn Mutual was founded in 1847 in Philadelphia and is currently headquartered in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

Penn Mutual is a mutual insurance company that is accountable to its policyholders. It also offers policyholders the opportunity to receive annual dividend payouts. Although payouts are not guaranteed, Penn Mutual has a record of issuing payouts since its founding.

The company, which is licensed to conduct business in all 50 states, has $145 billion in assets under control and $150 billion of life insurance in force. 

The company offers nine term, whole, and universal life insurance policies and numerous riders so you can customize your insurance for you and your family.

Unfortunately, you can’t get a quote or purchase a policy online through Penn Mutual Life Insurance. Instead, you will have to meet with one of the 9,000 financial professionals that sell Penn Mutual Life Insurance’s insurance and annuity products.

Available Plans

You can choose from nine of Penn Mutual Life Insurance’s insurance policies to find the product that best suits your needs. It offers two term life policies, two whole life policies, and five universal life insurance products.

With many life insurance companies, the underwriting process can be quite extensive and may include a medical exam. By contrast, Penn Mutual offers an accelerated underwriting process that speeds up the process, and you do not have to take a medical exam.

Guaranteed Convertible Term

With this term life policy, you can protect your family or business for a term of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years while also guaranteeing your eligibility for lifetime (whole) protection in the future. And, when you convert your term policy to a permanent life insurance policy, Penn Mutual Life Insurance does not base your new policy premiums on your health at the time of the policy conversion but on your health when you purchased your term policy.

A convertible term life insurance policy may help those operating within a tight budget but who want the option for a whole life policy in the future without having to worry about being ineligible for health reasons.

Protection Non-Convertible Term

Penn Mutual Life Insurance’s Non-Convertible Term is affordable life insurance available in terms of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. The policy comes with level premiums that remain the same for the duration of your term. 

Your beneficiaries can receive the death benefit free from income tax obligations. That means they won’t have to wait for your estate to settle. 

Guaranteed Whole Life

This policy comes with three guarantees: A death benefit guaranteed for life, level payments that never increase, and cash value guaranteed to grow over time. The cash component is also available for you to use at any time for any reason.

Whole life insurance also offers you the opportunity to receive annual dividends. Although Penn Mutual Life Insurance warns that dividends are never guaranteed, its track record is pretty impressive. The company has paid dividends to policyholders every year since it was founded in 1847.

Survivorship Choice Whole Life

Like the Guaranteed Whole Life policy, this product delivers the protection of a guaranteed death benefit along with the opportunity for cash value accumulation. 

However, what makes this policy unique is that Penn Mutual Life Insurance offers this permanent whole life insurance policy for two people such as two spouses, two business partners, or another financial partnership.

Packaging coverage in this way may be a more affordable option for many consumers. Because the death penalty is only paid once both policyholders die, the policy premiums are lower than the combined cost of two similar individual policies.

Accumulation Builder Flex Indexed Universal Life

Indexed universal life insurance policies come with a death benefit along with a cash value component. With the Accumulation Builder Flex policy, the cash account is tied to the market performance of the S&P 500

Note

With indexed universal life products, the potential for cash value growth is based on changes in one or more stock market indexes. Generally, the better the market performs, the stronger your account grows.

Penn Mutual Life Insurance guarantees your account will receive a credit of at least 1% every year. Also, your account value can never decrease as a result of poor market performance. 

It allows you to customize your allocation options with a choice of five indexed accounts that earn interest following the S&P 500 Index performance.

Survivorship Plus Select Indexed Universal Life

Like the Survivorship Whole Life policy, this indexed universal life insurance packages protection for two people with a financial connection in one policy. An income-tax-free death benefit is only paid after the second death. 

Penn Mutual Life Insurance doesn’t give specific details or policy quotes, so it’s hard to gauge how much you can save in monthly premiums. The company states that premiums are “significantly lower than buying separate comparable policies for both people.”

Policyholders can choose from indexed or fixed account options to accumulate cash value. While you can access your cash account at any time, doing so could reduce the amount of your death benefit and cash value. It’s a good idea to speak with one of Penn Mutual's financial professionals for details before withdrawing cash.

Diversified Advantage Variable Universal Life

One of the primary advantages of a variable universal life insurance policy is that they allow you to choose how the cash value account accumulates money.

Penn Mutual Life Insurance’s Diversified Advantage Variable Universal Life policy gives 33 different allocation options including:

  • One fixed interest account
  • Three indexed fixed account options
  • Five variable asset allocation funds
  • Twenty-four variable investment options

Depending on your goals and level of risk tolerance, you could choose from one or more of these options to address your needs.

Guaranteed Protection Universal Life

Guaranteed Protection Universal Life is a simple but effective policy that delivers a guaranteed death benefit and a small cash value option to accumulate money in the event of an emergency. 

This universal life policy offers payment flexibility; you can make fixed payments for an amount and due date you set or you can pay your policy early and potentially lower your overall cost. 

Protection Universal Life

In comparing this policy with the Guaranteed Protection Universal Life policy, there doesn’t appear to be much difference between the two. Protection Universal Life may be more flexible, as you can customize your policy according to your budget and the number of years you would like a guaranteed death benefit up until age 100.

Penn Mutual Life Insurance also states you’ll receive an annual credit to enhance your cash value growth starting in policy year 11.

Available Riders

Riders are features you can use to customize your life insurance for additional benefits. Riders allow you to tailor your life insurance for your and your family’s unique needs.

Penn Mutual Life Insurance excels in this category, offering a robust list of optional riders for additional coverage and benefits. 

Note

Fees vary widely, depending on the policy and the options you choose, and they may not be available for every plan type.

Accidental Death Benefit

Penn Mutual Life Insurance offers an accidental death benefit rider on many policies. This rider increases the death benefits if the insured dies as a result of an accident.

Children’s Term Insurance Rider

This rider secures coverage for each child of the insured person’s immediate family until age 23. The children’s term insurance rider also covers each child to convert their term life insurance to a permanent policy that accumulates cash value. Any covered child can convert their policy on the policy anniversary nearest their 23rd birthday.

Disability Waiver of Premium Rider

The waiver of premium rider waives the regular premium payments in the event the insured becomes disabled.

Chronic Illness Accelerated Benefit Rider

The Chronic Illness Accelerated Benefit Rider is available with many of Penn Mutual Life Insurance’s whole life and universal life policies. The rider makes it possible for policyholders to access a portion of their death benefit if they become chronically ill, which may be helpful for those who need the early benefit to help pay for medical expenses.

Accelerated Death Benefit Rider

Penn Mutual Life Insurance offers this rider to allow terminally ill policyholders to access some of their death benefits before they pass. The insured must be able to prove they have a terminal illness with a life expectancy of one year or less and they must claim at least $10,000 but no more than $250,000 or 50% of the specified death benefit amount.

Guaranteed Increase Option Rider

This rider, which is available on several Penn Mutual Life Insurance universal life insurance policies, allows the policyholder to increase their coverage at certain ages and life events. Any policyholder age 40 or younger may increase their coverage without needing to submit medical evidence of insurability.

Customer Service: A National Network of Financial Professionals

Penn Mutual Life Insurance’s website does a good job of explaining its various policies online. However, if you have a specific question or if you would like to purchase a policy, you’ll have to contact a financial professional from their network or 9,000 representatives around the country. 

You can use the website’s locator tool to find a financial professional or agent near you. 

Important

Currently, Penn Mutual Life Insurance’s network does not have offices in all states, so if there are no offices near you, you must contact customer service.

You can contact the Client Services Center at 1-800-523-0650 for customer assistance Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET.

We did not see a contact form or live chat on their website to initiate customer support online although current policyholders can log into their accounts to see contact information for their financial professional.

Customer Satisfaction: Above Average

Every year the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) conducts a review of insurance company complaints and posts their results on their website. The data gives you a way to see which companies get more complaints than the national average, which is a complaint index score of 1.0.

Penn Mutual Life insurance’s complaint index score for 2020 is only 0.17, which is nearly six times lower than the national average for life insurance companies of its size. The scores for 2019 and 2018 are also very low, at .08 and .07, respectively. Although the 2020 score is higher than in previous years, the scores for each of the past three years reflect far fewer complaints to state regulators than the national average.

Financial Strength: A+ (Superior) 

In April 2021, AM Best affirmed Penn Mutual Life Insurance’s A+ (Superior) financial strength rating. According to the credit rating agency’s guidelines, an A+ rating indicates a “superior ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations.” Penn Mutual Life Insurance also enjoys an A+ Strong rating from Standard & Poor for the company’s ability to repay its debt. This mark ranks the fifth-highest among 22 ratings. 

With such high financial strength ratings, policyholders can feel confident Penn Mutual Life Insurance is a strong insurer that can deliver on its promise to provide death benefits to eligible beneficiaries.

Cancellation Policy: Contact Your Financial Professional 

Penn Mutual Life Insurance provides a “free look” period, which gives you the right to cancel your policy for free within 10 days after you sign up. For those wishing to cancel, documentation on the company’s website advises policyholders to deliver or mail the policy to the office or representative who provided the policy to them.

You can also surrender your policy at any time and Penn Mutual Life insurance will pay you the policy value minus any applicable surrender chargers or outstanding loans. This is often referred to as “net cash surrender value.”

If you need assistance canceling a policy, contact your Penn Mutual financial professional.

Price of Penn Mutual Life Insurance: Contact Financial Professional

Many companies provide a breakdown of their pricing on their websites. Unfortunately, Penn Mutual Life Insurance does not offer this information online. If you want accurate pricing details or rate quotes, you’ll need to speak with someone from their nationwide network of financial professionals.

Generally speaking, policy prices are determined by many factors, including age, health status, death benefit amount, and additional riders.

How Penn Mutual Life Insurance Compares to Other Life Insurance

If you’re looking for a reputable life insurance company, Penn Mutual checks a lot of boxes. The company is the seventh mutual life insurance company ever chartered in the United States, and it currently offers a full suite of term, whole, and universal life policies. 

Penn Mutual holds an A+ (Superior) rating for its overall financial strength and has rewarded policyholders with dividend payouts every year since its inception.

The insurer’s biggest downside is they don’t provide pricing information, online quotes, or the ability to enroll in a policy online. Rather, you must work with a financial professional or insurance agent for assistance.

Penn Mutual Life Insurance vs. National Life Group Insurance

We compared Penn Mutual Life Insurance and National Life Group Insurance, as they are both mutual life insurance companies with long histories of operations.

In terms of financial strength, National Group Life sports a below-average 0.29 complaint index score from the NAIC. By contrast, Penn Mutual Life Insurance’s complaint score is slightly better at 0.26. These scores present what is essentially a tie, and both scores are significantly better than the national average.

AM Best ratings have affirmed strong financial ratings for these two companies: A+ (Superior) for Penn Mutual Life Insurance and A (Excellent) for National Life Group.

While these long-established insurers perform similarly in many categories, Penn Mutual Life Insurance stands out in two areas: dividend payouts and product offerings. 

Penn Mutual Life Insurance has paid dividends to its customers every year since 1847. By contrast, we could not find a record of a recent dividend payout from National Life Group, except a company statement that dividend payments are generally declared.

And, while National Life Group covers the bases with five term, whole, and universal life policies, Penn Mutual Life Insurance offers a robust slate of nine total policies including five universal life insurance options.

Penn Mutual Life Insurance vs. National Life Group Insurance
  Penn Mutual Life Insurance National Life Group Insurance
Market Share 1.16% Not applicable
Number of Plans 9 5
Dividends for 2020 $100 million Not applicable
Service Method Financial professional Sales representative
Financial Strength (AM Best Rating) A+ (Superior) A (Excellent)
Price Rank N/A N/A
Complaints Trend 0.26 0.29

Final Verdict

Penn Mutual Life Insurance performs well in perhaps the most important categories for a life insurance provider: product offerings and financial strength. 

The company offers a wide variety of products and riders, increasing your odds of finding a policy that meets your needs. While they do not provide pricing information online, they include links to policy brochures that illuminate the small print. Unfortunately, if you want to review prices or get a quote, you must speak with a financial professional for assistance.

Insurance should provide you with peace of mind that your financial future is protected with a death benefit and cash value that will be there when you need it. Penn Mutual enjoys high marks from credit rating agencies like AM Best (A+ Superior) and S&P 500 (A+ Strong), indicating it can fulfill its financial obligation when the time comes.

Methodology 

All of our reviews of life insurance companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company based on product 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.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. AM Best. "A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company and Its Subsidiary." Accessed May 4, 2021.

  2. NAIC. "Complaint Index - Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company." Accessed May 6, 2021.

  3. S&P Global. “Ranking North American Life Insurance Companies, Strongest To Weakest.” Accessed May 6, 2021.