Western & Southern Life Insurance Review

Customizable Term, Whole, and Universal Life Insurance Options

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Western & Southern Life Insurance

Western & Southern Life Insurance

overall rating
4.6

Our Take

Western & Southern Life offers term, whole, universal index, and universal life insurance options for individuals as well as a full complement of supplemental insurance sold through Western & Southern Life’s insurance agents and representatives to individual customers. Since it also offers annuities and other investments, it’s a good option for those who want to include insurance as part of their financial and retirement planning. 

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Universal life policies have flexible premiums

  • Some policies are guaranteed issue

  • Policies can earn dividends

  • Whole life premium options include a lump sum, limited payment, and level premium options

  • Offers mutual funds and 529 college savings plans

Cons
  • Must request a quote via a form

  • Some policies require a full medical exam

  • Term underwriting policy takes into account any dangerous hobbies

  • Few details about policy minimums or maximums on website

  • Term conversion comes with conditions

Key Takeaways
  • Western & Southern Life provides a significant number of life insurance options that can be customized for your needs in terms of term lengths, amounts, types of coverage, and payment options. 
  • The company allows you to choose from a selection of riders to add to your coverage such as accidental death riders or waiver of benefits riders.
  • Western & Southern Life does not offer auto or home insurance so you will have to buy your property and casualty insurance policies separately.
  • The company does allow you to invest, buy mutual funds, manage a 529 Plan, and purchase critical care and other types of supplementary insurance. 
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1888
  • Kinds of Plans Whole, term, universal, universal life
  • Number of Plans 6
  • Payment Options Mail, online, phone, automated payment, credit card
  • Official Website https://www.westernsouthern.com/wslife/products/life-insurance

Introduction

Western & Southern Life is an insurance, investment, and mutual company that offers whole, term, universal, and universal index life insurance policies over the phone, through a financial professional like a planner or broker, or an agent. It offers policies that are fully underwritten and might require a medical exam. 

We reviewed Western & Southern 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

Western & Southern Life is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, and grew from an insurance company to a diversified financial services company that now offers several product lines in a variety of insurance and financial services areas. The company aims its product offerings at "middle market clients" who need more sophisticated financial products and tailored services. 

Western & Southern Life is a member of the Western & Southern Financial Group and comprised of two separate companies: The Western and Southern Life Insurance Company and The Western-Southern Assurance Company. Although both fall under the same name, each manages and operates its own policies and is licensed for business in different states. They both offer the same basic policy options. 

The Western and Southern Life Insurance Company is not licensed for business in New York, Alaska, Maine, and Massachusetts. The Western-Southern Life Assurance Company is licensed in all states other than New York. 

Note that not all products are available in all states. 

Simplify your financial planning by considering a life insurance provider that also offers a full suite of life insurance and other financial planning or insurance products.

Available Plans 

Western & Southern offers universal, universal index, term, and whole life insurance policies.

Term Life Insurance

Western & Southern Life offers a term policy called Simple Choice Term Life Insurance. The premiums are level, which means that they will remain the same over a term of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. This policy also has a guaranteed death benefit during that period. You can choose your coverage amount starting at $25,000 to over $1 million. You also have the option to convert your coverage to a permanent life insurance policy five years after your policy is issued but before you turn 65 years. 

If you want more conversion choices, you have to choose the Enhanced Conversion option when you purchase your plan. This allows you to convert your term policy to a permanent policy for your entire term period but not after you turn 70. You can also choose to have your death benefit paid out via a monthly income stream called the Income Choice Term rather than in a lump sum. 

After the coverage period is over, you can renew the coverage annually and pay an increasing premium each year. 

Whole Life Insurance

Western & Southern Life offers three kinds of whole life insurance policies: Level Premium Whole Life policies, Limited Payment Whole Life policies, and Single Premium Whole Life policies.

Simple Choice Whole Life Policy

The Simple Choice Whole Life policy is a level premium or limited payment life insurance policy. It allows you to choose Simple Choice 20 ( premiums are payable for 20 years), Simple Choice 65 (premiums are payable up to age 65), or Simple Choice 100 premiums are payable up to age 100). With each of these policies, you determine how long you want to pay your premiums which in turn impacts how much your premiums cost every month. By spacing premiums out, you can reduce your monthly payments, but you could end up paying more in premiums over the life of your policy. 

This whole life insurance policy has the potential to earn you dividends or return some of your premiums, but this is not guaranteed. 

Superior Value Life Whole Life Policy

The Superior Value Life Whole Life insurance policy allows you two payment options: a limited premium policy for 20 years and a level premium policy up to age 100. This policy has fixed premiums and a fixed death benefit. You can customize your policy by adding additional riders and benefits, and it accrues cash value which can be used during your lifetime through loans or via riders that allow you to get access to the money in case you develop a chronic or terminal illness. 

Legacy Master Single Premium Whole Life Policy

The Legacy Master Single Premium Whole Life Insurance policy allows you to pay for your whole life insurance policy in a single premium lump sum. This allows you to put your entire investment into your insurance policy and then let your cash value grow. It helps you maximize your investment and is potentially a tax-efficient way to build your estate. 

Cash value accrues tax-deferred and then the death benefits are paid without going through probate. The death benefit of your policy is also guaranteed for life and you can access your cash value funds via a value surrender or a policy loan if you need them. 

Universal and Universal Index Life Insurance

Universal life insurance is a kind of permanent life insurance policy that gives you more control over how you use it to invest and build cash value. At Western & Southern, you can change your premiums or your death benefit after taking a universal life insurance policy out. Western & Southern Life offers a universal life insurance policy and a universal index life insurance policy. 

Ultra Life Universal Life

Western & Southern Life’s Ultra Life universal life insurance policy gives you the flexibility to choose a level death benefit or a death benefit that increases as the policy’s cash value increases. You can also increase or decrease the death benefit on this policy throughout your life. Your premiums build cash value which can grow tax-deferred and which you can access via a policy loan. 

There is not a lot of information about this policy on Western & Southern Life’s website, so you’ll need to contact a representative for more details. 

Expedition SIUL Universal Life

Western & Southern Life’s Expedition SIUL Universal Life policy is a universal life insurance policy that is focused on providing flexibility to build cash value and provide death benefit coverage for two people (this could include your spouse or your business partner). This survivorship policy pays out after the death of the second person and is less expensive than getting two policies, allowing you to potentially save money on your life insurance needs. 

It’s only available to people between the ages of 20 and 79 and is offered in face amounts that start at $100,000. When it comes to indexing your cash value, you can choose between one fixed and three indexed interest options that allow you to grow the value of your account. The policy guarantees a minimum of 2% interest will be credited if you have your cash value in the fixed account and guarantees either 1% or 0% in interest in its indexed accounts, depending on which index accounts you choose. 

Note that, although you are indexing your account to a financial index, your money isn’t invested directly in it so you won’t lose money if the index decreases. 

The Expedition SIUL Universal Life policy offers a flexible premium and some built-in benefits like an accelerated death benefit rider and a policy split option that allows you to split the coverage into individual universal life policies. It also offers a persistency bonus which gives you an additional amount of return on your cash value every year after your 11th policy year. 

Western & Southern Life’s policies are fully underwritten and might require a medical exam.

Available Riders

Western & Southern Life offers a variety of life insurance policy riders that allow you to get supplementary coverage, including the following: 

  • Accelerated death benefit rider: This rider gives you access to your death benefit early if you’re diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness. The amount you’re able to access in advance depends on the policy your rider is attached to. 
  • Accidental death benefit: This rider increases your payout in the event of accidental death. You can get additional coverage in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $150,000 and is only available for those between the ages of 0 and 55 years old. 
  • Children’s life insurance rider: With this rider, you can purchase term coverage for your children. 
  • Waiver of premium: Your premiums are waived if you become totally disabled with this rider.
  • Overloan protection rider: This rider protects you if you take out a loan on your permanent life insurance policy. 
  • Term rider: You can take out term insurance to supplement a permanent life insurance plan with this rider. 
  • Estate protection rider: This rider protects against estate taxes if the life insurance policy has to be transferred to a trust should both of the people insured on the survivorship plan die within three years of the policy being taken out. 

Riders cannot be added to all policies and might not be available in every state. To find out more about the costs of the riders, you will need to contact the company. 

Customer Service: Good Phone, Email, and Online Options

You can contact Western & Southern Life’s customer service hotline for questions and claims by calling 1-877-367-9734 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday, and 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET on Saturdays. 

You can also schedule to have them call you, send them an email, or contact them via their online site. 

Customer Satisfaction: Fewer Complaints Than Average 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) rates insurance companies based on customer complaints. If a company is given a rating of 1, that means that they have an average number of complaints. If their rating is below 1, then they have fewer complaints than the average and if they have a rating above 1, then they have more complaints than the average. 

Western & Southern Life has an NAIC complaint index of 0.05 which means that it receives far fewer complaints than its competitors. In total, they receive 0.008% of the national complaint market share. Many of the complaints received were for problems with paperwork and customer service issues. 

Financial Strength: A+ (Superior)

AM Best is an industry rating agency that provides ratings to help consumers determine the financial strength of companies. It looks at many factors to determine a company’s financial strength including things like its performance, balance sheet, and investments to analyze how financially healthy it is and how likely it is to be able to meet its future obligations. 

Western & Southern Life has an A+ (Superior) rating from AM Best. 

Cancellation Policy: Up to 30 Day Free-Look Period

Western & Southern Life offers a free-look period of up to 30 days on many of their policies. That means that after you sign up for a policy, you have 30 days to decide whether you want to keep it. If you cancel it during those 30 days, you’re able to get a full refund of your premiums and you won’t have to pay any cancellation fees. 

After that, Western & Southern Life does not state online what their cancelation fees are. Before you sign up for a policy, be sure to read the fine print so that you know how much it will cost you if you need to cancel.  

If you get a permanent life insurance policy from Western & Southern Life, you will want to know what their surrender policy is and how they calculate the surrender value of your policy. When you cancel, they will pay out the cash value of your policy to you. 

Price Of Western & Southern Life Insurance: Varies by Policy Type

You can obtain a quote by filling out a form on the Western & Southern Life website, but the actual price of your policy will vary based on policy type, age, gender, smoking status, general health, and other typical underwriting considerations.  

If you’re undecided about what type of policy to get, consider that the term plans will have the most affordable level premiums. You might be able to save on the total cost of your policy over the life of your policy by choosing a limited term for paying your premiums, even though your monthly premiums might be more expensive. Universal policies will allow you more flexibility about how much you pay and when but might end up costing more money overall if you’re trying to build your policy’s cash value. 

How Western & Southern Life Compares to Other Life Insurance

Western & Southern Life is a financial services company that offers several different kinds of financial products including annuities and mutual funds, but also offers whole, term, universal, and universal life coverage that you can customize. However, an insurer like Symetra might be a better fit for you. 

Western & Southern Life vs. Symetra 

Western & Southern Life and Symetra are both insurers that offer complex universal index policy options as well as a robust selection of other types of insurance. Western & Southern Life offers more life insurance policy options and Symetra offers a broader selection of other types of insurance offerings. Both have strong financial strength ratings, although Western & Southern Life’s rating is slightly higher. They both seem to be targeting a mid-range client group looking for more complex life insurance planning but who aren’t necessarily in need of complex wealth management services. 

Here are some other key differences between Symetra and Western & Southern Life:  

  • Symetra offers a guarantee of 2% interest on some of its indexed policies whereas Western & Southern Life only offers a 1% or 0% on the indexed portion of its universal index life policies. 
  • Symetra offers more riders to customize your coverage including a term rider and a charitable giving rider. 
  • Symetra offers supplementary and group insurance.
  • Western & Southern Life has more investment and financial planning options making it the better choice if you’re looking to go to one company for financial planning.
  Western & Southern Life Symetra
Types of Plans Whole, term, universal, universal index Term, universal, universal index, group
Customer Service  Phone, email, mail online Phone, email online 
NAIC Complaint Index  0.05  0.07 
Optional Riders Available  Yes  Yes
AM Best Rating  A+ 
Final Verdict

Western & Southern Life is a solid option for life insurance because it offers great insurance options with a lot of policy choices. Its customization options include unique premium payment options and riders. With Western & Southern Life, you can customize your coverage and also get all your financial planning needs met in one place. Western & Southern Life also has a very low complaint rating and a high AM Best rating, making it a good option. 

The one downside of Western & Southern Life’s policy offering is that they provide so many choices, it might be hard to sort through whether it makes sense to pay your life insurance over 20 years or in a lump sum. Working with one of their agents can help you make that choice based on your circumstances and preferences, although you might discover your needs are simpler and opt to work with a different insurer.

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.