AmerUS Life Insurance Company Review

AmerUS Life Insurance Company has been a leading provider in life insurance policies in the United States. Their main website lets customers know that the company started in the year 1896 when it was founded as a Central Life Assurance Company. Although the company itself did not grow much from the start, through the span of the years it got the people needed to operate correctly and be successful at becoming a primary life insurance company in the United States. It was not until the year 1996 that the company actually acquired the name AmerUS Life Insurance Company and at that time they actually started to organize as a stock insurance company.

Things continue to grow and after the year 2000 they acquired Indianapolis Life Insurance and finally closed the year with an estimated $21.5 billion in assets. The big news about AmerUS took place in the year 2006 where AmerUS and Aviva Corporation signed an agreement under which Aviva acquired them and paid $69 per share in cash. This meant that all their operations would be combined and the business would have their headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa.

Life insurance in the United States is just starting to be a big thing. In the past nobody thought that life insurance was the right thing to get, and some people actually thought that it would be a waste of money to buy. With present events such as 9/11, Americans have come to their senses and have actually realized that accidents can happen to anyone at anytime and for that reason it is always better to be prepared.

With the market for life insurance increasing, it is not a surprise that more and more life insurance companies are being created. With so many companies it is hard to know which one of them is the best one for you. That is why a customer must always try and shop around either online or in person. If you locate a company that you think might be the one and when you compare its price to other companies you find that it’s not that expensive, and then you will feel much confident in signing with them.

When you try to log into the main website for AmerUS you will be directed to a letter from the Aviva Life Insurance Company. Since both of the companies combined and are being run under Aviva’s name it is important to know about them. Aviva is the world’s fifth largest insurance group and it is the biggest provider of life insurance in the United Kingdom. The company is huge and it employs about 58,000 people that serve an estimated 35 million customers around the globe. They are one of the strongest life insurance and long term service Product Company with assets of over $600 billion and more than $65 billion in sales. The company itself is based in London, England and its history can be traced back to the year 1696. This means that the company is over 300 years old and for this reason it has the recognition and world fame that not many other can claim.

AmerUs Life Insurance Company (now called Aviva Life and Annuity Company) offers many life insurance products that can help someone establish financial security for the future in case of an unexpected death. Some of the products offered by this company in the United States are Indexed Life Insurance, Universal Life Insurance, Single Premium Life, Indexed Survivor Universal Life, Level Premium Term Insurance and Excess Interest Whole Life Insurance.

Indexed Life Insurance: This type of life insurance allows people to have flexible payment options and death benefits. What is good about this type of policy is that it provides cash value accumulation based on how leading market indices grow. It is also good to note that this type of policy also protects the policy from the risks of a downside market and a drop in the indices. If you purchase what Aviva calls the “no Lapse Guarantee Rider” on your “Advantage Builder” part of the policy, the death benefit in the policy can be extended to the entire life of the person insured.

Universal Life Insurance: This type of life insurance is a very common type of permanent life insurance in the American market. This type of policy will actually specify the amount a beneficiary to the policy gets within certain minimum and maximum limits. This will allow the policy holder to actually buy the amount of life insurance that he or she prefers.

Single Premium Life: This type of policy is unique in that the person will only pay a single one time premium for a death benefit that will actually last a lifetime. This is primarily designed for individuals that have savings or that need cash when they have an emergency.

Indexed Survivor Universal Life: This type of life insurance company is one in which two lives are insured (more than likely a couple) and pays the benefit after the second person dies. In other words, if a husband dies before his wife; the policy will not be reimbursed to the beneficiary. It also has the potential to accumulate cash value that in the end will be given to the beneficiary after both people in the policy die.

Level Premium Term Insurance: Perhaps the most famous type of life insurance in the United States because it is not permanent. This type of insurance simply allows a policy holder to have protection for a specified period of time. In AmerUS (now Aviva) people can purchase 10, 15, 20 or 30 year term policies based on the needs that they have. This type of policy does not accrue cash value, but it will pay the beneficiary the amount that the policy holder purchases in case of the policy holder’s death.

Excess Interest Whole Life Insurance: There products are made to ensure that professionals, business owners, individuals and executives get what they need from the life insurance industry. What this type of policy does is give you fixed premiums and guarantees you death benefits.

As you can see AmerUS has gone far beyond what many life insurance companies have achieved. With the joint help of Aviva of North America, these two companies have taken the life insurance market in the United States to a whole new level. To decide if AmerUS and Aviva may be a good life insurance choice for your needs then be sure and carefully research your options with a licensed Aviva life insurance agent.

Top 10 Auto Insurance Companies Info

There are many qualities that make a company one of the top 10 auto insurance companies out there. Central to the qualities include level of customer service, policy price, level of deductible, and level of coverage. That being said, the top 10 auto insurance companies for one person may be totally different than the top 10 auto insurance companies of another person. What determines a good insurance company is your current needs. A driver who is need of minimum coverage will have a different top 10 than a person who needs full coverage. Whatever your need is, it is important to research at least 10 different auto insurance companies before making a purchase.

The easiest place to research car insurance providers is the internet. After you determine what your insurance needs are it is important to visit the websites of a few different companies. The information provided on the websites will allow you to formulate an opinion regarding how good the provider would be for you. On each website you can also request a free rate quote. Requesting several free rate quotes will allow you to compare them together. Once you have researched at least 10 different auto insurance companies you can begin to formulate a top 10 list given your current wants and needs.

Determining what the top 10 insurance companies are is up to each individual driver and their current situation. Since no situations are alike it is hard to say which companies are best. Your desired level of coverage and desired level of payment will allow you to formulate a top 10 list that works for you.

List of top 10 companies:

Allstate
Amica
Progressive
Geico
esurance
Safeauto
GMAC
Liberty
Nationwide
Erie Insurance.

What Type of Life Insurance Policy Should You Get

The primary purpose for getting life insurance will always be to protect the people you care about in case something were to happen to you. How much capital would you need in order to pay off debts, support your loved ones, or to take care of all your affairs?

After you understand what priorities you would like to protect through life insurance it is fairly easy to determine the correct amount of coverage.

What Type Of Life Insurance

The next question is what type of coverage will best serve your needs. In order to get the right amount of coverage you also have to make sure that the premiums fit comfortably into your budget.

Term Insurance Benefits

Term insurance is less expensive than whole life insurance, because you are renting the insurance. Your coverage is considered pure insurance in this case, because it doesn’t develop cash value or participate in company dividends.

Instead it allows you to get the right amount of protection for the least expensive premiums available. Term insurance has also developed over the years to offer more comprehensive options. You can get a return-of-premiums policy where you pay more during the life of the policy, but the insurance company refunds all of your premiums at the end of the fixed term.

There are also term policies that allow you to lock in your age and health for the remainder of your life, so that you can have the coverage and premiums locked in for the rest of your life. This is a great and inexpensive way to obtain permanent insurance.

How Long Should You Lock In Your Premiums

The longer you can lock in your premiums the more advantageous it will be in the long run. The insurance company takes into consideration the mortality risk during the level period of the term. If you are 35 and you get a level 20-term policy then the rates will be fixed until you are 55. And because you are locking in the premiums at a younger age, the average risk and rates will be less than if you were to lock in your premiums at 55.

Most people have an insurance need that will last throughout the rest of their lives. If you can permanently lock in a portion of your insurance at a younger age this can save you substantially on premiums. It happens quite often where people will have to apply for new coverage after the fixed rates on their current policy have expired, and because they are now older and have to pay much more in premiums.

Your health is also locked in when you first take the policy out. Many people looking for insurance in their fifties or sixties are dealing with some type of medical condition that makes the cost of life insurance double or triple in cost. The same logic that applies to locking in your age is also good to keep in mind when locking in your health. We don’t know what is going to happen to us, and if we have our insurance locked in then our insurability and premiums will be unaffected by a medical event.

Level Term Insurance

I always recommend getting a level-term policy as opposed to one that will start off lower and increase premiums each and every year. The level term policies allow you to lock in your age and health for the remainder of the term, whereas the increasing-premium policies become more expensive every year based on your new age.

Because term insurance is a less expensive way to get the right amount of protection, I believe that it is the right choice for a large majority of people looking at life insurance.

Cash Value Life Insurance: When To Consider It

First A Word Of Caution About How The Life Insurance Industry Operates

An agent who pushes one company above the others is doing his or her clients a disservice. Every company has its positives and negatives and each company has focused on certain demographics to try to create a competitive edge. There are 17 life insurance companies in the fortune 500 alone. These companies have very similar investment portfolios and conduct business in ways that are more common than not. Eight of these companies are mutual, nine are stock companies, and they all operate in order to make a profit. The most important thing that anybody can do is to have an agent who can help them shop the market for the company that is going to fit their needs best. Somebody that is a smoker with high blood pressure is going to have better options outside of the companies that target nonsmokers without health conditions. Finding the least expensive company on the market for your age and health can save you thousands of dollars.

I used to work for an insurance agency where we only sold a single triple-A-rated-insurance company. When I worked for this agency, my fellow agents and I were especially inculcated with the benefits of this company’s whole life insurance. This situation is not unique.

Captive agencies have managers that groom agents to push one company because they get paid commissions when their agents sell these products. Please don’t assume that life insurance agents are experts on the benefits of different companies and types of insurance plans, because many of them are unaware of the benefits beyond their own company. Instead of consulting their clients and shopping the market they push a single product that doesn’t always match up well. There are far too many people being given advice from agents to consider whole life insurance, because they are trained to present the same products to every client.

When You Are Considering An Insurance Company It Will Always Be Advantageous For Some People And Ill Advised For Others

If you sit down with an agent who goes over a list of benefits about a single insurance company, keep in mind that most benefits are really trade-offs. For instance, if a company is a triple-A rated insurance company than they are probably also more conservative with whom they insure. A triple-A rating is great, but it is really only necessary if you plan on participating in the companies dividends, or in other words buying their whole life insurance. There is no need to pay extra money for the privilege of having a triple-A rated company as many agents insist. A.M. Best considers a company with an A-rating to be in excellent financial health and there are many A-rated companies with less expensive insurance offers if you are not planning on participating in whole life.

When Whole Life Insurance is a Good Idea

For some people, whole life insurance can be a great complement to their financial security. I have sold whole life insurance based on the following benefits.
1) It has a guaranteed return that will consistently build up the cash value in the policy.
2) It gives policyholders permanent insurance so that they are insured throughout their lifetime.
3) It allows them to stop paying premiums after a certain number of years, because the dividends from the company will be enough to keep the policy in force.
4) It allows policyholders to take cash from the policy in the form of a loan, so that you have another option if liquidity is needed.
5) The growth of the policy is tax deferred and tax-free as long as long as the policy is kept in force.

The problem can be that many of these benefits point to life insurance as an asset or investment. Life insurance should always be considered for the death benefit first and foremost. If you have already maxed out both your Roth Ira and 401(k), have at least three months of expenses in accessible savings, and are looking for something else to build up savings then whole-life insurance can be a good option. The point is that whole life insurance is a good choice when you have the ability to max out your qualified retirement funds and are looking to complement your savings with a conservative tie in to your life insurance.

Whole life can be a mistake for a couple of reasons

There are risks when putting your money into whole life insurance. The risks aren’t always clearly explained, because the agents focus on the guaranteed dividends that will grow the cash value every year. However, one significant risk is buying into whole-life insurance, paying the premiums for a number of years, and then not being able to keep up with the premiums down the road. Life insurance companies bank on this happening to a certain percentage of policyholders.
If this occurs you are in danger of losing thousands of dollars in paid premiums without the benefit of accumulating any cash value. When a policy lapses or you can’t keep up with whole life premiums then the insurance company will retain your premiums without you having any cash value built up or any insurance in force.
These whole life polices are structured to have large front end expenses and it will take at least a couple of years before your premiums start to build up cash value. It takes about ten years before the amount of premiums you put into the policy will equal the cash value in the policy.

How Cash Value In Whole Life Insurance Works

The other risk with whole life insurance is not understanding how the cash value in the policy works and taking out too much of it. The cash value in the policy is liquid, but the insurance company will let you take out about 97% of it in order to protect against the policy lapsing. Any cash that is taken out of the policy is loaned from the policy at interest.

Lets assume that you are in the first 20 years of your whole life policy and are taking a loan from the cash value in the policy. The loaned interest rate is 8.0 %, the non-loaned dividend interest rate is 6.85%, and the loaned-dividend interest is rate is 7.9 %. Notice that the insurance company steps up the interest rate on the loaned amount or the amount borrowed from your cash value. This mitigates the cost of the loan, but the loan still creates an ongoing obligation to pay interest. For instance the cost of borrowing here would be 6.95 %.

(The loaned interest rate (8.0 %) + (the non-loaned dividend interest rate (6.85%) – the loaned-dividend interest rate (7.9%)) = cost of borrowing (6.95%).

The cash value in the policy is really a double-edged sword, because it leads to a significant risk that you will not be able to keep up with the premiums. It is practically intended for people who can repay the loan quickly so that the policy continues to develop dividends instead of an obligation to pay interest. It is great for people who aren’t ever tempted to borrow from the policy, because the dividends will compound and eventually be able to cover the cost of annual premiums. When this occurs the risk of lapsing will be negligible. However, this takes quite some time to achieve and it truly depends on how disciplined you can afford to be with the additional cost of these premiums. If you would rather have control of your money up front there is an argument that you can buy term and invest the rest instead of leveraging the insurance companies general fund.

Your Personality Profile And Budget Must Be In Line

I recommend taking a look at both your budget and how much control you want over your money for at least the next ten years if you are considering whole life. Because term insurance can now permanently lock in your age and health in the same manner as whole life insurance, the biggest question is whether or not you want control over investing the difference in premiums. Many people prefer whole life insurance because they don’t have to think about investing the difference; the insurance company does it for them. They can also grow their death benefit by the amount of growth in cash value and act as their own creditor if they ever want to borrow cash from the policy.

A Couple Other Points About Whole Life Insurance

The cash value component in a whole life insurance policy needs to be addressed. The first is that cash value is based on compounding dividends. So the longer you keep the paying premiums the more advantageous it is. The second is that if you go with a reliable insurance company they will usually pay non-guaranteed dividends that are based on the results of an insurance companies investments. This is when rating is important to consider, because you are now participating in these dividends. Also if you have allowed the cash value to grow and take out modest loans from the policy later in life, you will most likely have enough in dividends to keep pace beyond the ongoing obligation of interest. However if you do surrender the policy the gains will be taxed as capital gains and you will have to pay a surrender charge as well. If the policy is in force and you pass away while there are still outstanding loans, the death benefit will be paid out after it covers the cost of the loans that you have taken from the policy.

Term Insurance Vs. Whole Life

I believe the most important factor in all of this is the human element. If you are patient, conservative, and comfortably able to continue paying premiums without the temptation to borrow from the cash-value then you are a good candidate for whole life insurance. The majority of people have fluctuating budgets and circumstances where they are better off with something that locks in their age and health and gives them the opportunity to invest the difference elsewhere.