Colonial Penn Life Insurance
Colonial Penn Life Insurance company was founded in the 1960s and is a
subsidiary of the Conseco Group, a Fortune 500 company. Colonial Penn
Life Insurance and Conseco seek to offer affordable life insurance and
financial products to families and senior citizens.
Colonial Penn's offerings include: Term life insurance policies to issue
on people up to age 77; five-year renewable term insurance available to
age 75 with no medical exams necessary and with face amounts of $5,000,
$10,000, $15,000, $20,000, and $25,000 offered; twenty-year term life
policies will lock in premiums without a physical exam available to
people age 18 to 77; and accelerated death benefits which are available
in case of a terminal illness.
Colonial Penn was one of the first life insurance companies to offer
guaranteed acceptance life insurance--life insurance policies with small
face amounts, high premiums, and no medical exams required. Colonial Penn
Life Insurance marketing mainly targets senior citizens, people who have
health conditions that make them uninsurable by most other insurance
companies, and people with families to protect who are relatively late
getting life insurance into their financial plan. Colonial Penn uses
famous, older celebrities such as Ed McMahon and Alex Trebek featuring in
highly-produced, almost absurdly dramatized TV and radio commercials to
advertise its products.
Colonial Penn has been investigated and sued for charging outlandishly
high premiums that supposedly are not risk-justified or not fully
disclosed at the point of sale. The company does not receive the highest
ratings from independent insurance and financial institution ratings
agencies. Standard and Poor's gives them a mere BB+, and so does A.M.
Best give them just a B++. Fitchgives them a BBB and Moody's a Ba1; both
of those ratings are about the same as Best's.
For instance, Colonial Penn's $25,000 guaranteed acceptance 20-year term
life policy on a standard 38 year old male costs a "mere" $37 a month in
premiums. What's wrong with that? What's wrong is there are many other
life insurance companies that would give that same man the same
policy...except he would have $500,000 of death benefit. The difference
would be that for those other life insurance companies, those aren't
guaranteed acceptance policies--they would require a medical exam.
Guaranteed life insurance policies are usually a bad idea to start with--
only somebody with a health condition that's so bad that he can't get
life insurance in any other way should consider one. But Colonial Penn
pushes these policies as the greatest thing since sliced bread...and they
mainly market to seniors, people between the ages of 50 and 75. Using
celebrities to bolster their pitch, they play on older people's fears of
being uninsurable. They also play upon the sad fact that most seniors who
don't have a financial background are very ignorant about full financial
pictures, even if they own stocks and bonds. These people may believe
that all they need as far as life insurance goes is a "burial policy" to
finance their funeral.
Life insurance is not about just being buried--if you're going to buy a
policy for that purpose you'd be better off trying to make sure you have
enough real money in assets to cover that, instead. And even if seniors
have to pay higher premiums when they buy a new life insurance policy, if
they take a guaranteed acceptance policy they're not saving money at all-
-they're throwing it away. Most seniors are insurable, just at higher
premiums for the same death benefit than younger people of the same
gender have to pay. But those rates are still much lower than guaranteed
Colonial Penn agents might very well believe they are giving needy people
a good service, but if they do they have been had by their own company
and those expensive celebrity commercials. Few people would truly benefit
from these products.
The author lives with her husband in Maryland, with their two dogs and
cat. She put together the website http://www.affordable-life-insurance-
guru.com in order to help the everyday person navigate the often
confusing world of life insurance