American National Life Insurance Company Review

A Texas-based insurance company, American National Life Insurance is part of a wide-ranging insurance venture that writes many different kinds of insurance and operates just about everywhere in the United States, even a little bit beyond.

Officially known as American National Insurance Company, the company recently received an A (excellent) rating from the third-party independent financial services rating agency A. M. Best. The company also holds an AA- (very strong) rating from Standard and Poor’s.

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History and Structure

American National Life Insurance was founded in Galveston, Texas, in 1905 by the noted entrepreneur William Lewis Moody, Jr. The Moody family still owns a majority stake in the stock company. American National is a multi-line company, which means it sells property and casualty insurance products such as home and auto insurance in addition to life insurance.

American National Insurance Company is the flagship company of the larger AINCO concern. Other affiliated companies include Farm Family Companies, Garden State Life Insurance, Standard Life and Accident Insurance Company, American National Life Insurance Company of Texas (a health insurance company), and American National Reinsurance Company (reinsurance is in essence insurance for insurance companies).

American National Life Insurance is a truly national company. Although the company structure is different in New York state, a common practice among life insurance companies due to that state’s unique legal environment, American National licensed to do business in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and several American territories including American Samoa. The company is even licensed to sell life insurance to American military personnel stationed in western Europe.

Still headquartered in Galveston, the company’s life insurance is underwritten by American National Insurance Company and others except in New York, where it is underwritten by American National Life Insurance Company of New York. Garden State Life and Farm Family are also licensed in New York. Securities products are distributed by the Securities Management and Research, Inc. subsidiary.

Term Life

The following product discussions are intended to be a generic representation of the policies American National Life Insurance offers. Not all products may be available in every state as described. In addition policy features and underwriting requirements may change without notice. Consult with an American National Life Insurance agent for the most up-to-date information.

American National Life Insurance offers term life insurance through its American National, Garden State and Standard Life and Accident subsidiaries. These policies include options to convert to permanent life insurance and are renewable as term insurance up to age 95 after the initial term has expired. Available riders include waiver of premium, children’s term, spouse term and accidental death benefit. The company also offers no-physical term life insurance for face values of up to $250,000.

The American National ANICO Select Term is available in terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. An optional return of premium rider, in which the insured receives all premiums back without interest in a lump sum should he or she outlive the policy term, is available on the 15-, 20- and 30-year products.

If the insured’s death is ruled a suicide, in most states only the premiums will be refunded if death occurs within two years of policy issuance. After two years the full death benefit will be payable regardless of cause of death. This is known in the industry as an incontestability clause. It generally applies to all forms of life insurance. The two-year period is fairly typical of the clause industry wide in most states.

Whole Life

As with its term products American National Life Insurance offers whole life insurance through its American National, Garden State and Standard Life and Accident subsidiaries. The main whole life product offered by American National Life Insurance is the Affinity 7. It is available up to age 85 with standard and preferred underwriting classes for both smokers and non-smokers. A non-smoker “Preferred Plus” underwriting class is also available if one qualifies.

Like many whole life policies the Affinity 7 offers nonguaranteed dividend payments based on company performance. These dividends can be applied to cash value accumulation, additional paid-up coverage, premium reduction or direct cash payment to the policy owner.

Available riders include accelerated death benefit, paid-up additions, children’s and spouse term riders, term riders for the insured and an additional insurance option. A somewhat scaled down “qualified” version of the Affinity 7 is available for individuals who hold a 412(i) or 457 retirement plan, as well as for Montana residents.

Universal Life

Like most of its competitors, American National Life Insurance offers standard fixed universal life policies. The ANICO Executive SUL is a two-party survivorship UL policy that covers two individuals simultaneously. Survivorship policies are usually purchased by spouses or business partners in lieu of two separate policies. As with the whole life policies, special UL policies geared towards certain retirement plan holders are also available.

Introduced in 2009, the ANICO IUL is an indexed universal life insurance policy. The cash value on an IUL is tied to the performance of a stock index rather than a fixed account or separate accounts. Specifically the ANICO IUL is tied to the Standard and Poor’s 500, which is a common stock indexed used in indexed insurance products. Since the cash value is never actually invested in the index but is rather tied to its performance, which means the IUL is not considered a variable product.

Unlike some IULs, the ANICO IUL does not have a rate ceiling or a guaranteed minimum interest rate (GMIR), however it is guaranteed not to lose money. At worst the product would earn zero percent interest in a down market period.

American National Life Insurance variable universal life product is the WealthQuest III VUL . It employs third-party separate accounts managed by respected firms such as Alger, Federated, Fidelity, Invesco and T. Rowe Price.

Annuities and Other Products

American National Life Insurance features a wide range of annuities in both fixed and variable formats as well as single-pay and multiple pay options. Like its VUL counterpart, the WealthQuest III variable annuities offer separate accounts managed by respected third party asset management companies.

In addition to its traditional insurance products, American National also offers credit life policies on major purchases such as vehicles, health insurance and Medicare supplements, mutual funds and pension plan services.

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