American National Review
American National is a major insurance provider that offers personal and business coverage in a complete range of areas. Life insurance ranks among the company’s most popular products, and American National is a fantastic choice for consumers seeking a wide range of options. Its lineup of life insurance products is one of the most complete you’ll find on the market, and the well-established company has earned an excellent reputation for reliability.
With a legacy dating back more than a century, American National is one of the oldest continuously operating insurance companies in the United States. In some regions, it is better-known under the name ANICO, which is short for “American National Insurance Company.”
The American National story began in 1905, when cotton farmer William Moody, Jr. opened an insurance office in Galveston, Texas. Moody’s goal was to provide hardworking families with basic insurance products at affordable prices, and the company’s simple but effective business model caught on fast. Thriving through the difficult years of the Great Depression, American National continued to grow. It evolved into a regional provider, then a national one.
Today, American National operates in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the federal territories of Puerto Rico and American Samoa. Its workforce includes more than 3,000 people, and the company has about five million active and satisfied customers.
Life insurance plans
One of American National’s greatest strength is the depth of choice it offers. The company’s range of life insurance products is second to none, and includes coverage options in the following categories:
- Whole life: This class of life insurance provides lifelong protection, paying fixed benefits to beneficiaries. Policyholders also have the opportunity to receive dividend payments during their lifetimes.
- Term life: Flexible and affordable, American National’s term life products come in periods covering 5, 10, 15, 20, and 30 years. You can opt to receive benefits early to cover unexpected health-related costs, and you can also adapt your term life policy into a whole life policy if your needs or situation change.
- Universal life: A more adaptable type of lifelong coverage, American National’s universal life policies feature flexible premiums, flexible benefits, and a wide range of options (“riders”). You can also use them as loan collateral, leveraging some of its cash value as a way to borrow money if you need it.
- Indexed universal life: Accelerate the potential of your universal life policy by tying its value to a stock market index like the S&P 500. You can earn interest credits when the index rises without any risk, as American National will never apply negative interest in a falling market.
- Guaranteed universal life: Yet another flexible universal life option, this plan adds features that let you customize your death benefit period, add accelerated death benefits, or cash the policy out at a later time.
American National goes to great lengths to make sure it matches customers to the right insurance products for their situations. So, while customers are able to shop online to meet their coverage needs, live customer service representatives are more than happy to help you navigate your many options.
Terms and conditions
Because American National prides itself on meeting consumers’ needs at all stages of life, people of all ages are welcome to apply for its life insurance products. However, as with any insurer, your coverage limits, premiums, and eligibility are all tied to factors like your age and health status. American National maintains more flexible policies in this regard than many of its competitors, but there are a few particulars you should be aware of:
- For “no medical exam” coverage, customers can opt for an Xpress plan. To qualify, the policyholder must be 65 years old or younger. Coverage limits are capped at $1 million for people age 0-50, $500,000 for those between 51-60, and $250,000 for those aged 61-65.
- American National operates within multiple underwriting niches that deliver flexible health requirements for applicants age 61 and up.
- Advantageous rates remain available to occasional tobacco users, applicants with well-controlled sleep apnea or diabetes, and applicants with situational anxiety or depression.
Note that American National’s Xpress plans are available even to people with less-than-optimal health. Applicants can qualify without a medical exam by submitting requested health records for the company’s representatives to review. This is very rare in the insurance industry, especially for a major nationwide provider.
Pros and cons
No insurance company can rightfully claim they are the best option for everyone. All insurers have advantages and drawbacks, with pros and cons applying more to certain groups of consumers than others.
Here’s where American National excels:
- It is one of a very small number of major insurance providers that offers “no medical exam” coverage to applicants with suboptimal health and lifestyle-based risk factors
- Customers can add optional benefits or amendments (“riders”) for no extra charge
- Most consumers qualify for American National’s highly competitive and very affordable premiums
On the flip side, American National’s limitations include:
- Customers who enjoy very high levels of health and fitness don’t get meaningful reductions on their premiums, making specialized providers a better option
- American National places limitations on “no medical exam” death benefits that rank below some of its competitors
- As of November 2019, American National holds “A” ratings from A.M. Best and Standard & Poor, signaling very high levels of customer satisfaction and service excellence.
If you’re an adult in excellent physical condition and you’re seeking low-cost life insurance that delivers excellent benefits, there are specialized providers out there who are likely better able to meet your needs. American National’s market niche caters more to those whose health histories make it difficult to secure affordable coverage with no medical exams.
On the flip side, American National is very hard to beat if your lifestyle or health history includes risk factors that usually disqualify you from “no medical exam” coverage. It is also a fantastic option for consumers seeking a wide range of affordable choices, as the company’s product lineup is second to none.
Our verdict: American National is a strong option that will deliver excellent value to most consumers.