American Income Life Insurance Company: Are They Legitimate?
Disclaimer: Policy Architects has no affiliation with American Income Life Insurance Company (AIL). We quote plans from traditional life insurance companies who compete with AIL. This brief and detailed article is intended to provide you with information to help guide your purchasing decision.
American Income Life Insurance is a legitimate "A" rated carrier. To be quite honest though they're not the most affordable option on the market nor am I a big fan of their MLM model. If you are looking for term or final expense coverage, I'm sure you can find a more affordable option elsewhere.
James Heidebrecht - Founder of Policy Architects
Have you ever heard of the American Income Life Insurance Company? I hadn’t until I recently came in contact with a client who just purchased a funeral insurance policy through them.
She reached out to me to review her coverage and provide her with other quotes. She felt the salesperson was very pushy and she wasn’t sure she could afford the monthly premium moving forward.
Needless to say, we reviewed her AIL insurance policy and were able to find similar coverage with another carrier, Canada Protection Plan. The best part? Her new final expense policy has superior guarantees and cost 40% LESS!
This experience inspired me to find out more about this U.S. carrier operating in Canada. I decided to research and write a review to provide information that may help you decide if American Income Life Canada is the right company for you.
A Few Words About American Income Life Insurance Company
Headquartered in Waco, Texas, American Income Life operates in the U.S., Canada and New Zealand. According to legend, AIL was founded in Minneapolis in 1951 by Bernard Rapoport with $25,000 of borrowed money.
In a relatively short period of time, American Income Life generated $1 million in hospital insurance premiums and expanded operations across the U.S.
By 1961, AIL focused the core of its business on selling life insurance products to labour unions, credit unions and large scale associations. This is where the focus of their business still remains today.
American Income Life does a fantastic job of endearing themselves to these groups and has been doing so for decades.
Some of their strategies for building relationships include:
- Sponsoring union and association events like “family fun days”, etc.
- Picket line visits and donations
- Waiving policy premiums during lawful strikes
- Scholarship programs for families of union members
- Offering groups no-cost Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage
- Monetary contributions
- Gift of a free child safety kit
Due to the continued support of union and association members, AIL received an official ‘Union Label’ from the American Federation of Labor in 1973.
American Income Life Canada is owned by Touchmark Corporation. Touchmark is a publicly-traded company which owns a number of small insurance companies that have amalgamated over the years…but are still operate under their original names.
Some of these include Globe Life Insurance, Liberty National and National Income Life in New York. American Income Life operates regionally through agencies that rely heavily on recruiting people to sell their products.
American Income Life Insurance: Financial Ratings
American Income Life has total assets in excess of $4.5 Billion and has more than $65 billion of life insurance in force. As of 2019, they highly-rated by three well known independent rating agencies:
- A.M. Best: A+ (Excellent)
- Standard & Poor’s: AA- (Good)
- Fitch: A+ (Excellent)
Suffices to say, consumers should feel safe paying their premiums to AIL as they are financially secure and it looks like they will be around for decades to come.
American Income Life Reviews - What Do Customers Think?
American Income Life has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 1952. Based on 299 reviews, their average rating is 2 stars out of 5.
“Zero stars! I plan to cancel my policy with them [AIL] asap because they continue to HARASS me with phone calls – supposedly to ‘update me about my policy’, but their true intent is to try to get me to buy MORE insurance”
The majority of negative reviews seem to come from consumers complaining agents are too aggressive…
…or from recruited AIL agents who feel like they are exploited.
On Yelp, American Income Life doesn’t’ fair much better. Out of 224 reviews divided between San Diego, Waco and Honolulu, American Income Life averages 1.5 stars out of 5.
Buyer Beware Reviews Are Unpredictable
It should be noted that only 2% of consumers leave online reviews for goods or services they purchase. The more unhappy you are, the more likely you are to spend the energy to leave a bad review.
Negative online reviews are synonymous with Insurance Companies…
….and they shouldn’t be the only thing you look at when deciding whether American Income Life is the right company for you.
According to Wikipedia, “in 2012, American Income Life Insurance Co. sued Google, Inc. and the unnamed owners of two websites for featuring unflattering results and reviews for the company in the top page of search results.”
Is American Income Life A Legitimate Company?
American Income Life is a totally legitimate, financially solid company that sells life insurance products. I can find NO evidence that their coverage is a scam.
Unfortunately they do seem to leave many unhappy consumers and insurance agents in their wake.
Similar to Primerica, American Income Life Insurance is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company. Their focus is more on recruiting agents than selling insurance policies.
All agents rely 100% on commission which is pretty standard in the insurance business. But it seems that their recruitment process is designed to make prospects think it’s a real job interview with a salary. Unfortunately, they also have to pay a fee upwards of $400 to join AIL.
Independent agents are always paid through commissions – but we don’t try and recruit people to become agents and sell insurance unless we are launching an agency.
Similar to life insurance brokers everywhere, most American Income Life agents quit within six months and leave having spent more money than they earned. Surprise, surprise.
MLMs all follow a pyramid structure in which the people at the top (known as uplines) make tons of money off the sales commissions of the people they’ve recruited to work underneath them (their downlines). In fact, these businesses rely heavily on recruiting new members, who are mostly women, targeting stay-at-home moms, military wives and others under the guise of financial empowerment.
American Income Life Insurance Products
AIL seems to have a wide and convoluted selection of insurance products. There is a lot of overlap and frankly, a serious lack of information on their web site.
So let’s take a gander at what I found thus far.
Term Life Insurance
Term insurance is the most popular type of life insurance and offers protection for a temporary period of time. The most common periods are term 10, term 20 and term 30.
AIL’s term coverage has the following features:
- Guaranteed rates for the length of the term
- Renewable and convertible to permanent insurance within prescribed limits
- Terminal Illness Rider – if the doctor says you only have 12 months left to live, AIL pays out 50% of the death benefit
American Income’s term coverage also underpins their Family Protection insurance suite:
- Education Protection – term insurance to cover kids college bills if you die
- Head Start Program – life insurance for kids age 0-17
- Mortgage Protection Insurance – term insurance to cover your mortgage
- Protect Your Children – Term or whole life for kids over the age of 17
- Monthly Income Protection – term insurance to replace your income
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life is a type of permanent life insurance which has a cash value component. That means the investment account inside your policy grows in value over time.
Whole life by American Income Life is designed to provide coverage until the day you die. Most importantly, the monthly cost is guaranteed to never increase over the life of the policy and the coverage cannot be cancelled due to any change in your age or health.
Permanent life insurance products are more expensive because there is a guaranteed payout.
Final Expense Insurance
AIL’s final expense coverage is a small whole life insurance policy designed to take care of funeral costs when you pass away. The death benefit is paid out directly to your family and they have the freedom to choose the funeral provider and the specific services they want.
American Income Life’s Freedom of Choice Certificate allows your beneficiary to have policy proceeds paid directly to the funeral home. This removes a substantial burden on your family, allowing them to grieve without the stress of making preparations.
Accidental Death Insurance
AIL accidental death insurance pays out a benefit for accidental death and dismemberment. It also helps with the cost of hospital stays as a result of said accident.
Please note that the odds of you having an accidental death after the age of 30 are infinitesimally small. I would only recommend one of these plans to someone with a hazardous occupation.
Critical Illness Insurance
Critical illness insurance (CI) is designed to pay a one-time, lump-sum benefit when you develop a serious condition as laid out in your policy. There are no restrictions on how you spend the money whether it be to cover lost income or supplement the health care you’re receiving.
In reality, it may be difficult to qualify for this benefit based on the insurance companies’ narrow definitions of what constitutes a critical illness.
AIL’s critical illness plan covers the following situations:
- Heart attack
- Kidney failure
- Major organ transplant of heart, lung, liver, kidney, pancreas, or bone marrow
- Total loss of eyesight and/or hearing
If you’re thinking about buying CI coverage, make sure you read my post here first.
American Income Life’s cancer insurance is a form of critical illness coverage which pays out a one-time, lump-sum benefit when the insured is diagnosed with life-threatening cancer.
50% of North Americans develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. The majority of them survive but how will their finances fair? AIL’s cancer insurance benefit allows you to focus on getting better rather than on financial stress.
No-Cost Child Safe Kit
Endorsed by the International Union of Police Associations, American Income’s No-Cost Child Safe Kit is a tool designed with your child’s safety in mind. It helps document your child’s fingerprints, a recent photo, and a simple description to aid authorities.
The best part? American Income Life Insurance provides these kits for free!
It should be noted that these free child safety kits are key to AIL’s marketing strategy. If you’re in a union or association that has any affiliation with American Income Life, you may receive a letter saying that you can sign up for AIL’s no-cost accidental death coverage and child safety kits.
REQUEST YOUR NO-COST CHILD SAFE KIT TODAY!
This is a tactic that American Income Life uses to come to your home and sell life insurance products. There’s nothing illegal about this practice, many companies do it, but as a consumer you should be aware.
“They offered a free child safety kit. I gave them our address. Instead of mailing it, they send a rep out to do a sales pitch for life insurance. And I found out it is multi-level marketing!!! And they didn’t bring any child safety kit, either. False advertising.” Yelp Reviewer
Rates & Application Process
There is very little information on their site aillife.com OR on the internet in general about their application process. It likely involves sitting through an hour-long presentation in your home, although that may have changed recently as a result of COVID-19.
Why is there so little information available to consumers about American Income Life’s application process and the specific rates you can expect to pay?
According to one applicant, when queried, her AIL agent told her, “they [American Income] don’t advertise because this product isn’t available for just anyone.”
Hmmmm now that just isn’t true.
American Income Life Insurance - Pros
Great Financial Rating
American Income Life Insurance is 'A' rated by three major rating agencies: A.M. Best, Standard & Poors and Fitch. This solid financial rating is a good indication that AIL is very solvent and will weather any economic storm. If you’re an American Income Life policyholder, sleep well knowing that if God forbid, something happens to you, AIL will pay out your family’s claim guaranteed.
American Income Life Insurance - Cons
American Income Life agents are recruited to ONLY SELL AIL products. If you’re interested in quotes from multiple carriers, they won’t be able to help you accomplish this. Not to mention, many captive American Income Life brokers are focused more on recruiting than selling life insurance.
Always work with an experienced independent life insurance agent who has access to the best life insurance companies in Canada.
American Income Life is an MLM
Many legitimate companies that sell great products use or have structures that resemble multi-level marketing. Personally, I don’t feel this structure puts the needs of clients first.
Poor Customer & Agent Reviews
The internet is littered with bad and questionable AIL reviews written by unhappy clients and disgruntled agents. As I mentioned earlier in this post, online reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt and put in context.
A minority of consumers make the effort to leave a review (something like 15 in 1000), reviews are difficult to verify and anyone - whether they’ve used a product or not - can leave a review.
That being said, the sheer volume of negative online reviews directed towards American Income Life has to be acknowledged.
Lack of Transparency and Information Online
There is a severe lack of information about American Income Life Insurance products online. For example, there’s no specific description about what term lengths they offer or the specific features of their whole life insurance.
Does AIL’s term insurance come with standard renewal and conversion options? Likely, but their website doesn’t provide any details whatsoever.
It’s 2020 and never in the history of the world has there been so much technology to spread and communicate information. It’s estimated roughly 1.7 billion people use Google everyday to search for expertise and product info.
How can any major company operating in the 21st century afford not to be using these tools? Consumers are more sophisticated than ever and many like to research online before making a purchase. Corporations like American Income Life have a unique opportunity to provide information and shape the message they want consumers to see.
Is American Income Life Insurance Company Right For YOU?
Hopefully, our American Income Life Insurance review has given you some helpful information about a carrier that is little known in Canada.
My only experience with this company has been helping a client replace her final expense policy with something 40% cheaper.
Although AIL isn’t scamming anyone, they are not a company I feel comfortable recommending to clients.
Life Insurance Companies are NOT Created Equal
Is AIL the right company for your insurance needs? My guess is we can probably find you a better fit. If you read any of my reviews you will see a common thread – insurance companies are NOT created equally.
Each one has their strengths and weaknesses.
That’s why these reviews are always a mixed bag. In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as a BAD review unless you are dealing with a fly by night company and I am not going to even waste my time with those.
So while American Income Life may be a company to consider, my guess is we can find you better coverage.
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