Transamerica Life Insurance Company Review
History of Transamerica
In 1904, Amadeo P. Giannini started Transamerica to help make financial services available to everyone.
You probably know Transamerica from its distinctive pyramid building in San Francisco, which used to be the location of its headquarters.
Today, Transamerica offers life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, and more.
And while Transamerica has solid ratings and financials, there’s more to the company than just that.
In our experience, we work with many life insurance companies, and Transamerica used to be a favorite until they fell out of favor in 2021 due to operational problems.
Recently, Transamerica made some improvements, so we are cautiously working with them again because they offer competitively priced policies.
Life Insurance Policies Offered
Transamerica offers a variety of life insurance policies to meet your needs, including:
Transamerica Term Life Insurance
The Trendsetter Super Series and Trendsetter LB are term life insurance products Transamerica offers.
The Super Series is your low-cost term life policy, while LB stands for Living Benefits that may interest you.
As we mentioned, three of the Pros that Transamerica offers are:
Coverage amounts start at $25,000 – This is rare for term life insurance, as most companies start at $100,000. Assurity and Illinois Mutual are the others.
Prices are based on actual age – Most companies consider you the next age when you are within six months of your next birthday, while Transamerica, Prudential, and Mutual of Omaha use your actual age.
Term life conversions for older ages – Transamerica allows conversion to age 75 (subject to product rules) if you decide to convert your term life to permanent insurance. Most other companies stop at age 70.
Super Series vs. Trendsetter LB Comparison
|Term Length Years||YRT|
|Term. Illness Accel. DB||Yes||Yes|
|Accidental Death Benefit||Yes||Yes|
|Children’s Insurance Rider||Yes||Yes|
|Monthly Disability Income||No||Yes|
|Chronic Illness Accel. DB||No||Yes|
|Critical Illness Accel. DB||No||Yes|
Later in this article, we highlight the underwriting differences between these products. The LB series is more strict with underwriting.
Trendsetter Super – Consumer Guide
Trendsetter LB – Consumer Guide
Term Life Insurance Prices
Sample Pricing – Male, Preferred Plus rate, CA – Annual Premium for $1,000,000 – 20-year term life insurance.
|Age||Trendsetter Super||Trendsetter LB|
Sample Pricing – Female, Preferred Plus rate, CA – Annual Premium for $1,000,000 – 20-year term life insurance.
|Age||Trendsetter Super||Trendsetter LB|
Final Expense Solutions
Transamerica offers three final expense (burial insurance) products for you.
The Immediate Solution and 10-Pay Solution offer full death benefits starting on Day One.
Notably, the Easy Solution product offers a graded death benefit during the first two years of the policy.
|Description||Immediate Solution||10-Pay Solution||Easy Solution|
|Face Amounts||Minimum – $1,000|
Ages 0-55 – $50,000
56-65 – $40,000
66-75 – $30,000
76-80 – $25,000
|Minimum – $1,000|
Ages 0-55 – $50,000
56-65 – $40,000
66-75 – $30,000
76-80 – $25,000
|Minimum – $1,000|
Maximum – $25,000
|Death Benefit||Day One||Day One||2-Year Graded|
Additional benefits for the Immediate Solution and the 10-Pay Solution include accelerated death benefits for nursing homes and terminal illnesses. Availability varies by state.
In addition, the Immediate Solution has riders for accidental death, and children and grandchildren benefit riders.
Transamerica charges $2 for every $1000 of coverage per child. Compare that to a company like Wellabe that charges $1 monthly and covers all children.
Final Expense Solutions – Consumer Guide
Sample Pricing – Immediate Solution Policy – CA rates
Sample Pricing – Easy Solution Policy – CA rates
We’ll compare other companies offering similar policies and underwriting so you can make an informed decision.
Transamerica Whole Life Insurance
Transamerica Lifetime Whole Life is a non-participating insurance policy. Non-participating means that dividends are not paid.
Premiums are payable up to age 100, or you may choose a shorter payment duration between 10 – 30 years.
|Issue Ages||15 days – Age 80|
|Face Amounts||$25,000 – $2,000,000|
|Premium Payment Periods||Level to age 100|
10 years level
20 years level
30 years level
|Maturity Age||Age 121|
|Riders Available (availability varies)||Accidental Death|
Lifetime Whole Life – Consumer Guide
A number of life insurers offer whole life insurance. If you need a comparison, we’ll show you the companies available and how those companies compare to Transamerica.
Transamerica Index Universal Life
Transamerica offers two options if you’re looking for index universal life insurance.
The Financial Choice product is for affluent clients, and the Financial Foundation product is for middle-market consumers.
|Issue Ages||18-85||0-85 (75 in FL)|
S&P 500 Index
S&P 500+ Index
|Riders – (Availability Varies)||Accidental Death|
Long Term Care
Financial Choice IUL is for wealthy clients who have maxed out all their retirement options and still want to put away more money.
Financial Foundation IUL is for middle-market clients who want permanent life insurance that offers the potential for cash value accumulation, living benefits, and possible supplemental retirement income.
Index universal life insurance (IUL) is a complex product that requires full product illustrations that we will provide to you.
Riders Offered by Transamerica
The following are general descriptions of riders.
Your state of residence determines availability and rider details.
We’ll provide full illustrations if you consider any of these options.
Terminal Illness Rider
Terminal Illness Accelerated Death Benefit – This rider accelerates a portion of the death benefit if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Doctors expect death within 12 months.
There is no cost for the rider, but you pay an administrative fee if you use it.
Available with Super Series and LB Series policies.
You can accelerate up to 100% of the death benefit or $1.5 million, whichever is less.
The minimum amount you can accelerate is $5,000.
Accidental Death Rider
Accidental Death Benefit Rider – If the face amount of your policy is less than $200,000, the maximum rider is equal to the policy face amount x 2.5 or $200,000, whichever is less.
If your policy is $200,000 or greater, the maximum rider is the face amount of your policy or $300,000, whichever is less.
Children’s Insurance Rider – Available for children aged 15 days to 18 years.
Coverage expires on the child’s 25th birthday.
Policy amounts from $1,000 – $25,000 are available.
You can convert the child rider to a permanent insurance policy for up to 5 times the rider amount or $50,000, whichever is less.
Disability Waiver of Premium Rider – If you become disabled for at least six months, this rider will waive premiums.
Interestingly, Transamerica waives the premiums during disability and retroactively from the beginning of the disability.
This rider comes with an additional cost.
Trendsetter LB Riders
Monthly disability income rider (MDI) – This rider is available with the Trendsetter LB policy.
This rider provides a monthly income for up to 24 months if the insured is totally disabled and qualifies.
Available with the 15, 20, 25, and 30-year term policies.
It is not available for the 10-year term.
The minimum benefit is $300 per month.
The maximum benefit is the lesser of $2,000 per month or 2% of the base policy’s initial face amount, not exceeding 66% of gross monthly income.
Additional limitations may apply.
LB Chronic Illness Rider
Chronic Illness Accelerated Death Benefit Rider – This living benefit rider becomes available if you cannot perform at least 2 of 6 of the daily living activities.
Daily living activities include bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring.
You can accelerate up to 24% of the death benefit in one year.
Up to 90% of the death benefit or $1,500,000 can be accelerated, whichever is less.
The accelerated payout depends on your life expectancy.
Any acceleration reduces the face amount of the policy.
Trans reduces premiums proportionately and charges an administrative fee for each claim processed.
LB Critical Illness Rider
Critical Illness Accelerated Death Benefit Rider – Accelerates a portion of the death benefit if you become critically ill.
Examples of critical illnesses may include:
- Heart attack
- End-stage renal failure
- Major organ transplant
- ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease
There are specific requirements regarding the severity of the condition to qualify for this benefit.
You can accelerate up to the lesser of 90% of the policy’s face amount or:
“A maximum Accelerated Death Benefit amount declared by us. This amount will never be less than $500,000 and is currently a cumulative amount of $1,500,000 per insured, including all other accelerated death benefits previously elected or currently under review under all policies, endorsements, or riders issued by us or our affiliates.”
This rider is built into the living benefits policy.
Underwriting at Transamerica
Life insurance underwriting at Transamerica varies by product type.
Some of the positives and negatives of Transamerica underwriting include:
Transamerica is known for its foreign national underwriting and estate planning cases of $10 million or greater.
Transamerica and Banner Life will consider “preferred” rates if you have asthma. Many other companies would only give you a “standard” rate.
If one of your parents died before age 65 from heart disease or cancer, you may only get a standard plus rate at Transamerica vs. a preferred rate at John Hancock.
Another area where Transamerica needs to make improvements is in the arena of accelerated underwriting.
While many companies now offer accelerated underwriting and some instant approvals, this is not an option for Trans yet.
Transamerica does offer non-medical underwriting as follows:
- Trendsetter Super
- 18 – 70 = Up to $50,000 as a non-medical option.
- 18 – 60 = Up to $99,000 as a non-medical option.
- Trendsetter LB Non-med
- 18 – 60 = Up to $249,999 as a non-medical option.
We start you with a drop ticket or e-application. First, you submit some basics with the drop ticket and then complete a phone interview. Afterward, you complete everything online using the e-application.
Regarding their processes, underwriting with Transamerica is fair but nothing too special.
Underwriting rate classes available:
- Preferred Plus
- Standard Plus
- Preferred Smoker
- Standard Smoker
Remember, if you purchase less than $100,000 of term insurance, the best rate class available will be a “standard” rate.
Interestingly enough, occasional cigar smoking of 1 per month with a negative urine sample will still qualify for non-tobacco rates.
Customer Service at Transamerica
Policyowner service at Transamerica offers online, mail, and over-the-phone options for help with your policy.
M-F 9 am – 6 pm EST
Life insurance login – here
4333 Edgewood Road NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52499
Transamerica does not offer live chat or an email address to contact them but rather uses an online contact form for you to use. In our experience, it takes 48 hours to hear back from them using the contact form.
Changes that you can make include:
Death Claims with Transamerica
You can call to report a death claim or complete the online death notification form – here.
If you are not the owner, beneficiary, or designated third party, your access to information will be limited at best. You can still inform the company of the insured’s death, but that may be the extent of your access.
Death Claim Information Needed:
If you have a copy of the policy, take a look in the back, as it should have a copy of the original application completed to buy the insurance and the original insurance agent information who wrote the policy.
How Long Does Transamerica Take to Pay Death Claims?
The answer depends on how long the policy has been active. Life insurance policies are contestible for the first few years of the policy. If the insured died during this time, death claims take longer, as the insurance company will investigate the claim.
We have had better results when calling Transamerica for policy information, etc.
Complaints and Third-Party Reviews
As mentioned, we recently started working with Transamerica again, so we weren’t too surprised by some of the reviews we saw.
The Better Business Bureau, for example, shows a 1.08/5 stars as of 8/30/2023. If you read them, you’ll see that many of the issues relate to policyowner service with Transamerica.
The 2022 JD Power Overall Customer Satisfaction Survey ranked Transamerica 22 out of 23 life insurance companies. The only company ranked worse was Equitable, which didn’t surprise us.
On the other hand, Forbes recently ranked Transamerica 4.5 out of 5 stars. We think the Forbes ranking of Transamerica is wrong.
Especially when you look at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) 2022 report, which gave Transamerica a 2.71 on its national complaint index that goes to 2.0!
The baseline index for all companies is 1.0, which means that Transamerica complaints are coming in at almost three times the rate of your average insurance company.
Transamerica has been around for a long time. The ratings and financials are favorable.
It remains to be seen if their operational issues will improve.
We use this company when no other option exists, such as for a high-risk life insurance case or when the consumer is willing to go through the process knowing the above.
We’ll show you how Transamerica compares with other companies. You may have to wait a little longer than with other companies, but it may be worthwhile when Trans has the best rate.
Please take a few minutes to submit your request.
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