Kansas City Life Insurance Company Review

Formed over a century ago, Kansas City Life Insurance Company operates a number of companies provide a variety of life insurance products in most of the United States.

Kansas City Life Insurance Company currently holds an A (excellent) rating from A. M. Best for financial security. Its financial solvency is also rated favorably in comparison with the aggregate averages of the 25 largest life insurance companies in the United States by Standard Analytical Service, Inc.

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History and Structure

Kansas City Life Insurance Company was founded in 1895 in Kansas City, Missouri, where it retains its headquarters to this day. Regional sales offices are located in Las Vegas, Atlanta, Fort Thomas, Kentucky, and West Bloomfield, Michigan.

Kansas City Life Insurance Company is licensed to do business in 48 states and the District of Columbia (New York and Vermont are the exceptions). It employs both a captive and independent agency force utilizing a structure headed by several regional vice presidents.

The company maintains a presence in Europe through its subsidiary, Sunset Life Insurance Company of America, which also does business in much of the United States. Another subsidiary, Old American Insurance Company, specializes primarily in insurance products geared towards senior citizens. Kansas City Life Insurance Company’s broker/dealer is Sunset Financial Services. The company is publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock market.

Term Life

The following product discussions are intended to be a generic representation of the policies Kansas City 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 a Kansas City Life Insurance agent for the most up-to-date information.

Kansas City Life Insurance Company offers a standard line of term insurance products. Terms and face amounts available are dependent on budget and underwriting requirements.

The company offers a return of premium option on its term insurance. Return of premium (ROP) is a rider, or amendment, to a term life insurance policy that guarantees all premiums will be returned to the policy owner provided he or she outlives the policy term and keeps current on premium payments.

While (ROP) benefits do not accrue interest, the rider can be an attractive middle of the road option for those who want the flexibility and lower cost of term insurance as well as the investment many permanent life insurance products provide. On average the ROP rider is noticeably more expensive than a term policy without it, but less expensive than a permanent policy.

Whole Life

As with its term life products, there is nothing particularly unique about Kansas City Life Insurance’s whole life insurance. These products provide a cash value mechanism that offsets the increasing cost of insurance as one ages to allow for level payments over the course of one’s life. Policy loans may be taken out on the cash value if available.

A whole life insurance policy specifically designed for final expenses is offered by Kansas City Life Insurance’s subsidiary, Old American Insurance Company. Called the “Peace of Mind” policy, this is a modified whole life product which can be issued between the ages of 50 and 85 and includes a means to establish a living will as part of the package. This is a rather modest policy though, with a maximum face value of $20,000. Kansas City Life Insurance Company currently does not offer whole life products in variable or indexed variations.

Universal Life

Kansas City Life Insurance Company features both traditional fixed universal life (UL) and variable universal life (VUL) policy formats. The UL is issued directly by Kansas City Life Insurance, while the VUL is issued the Sunset Financial Services, Inc. broker/dealer.

The VUL, called the Century II Accumulator plan, is issuable up to age 80 and provides a level death benefit, a death benefit that increases over time, as well as an option for a death benefit that increases over time in addition to any premiums paid less policy surrenders. In essence the final option is an increasing VUL death benefit option with return of premium. This must be selected at policy issuance.

One may choose from a wide variety of separate accounts managed by various third-party financial institutions, including American Century, Dreyfus, Franklin Templeton and Invesco, among others. At present Kansas City Life Insurance Company does not directly manage any of the separate accounts offered on the Century II Accumulator VUL.

The Century II Accumulator VUL is currently the only VUL offered by Kansas City Life Insurance Company. While other variable products were issued in the past, including other VUL and survivorship VUL plans, these have since been discontinued.

Annuities

Kansas City Life Insurance Company offers a fixed annuity as a non-qualified plan, that is an annuity plan that does not fall under the guidelines of a traditional or Roth IRA or related retirement savings vehicles, known as qualified plans. Certain rules that apply to traditional and Roth IRAs, such as annual contribution limits and mandatory distribution, do not apply to non-qualified plans; one is free to contribute as much as he or she wants and start distributions at any time. However, non-qualified plans also do not have the tax advantages of their qualified counterparts.

Kansas City Life Insurance offers three brands of variable annuities as well. Two of these require substantial initial deposits, $10,000 and $25,000 respectively. A single premium, or one-pay, annuity in which one makes a single lump sum payment to entirely fund the product, is also available. Third-party managed separate account options similar to those used for the Century II Accumulator VUL are incorporated into all four variable annuity products.

Group Products

Kansas City Life Insurance Company offers a robust selection of group insurance products one would normally associate with a much larger company such as MetLife. Geared towards employers, these products include group life, short- and long-term disability (DI), and even vision and dental insurance. Employers can purchase these products to supplement a group health insurance plan.

Although rules can vary, generally speaking in order to qualify for group coverage one must be able to document at least two full-time employees, which may include the business owner.

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