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Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America was founded by Henry Little of Minneapolis, Minnesota back in 1896. The original name was North American Casualty, but in 1920 it merged with North American Life Association, and the name was changed to North American Life and Casualty.

In 1979, Allianz AG, a German company based out of Munich, acquired the company. Allianz is one of the world's largest financial services corporations, providing asset management services, as well as life, health and property insurance, plus full-service banking, in more than 70 different countries.

Now known as Allianz Life, the company formerly called North American Life and Casualty offers annuities and life insurance through a network of 100,000 agents around the world. Its parent company, Allianz SE, is now the 31st largest corporation worldwide, employing almost 155,000 people of many nations. The headquarters in North America is located in Golden Valley, Minnesota, and in 2010, it was honored as one of the best places to work in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area.

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The Good

  • Niche Life Insurance
  • Direct Information
  • Added Benefits and Optional Riders

Niche Life Insurance

Allianz doesn't offer a broad range of insurance types. Instead, it focuses on two particular types of insurance products: fixed index universal life and term life.

There is a version with survivorship and a version without (survivorship insurance protects two lives and is a good choice for parents, spouses or life partners).

These are the only services this company offers. However, this can be a good thing, because when a company narrows its focus to a particular kind of product, they can concentrate all of their efforts on making that one product as good as possible.

Direct Information

Also, the narrow focus saves customers a lot of time and effort. No need to scroll through pages of information about multiple different types of policies. Either Allianz universal life insurance works for you or it doesn't, but a decision can be made relatively quickly.

Plus, the overview on the website gets right to the point, explaining how this type of policy works and who it might benefit. It simplifies the decision-making process, and in the case of life insurance, which can seem overwhelming to many customers, this is a good thing.

It doesn't provide an extensive amount of specific financial information about the insurance that they offer. There is no estimated payment calculator or chart. However, there is the following statement: "The minimum initial premium payment is based on age, gender, risk class, death benefit, and riders, but is never less than $25/month or $300/year." Quite frankly, this is more information than many of their competitors will give in terms of specific costs. At least Allianz communicates a minimum estimate.

Added Benefits & Optional Riders

They have an impressive array of added benefits and optional riders. Universal life policies automatically come with a chronic illness accelerated benefit and a terminal illness accelerated benefit. However, other riders that can be added include First-to-Die, Waiver of Specified Premium, Estate Protection, Enhanced Liquidity and Loan Protection. The website states that all riders are not available in all states. Nevertheless, there is a good selection that allows for a degree of flexibility to meet a variety of customer needs. Insurance policies are available for adults and children, and people as old as 80 can apply for a policy.

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The Bad

  • Limited Options
  • Varying Features
  • Vague Information

Limited Options

Allianz's narrow focus on a single product type can be viewed as a negative as much as a positive. By focusing on one particular kind of insurance, Allianz will simply not meet the needs of many people who are looking for other options. They don't have any kind of term life insurance, and since term life tends to be the most affordable option, people who are looking for a budget-friendly insurance policy will need to look elsewhere. Allianz simply doesn't have what they need.

Varying Features

The website also gives the following disclaimer: "Product and feature availability may vary by state and broker/dealer." It is common for features to vary by state, but the fact that they also vary by broker and dealer gives an added level of uncertainty. In other words, it is ultimately impossible for a customer to know just what sort of universal policy and what sort of added features they can get without talking directly to a local insurance dealer.

Vague Information

The payment minimum of $25 a month that is listed on the website is only, after all, a minimum. It really doesn't give any sense of what an average monthly payment looks like, nor does it give any sort of range from high to low.

Once again, it is impossible to get any specific estimate without meeting with an actual dealer. Customers always feel better getting this kind of information up front before the sales pitch begins.

As with many insurance companies, office hours for their toll-free customer service phone line could be better. Listed phone hours are Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Central. This rules out evenings, early mornings and weekends, which means people who hold regular 40-hour a week jobs will find it difficult to call customer service.

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The Bottom Line

Ultimately, Allianz is a strong, stable company with a long history. Through continued growth, they have expanded throughout the nation. However, in essence, they offer just one particular kind of product, their fixed index universal life insurance. It's a strong product with some good features and additional options, and the cost is potentially affordable.

If this particular type of insurance is what a customer is looking for then Allianz is a good choice, and for that reason alone, they get a recommendation.

On the other hand, people looking for term life or something a little cheaper or more basic will simply have to look elsewhere. To their credit, they are available in every state and to every age group, from 0 to 80. They tend to be well reviewed on third party websites. These are all marks in their favor and speak well of the reputation of Allianz.

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