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Modern Woodmen of America

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LAST UPDATED: March 4th, 2024

Joseph Cullen Root founded Modern Woodmen of America in 1883, in Lyons, Iowa. Today, the main office is located in Rock Island, Illinois and is a fraternal benefit society. This nonprofit company is based on representative care and serves hundreds of thousands members. Modern Woodmen has helped families and individuals find financial security through life insurance, annuities, and investment options.

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The Good

  • High Financial Strength Rating
  • Helpful Representatives
  • Term Life Insurance Policy Options
  • Permanent Life Insurance Options
  • Additional Product Offerings

High Financial Strength Rating

Modern Woodmen of American has earned a high financial strength rating from A.M. Best. This high rating indicates the company's ability to meet claims made by beneficiaries. Coupled with a long company history, Modern Woodmen is a financially responsible and stable life insurance company to work with.

Helpful Representatives

Modern Woodmen's representatives are trained to help you with your financial goals, which means you don't have to worry about dealing with pushy sales tactics.

Term Life Insurance Policy Options

Term Life insurance is ideal for people who want protection for a set amount of time. It's also advantageous because premiums for these policies tend to be much cheaper than permanent life policies. Modern Woodmen offers two insurance policy options in this category: the MyLife TermSM plan and the MyLife FoundationSM plan.

The MyLife TermSM plan offers level premiums for the entire term of the policy and allows you to convert some or all of your policy to a permanent one. Policyholders can also add a return of premium rider to receive their premiums once the policy term is over and the insured is still living.

The MyLife FoundationSM plan is designed to make life insurance more accessible for people. Premiums are locked until the insured turns 30. This policy can also be purchased with one lump sum payment. In some cases, policyholders can increase coverage at specified ages without medical underwriting. This policy can also be converted to a permanent insurance policy later.

Permanent Life Insurance Options

Permanent life insurance comes in several forms including whole life insurance and universal life insurance. It offers several advantages that term life insurance doesn't. Permanent life insurance lasts your lifetime as long as you meet your premium obligations. It also accrues cash value that you can use as an asset. Modern Woodmen has a wide selection of permanent life insurance options.

  • My Whole Life® 
  • MyLife ProtectorSM
  • MaxCL IISM
  • MaxCL Pro IISM

The My Whole Life®  policy is a whole life policy geared for people seeking higher levels of coverage. It has a guaranteed death benefit. It also allows you to set your premium payment schedule, so you can buy the policy in full in a one-time payment or over a set period of time. Once you've chosen your premium schedule, your premiums won't change. The plan accrues tax-deferred cash value and is eligible for dividends. 

MyLife ProtectorSM policy is Modern Woodmen's other whole life policy option geared for people seeking lower coverage levels or final expense insurance. It also has a guaranteed death benefit, cash value growth, and eligibility for dividends. 

MaxCL IISM is one of two universal life insurance policy options available through Modern Woodmen. It offers greater flexibility when it comes to coverage levels and premium amounts than whole life policies. You can change both of these after you buy the policy as your needs and goals change.

MaxCL Pro IISM is the second universal life insurance option. Unlike the MaxCL IISM, the Max CL Pro IISM offers a Member Protection Guarantee which means that death benefit is guaranteed as long as premium requirements are met even though interest rates may change.

Policyholders can add riders to each of these plans to get additional coverage or protect their policy depending on their needs.

Additional Product Offerings

Modern Woodmen offers additional insurance and financial products and services. 

Financial services

  • Annuities
  • Retirement plans
  • College savings plans
  • Mutual funds
  • Brokerage services

Insurance products

  • Group employee benefits
  • Voluntary benefits
  • International life and health insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Medicare
  • Dental, vision, and health insurance
  • Disability insurance

If you're looking for additional kinds of insurance or financial services, Modern Woodmen is worth investigating further.


The Bad

  • Insufficient Customer Insight
  • Policies Not Available Everywhere
  • Unlisted Rider Options
  • No Online Quote

Insufficient Customer Insight

Best Company has not received enough Modern Woodmen of America reviews to make conclusions about the customer experience. Although conclusions are not available, it is concerning that a majority of Modern Woodmen of America's reviews are negative.

Policies Not Available Everywhere

Modern Woodmen life insurance may not be available in every state. For example, the MaxCL IISM and MaxCL Pro IISM policies are not available in California.

Unlisted Rider Options

It's unclear from the company's website what riders policyholders can add to policies for additional protection. It would be nice to know what options are available before contacting a Modern Woodmen representative so that customers can have a sense of how well a policy would fit their needs. 

No Online Quote

While some life insurers or life insurance agencies offer premium quotes online, Modern Woodmen does not. Premium rates are determined through underwriting, which considers factors like your lifestyle and health. Because of the high level of variability, it's difficult to provide accurate quotes. While inconvenient, you'll get the best information by working with a Modern Woodmen representative.


The Bottom Line

Modern Woodmen of America has been in the insurance business for more than a century. The company has stood the test of time and weathered eras of financial difficulty over the years. Modern Woodmen also has received high financial strength ratings, which further demonstrates the insurance company's financial stability. You can trust that Modern Woodmen manages its money and business practices wisely and responsibly.

Modern Woodmen has a great selection of life insurance policies. It offers term, whole, and universal life insurance. Its permanent policies also allow you to customize your coverage with riders. Whatever kind of policy you're looking for, you'll probably find a good fit from Modern Woodmen.

Modern Woodmen is also a fraternal benefit society. It funds social, educational, and volunteer programs to have a positive effect on communities.  

The main criticism about this company is that it does not offer pricing or rider information online. While inconvenient to reach out to a representative for more details, you can be confident that you'll get good information and won't have to deal with pushy sales tactics.

However, despite some of the drawbacks, Modern Woodmen of America is a good choice if its products are available in your area.

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14 Reviews

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Kathy Roehl Pepin, WI

Tried to transfer 3 annuities, 1-qualified, 2- non qualified. Filled out their paperwork and the paperwork for where the money was to be transferred to. First ofhad all takes forever to get a human to talk to, then when all paperwork was done they supposedly sent all 3 out on different days and stopped paying me interest when they supposedly sent money out. The first check arrived at new annuity place a week later, the second arrived at the new place about 2 weeks later and the third had not arrived after 5 weeks and repeatedly checking on both ends while I got no interest on my money. I finally got a hold of customer relationa at the headquarters of Edward Jones who was the agent for the new annuities and they finally got Modernwoodmen to issue a new check and a few days later it was received. Noone accepted blame and I was out a few hundred dollars in interest. They would not do direct deposit or overnight mail. So the funds were at Modernwoodmen and the longer it took the better for them. Not happy, live and learn, easy putting money into woodmen but crappy getting it back.

3 months ago

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Skyler Anderson

Horrible communication. Snaked a charge on me for life insurance after clearly stating for weeks that I wanted to cancel so they can get the most money out of me. Lady kept blowing me off and putting the issue on the backburner. Total scam in my book.

2 months ago

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Anonymous Atlanta, GA

I started my annuity at 19 with Modern Woodman of America. At 23, I ran into some tough times due to college. I knew it wasn't good to take money from my annuity, but I needed it. Modern Woodman sent me 7K without any hassle, and it arrived pretty quickly. I had zero issues depositing the check, and it cleared the same as any other deposit. Modern Woodman was there when I needed them! I'm now 45, and I still have my annuity. I'm locked in at 4% interest, and I contribute to the annuity monthly. I have other retirement vehicles as well, but I've had my annuity the longest.

4 years ago

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Joe Mitchell, SD

My wife and I have been with MW for 20+ years. We are very satisfied with their products. Our IRA with them has consistently paid better than most and their social benefits have helped our family greatly. Our youngest son was a $10,000 scholarship winner. We are seriously considering them for in retirement investments.

5 years ago

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Babette Fullerton, CA

At least the rep was very nice, tried be helpful. Unfortunately, I have had a less than stellar experience with both the rep and the company and its protocols. It was a matter of communication and logistics. I got up on my days off to meet with rep, sign on for a whole life ins policy and later on a Roth IRA, was asked when I'd like to have deductions, I chose the 15th for the ins only (Roth was separately dealt). They instead deducted on the 1-5th. Over several months, tried to correct twice, in person with rep., told him by text I want the 15th, then one morning mo's later awoke to "insufficient bank funds". I thought we'd had this fixed, now months into the policy. I always prep for funds to leave my account, keep very little in checking with no overdraft, for my protection, and told them this, which was why to prep on a certain date for deduction. Rep kindly discovered it's the company's choice, based on when policy began/put into system. He apologized for lack of attention to account, took responsibility for it. Then I ask: How was he trained/why even ask my choice? Why did he not know? Did he know proper deduction protocol? Poorly trained or not paying attention during? Lack of company communication, hidden in small print? I wanted to pull my funds then, but chose to keep in, try to be wise about this, just logistics. We were both patient, but then the month after that happened, by luck I checked email late at night to find a new much larger deduction not previously taken from my account, on... the 15th! Didn't recognize/not warned about it, so called bank to stop pay. I was puzzled and "very done" now, plus the name taking it out was different, but I had a hunch, related to MW. I let my "insufficient bank funds" just be, which auto corrected two days later since I stopped pay. Asked rep about the deduction, who told me was another portion of my account, apparently. No reminder, warning, etc. I asked in a previous text the mo. previous if I could end policy and transfer my life ins funds to another account to save it (by this time, I've really had it), and this rep really made me question his position, and who they hire. He didn't get that I don't have any fixed portion, because this was the amount I didn't recognize and stopped pay and called him about, it being the first time I'd seen this, didn't recognize it. I had to explain to him the whole deal with my account, esp. the math about what I was asking to have transferred. This made me question them as a whole, and now, the rep. Why was I not given at the start some sort of paper to describe exactly what amount, when, how, would be taken? (This was done, no problems for my Roth IRA, dealt with this rep's mngr, I received clear paperwork. But *nothing*, except for one receipt I got at home, for this whole life insurance.) In addition, they were very late to sign me up/on for personal computer online setup. Wrote corporate, only to have them send me papers I had never seen upon signing up, saying I'd signed on for the 1st. I DID NOT EVER WANT THE 1ST. Why didn't the rep show or confirm w/me? Pull up my acct to correct? No action taken until I thought: No, this is so not right; I have my texts to prove that I wanted the 15th. Organized and printed out my texts/emails, then filed complaint with CA Ins. Commissioner, who were then sent the real push to corporate, who when in writing back, NO APOLOGY FROM ANYONE, said the rep had never changed anything on my acct, and did give a partial refund. Rep makes mistakes, I still lose money. But thank you, CA Ins. Commissioner. Only after the push from them did this company even come a little around. I TOLD THE TRUTH. MY TEXTS DON'T LIE. How sad that their rep didn't take action/correct protocol that needed to be done, I shouldn't have to beg or watch them. So: I really am not happy about this, to conclude that this company and/or rep are less than competent, and my money would be better used elsewhere, so to forfeit this account because these people are out to lunch, and I don't trust them anymore. So I lose money to an organization that gives so much to charity, how much do I have to lose in order to qualify to get my money back? Thankfully, I was in for only a few months, but still, a loss when surrendered. Could have really used that money for Christmas, bank savings, put into next year's Roth, etc. Instead, I receive no tangible benefits. Too many inconsistencies, logistics issues, and lack of attention to my account/little communication. They say, save up. then you're condemned to have not, but this is why. Better for me to have stayed in bed on my day off, saved $ by transferring to my savings account. They lost my future monies across the next 10 years, totaling probably more than $120,000, plus the 2-yr Roth IRA I attempted to transfer out to my bank, but oh, can't because I have to keep it with them for 8yrs unless huge penalties. Don't go with this company. Save yourself the petty grievances and worries. Go to your bank, or Fidelity Federal, or wherever else. MW touts the social benefits, but apparently I'm not part of that social end, and you probably won't be either.

5 years ago

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Amy Washington Murray, KY

I started with a whole life policy with a large investment from my husband's life insurance when he passed away. This policy was supposed to be an investment that would pay off if it never paid out. I went through 4 agents in 4 years (that should have set off warning bells right there!) and the newest one convinced me to move all of my funds to a "flexible premium adjustable indexed life" policy that he assured me was a better product. Now instead of going up the value is constantly going DOWN. To the tune of over $1,000 so far. I was scammed and all I want now is to get out. I called to set an appointment to close my accounts and cut my losses only to have the agent tell me that the statement I received (which shows a $1,600 LOSS in value over the past year) is not the "actual" value, it's really worth more they "just can't show it". What a SCAM! He said "why don't you let me set an appointment to explain", I was like "oh I think you've "explained" enough, please send me whatever I need to close my accounts." I thought I saw this coming last year when he set the appointment to change the product but he kept assuring me that what I was reading didn't mean what I thought it meant. I feel like such a fool. What a dirtbag company and agents to take advantage of a widow with two children. In all I will have lost $2,118.07 by allowing these people to have our money for 5 YEARS. I am so sorry that I made such a poor investment of the money my deceased husband left for our children.

3 years ago

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Penny Baxtor Ashland, OR

I began with Modern Woodman in 1991 with a policy for myself and my daughter. I was told I would get 65,000 when I turned 65. They took money out of my account each month and I received a statement each month. I had several conversations with different reps due to my company moving me to different states. I had blindly trusted what I was told by the representative that sold me the policy. I thought it was a good policy in case something happened to me to protect my daughter if I died. Now she is all grown up and I thought well I have this payout coming when I turn 65. Last year I received several letters explaining how investments had been lost which decreased my amount and the money was not guaranteed. I received notice that my account would be ending, closed when I turned 53. It boggles my mind that I can pay them money automatically deducted out of my account each month then they say I have no money left and it is done and closed. I paid them every month for 27 years. How can I just have nothing. I believed that 65,000 would be a nice addition to pension, investments, ect. I wish I had never invested in this company. They took my money gladly and gave me nothing in return. I really wonder what would have happened if anything had happened to me. Would my daughter have received any money? On the statements it showed that but I question it since they did not follow through on their end. I would equate that with a risky investment that would might lose all of but is a higher payout. Don't trust them with your money and protecting your children.

3 years ago

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Kenneth Larkin Montevallo, AL

We were with Modern Woodmen for over 8 years. Our premiums were aotu debit and we never missed a payment. Problem with these people are they never service your account. I made over 78 calls in 8 years for service, to add coverage, make changes and buy additional products. NOT ! CALL WAS EVER RETURNED---NEVER. But every month that payment came out. I finally got tired of the dis-service and cancelled with them, not 24 hours went buy and I recieved 3 phone calls and 4 premium notices in the mail. Imagine that!!! When the money stopped all of a sudden I became the priority customer. When I recieved the check for the value of my policy, I could not cash the check and had to make several phone calls to find out why. The reason you ask? They like to hold the money from you until you absolutley exaust every effort to get YOUR MONEY back from them. These people are UNCARING and ONLY want your money. The level of service concerns me in the fact that IF I had DIED, WHAT KIND OF TROUBLES WOULD MY FAMILY HAVE GETTING THE INSURED VALUE OF MY POLICY FROM THESE DEGENERATES??? THEY WOULD HAVE TO JUMP THROUGH HOOPS TO GET WHAT I BOUGHT TO PROTECT THEM. DO NOT INSURE WITH THESE THIEFS!!!!

5 years ago

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David Sigrist

This is a terrible company that I will not recommend to anyone. They claim to offer Newborn benefits, but in the fine print if your baby does not live more than 5 complete days, then nothing is given. Our daughter died after two days, and when we called to verify this and see if anything could be offered, we were told that because of this limit our precious daughter was not a "viable life," and the representative Karen offered no condolences or answers in any way. This is obviously a money grab without mercy or concern because how many newborns made it past 5 days, and hospitals and funeral homes do not make such a distinction.

7 years ago

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Joe Rammage Lubbock, TX

I was a member of Modern Woodman from 1987 to 2014 when they cancelled my policy supposedly for delinquent premium payment. My payment was set up as a draft on my checking account a number of years ago and somehow they were no longer able to draft my account? I strongly caution anyone considering purchasing a policy or that already has a policy to BE WARE. THEY WILL FIND WAY TO CaNCEL YOUR POLICY AS YOU GROW OLDER SO THEY WILL NOT HAVE TO HONOR THEIR COMMITMENT.

5 years ago

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JB Gladys, VA

Concerning their annuities. I logged in to check to see what my IRA was doing and according to what I saw...the amount that it makes is pretty much what they will charge if you were to pull it all out. So in other words, you get back only what you gave them. You didn't make anything on the account. From what I've read now, I'd be lucky to get back all of what I gave them without a fight. Sorry, but I don't think I would recommend them to anyone. I feel like I've been had.

6 years ago

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Lisa McGee Plano, TX

I am the Power of Attny for my mother and while going through her papers I realized that she has been paying on a policy for 27yrs...she has already paid almost $10,000 for a policy that dropped to $5000. These ppl clearly have no problem scamming the elderly. Disgusting! And the customer service ppl are incredibly rude as well. I wouldnt recommend using this company.

6 years ago

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David Roberts ,

After fifteen years of making payments I just received a letter letting me know my premium will in crease by 1000 percent and increase yearly afterwards. My advice is to put your money in savings instead of giving it to these thieves.

4 years ago

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Jay Fort Wayne, IN

Have been with them for 40 years, and the best annuities available

8 years ago