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LAST UPDATED: November 24th, 2023

Penn Mutual offers term, whole, universal, and variable life insurance. It also offers survivorship permanent life insurance. We recommend choosing Penn Mutual for its high financial strength ratings, favorable company structure, and many years of industry experience.

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Penn Mutual Life has a long history as a life insurer. It was only the seventh mutual life insurance company chartered in the history of the United States, with an origin that goes all the way back to 1847.

In fact, the very first death benefit that the company paid out is on record. On October 20, 1848, a total of $4,963.33 was paid for the life of a man named William Cooper. From those humble beginnings, Penn Mutual has continued to grow.

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The Good

  • Industry Experience
  • Favorable Company Structure
  • High Financial Strength Ratings
  • Variety of Insurance Product Options
  • Detailed Website

Industry Experience

The company has been around since 1847, so it has a long, stable history. In fact, it's one of the oldest mutual insurance companies in the nation. Knowing that Penn Mutual has weathered many storms over the years and continued to grow should give customers peace of mind that they are not buying a product from a fly-by-night operation.

Clearly, Penn Mutual has established a reputation for being reliable. It has also grown and expanded quite a bit over its long history, so Penn Mutual is one of the few insurance companies that offers life insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This widespread availability alone makes them a good choice. If anything, it demonstrates ongoing, consistent growth and expansion.

Penn Mutual has also received high financial strength ratings from major ratings agencies. A high financial strength rating indicates reliability and financial stability.

Favorable Company Structure

Penn Mutual is a mutual company, which means that it only answers to policyholders, not shareholders. Since the insurer only answers to its policyholders, it only makes decisions based on the best interests of its policyholders.

Insurers that answer to shareholders have to consider those interests in addition to policyholder interests when making decisions. It's beneficial to work with an insurance carrier that has a structure that makes it focus primarily on your interests as a policyholder.

High Financial Strength Ratings

Penn Mutual has earned high financial strength ratings from A.M. Best, Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's, Kroll Bond Rating Agency, and a high Comdex composite index rating. These high ratings are a good sign because they indicate Penn Mutual's fiscal responsibility and ability to meet its claims obligations.

With such high ratings combined with years of experience and a positive company structure, you can rely on Penn Mutual to keep your best interests at heart when you purchase a life insurance policy.

Variety of Insurance Product Options

Penn Mutual has an impressive array of life policy options, including term, permanent, whole, universal, variable and survivorship insurance policies. This variety of life insurance products means that potential clients can find life insurance coverage that meets their needs.

Term insurance policies only offer coverage for a set period of time. If you only need coverage for a specific number of years, a term life policy is a good option. Term life policies also tend to be cheaper than permanent life insurance policies because the coverage is limited to a certain period of time. Term life insurance premiums typically remain the same for the duration of the term, which makes it easy for policyholders to plan their budget each month.

Permanent life insurance includes whole life insurance and universal life insurance. Both kinds of policies accrue cash value, which can make these policies an asset. Whole life insurance generally comes with a guaranteed rate of cash value growth. Universal policies have some investment options depending on the kind of universal life insurance policy you choose.

Whole life insurance has a fixed premium that policyholders pay monthly. Universal life policies offer more flexibility with premium payments for policyholders. Policyholders can increase or reduce monthly payments within reason based on their investment and growth goals for the policy.

Survivorship policies, in particular, are something not every life insurance company offers. These policies are designed to provide coverage for two individuals, such as spouses, life partners, or parents.

Detailed Website

The website gives a good, simplified overview of each policy type with basic information that quickly gives potential customers a way to understand what needs are met by each policy and who they might be best suited for. It's basic information presented in bullet points, so people can readily understand the major benefits of each policy type. The information helps potential Penn Mutual policyholders determine what type of insurance coverage is best for them: a permanent life insurance policy or a term life insurance policy.

For example, permanent life insurance allows people to take a loan from the cash value when necessary. The website makes this clear. This kind of basic, bulleted information can be helpful in getting people started in the right direction.


The Bad

  • No Payment Estimator

No Payment Estimator

It can be frustrating when an insurance company doesn't offer a way to obtain concrete financial numbers about an insurance policy on its website. While the website offers a way to estimate how much life insurance you need to cover expenses, but it does not offer a calculator or a way to estimate what monthly payments might be.

Life insurance quotes are valuable information for potential policyholders to have. However, premium payments vary depending on the kind of policy purchased, the insured's health history, the insured's occupation, and other factors.

Some companies that offer life insurance quotes online base those quotes on standardized charts. However, because so many factors go into determining the real rate, some insurers do not offer quotes online.

Those interested in a Penn Mutual life insurance policy should work with a local agent to get more specific information about the premium cost, benefit, policy riders (like an accelerated death benefit, accidental death benefit, or disability waiver of premium), and the underwriting process. 

The underwriting process is how the insurance company seeks evidence of insurability. It often includes a medical exam to determine if the applicant will qualify at a certain monthly premium rate.


The Bottom Line

Choosing a reliable and trustworthy insurance agency and provider is an important part of purchasing a life insurance policy. Ultimately, Penn Mutual is a highly respectable insurance provider with a long and stable history. As one of the oldest mutual insurance companies in the nation, it has a long-established reputation for offering reliable products. It offers a good array of life insurance types to cover most of the basic needs that people might have.

While it would be nice for there to be some way to estimate monthly payment amounts without having to set up a meeting with a local agent, this is an understandable practice for the industry because of the variability of premium rates.

Penn Mutual does receive a recommendation for its reliability, stability, selection of life policy options, and stellar reputation. For people looking to meet basic life insurance needs, Penn Mutual is a fine choice and worth considering.

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10 Reviews

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jsaff4 Sewell, NJ

Very poor customer service. Does not process policy loans in a timely matter. Routinely must way 1-2 hours on hold to speak with a customer service representative. Negligent in processing loan request- requires persistent annoying follow up daily until loan is disbursed. Not efficient if you are someone who is looking to utilize your life benefits in a cash value policy.

1 week ago

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Mike Parshalk Andover, ME

I paid for life insurance for 20 years, being represented through my local insurance company. On my 20th year anniversary they raised my rates from $66.00 a month to $421.00 a month. They made an unauthorized debit transaction from my account. I contacted my local insurance company to correct the problem as they were the contact agency and cancel my policies and get a refund. My local company had a hard time communicating with Penn Life but managed to fax cancellation documents to confirm cancellation and refund my account. Penn Life made another unauthorized debit the following month. I contacted customer service and found out that they have different divisions and do not communicate well with each other. Being a retired police officer on a fixed income, I feel that the company was committing fraud. It cost me money to contact my financial institution to do a stop payment to insure that no more money is taken from my bank account. This is terrible and not a good company to deal with. My local insurance company was also frustrated and told me to try and contact Penn Life myself which was very frustrating when customer service attempted to turn the issue back on me. It’s as if it’s legalized theft.

9 months ago

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Sharon Eicher Wichita, KS

Previously when I forgot a premium, I was reminded and once had to pay a $40 fee. This time they said my policy was lapsed and made me fill out paperwork again and get a new health checkup. They then denied the policy for a minor issue which I had originally and which was treated and under control. I think the true reason was that I had already paid 16 out of 20 years for a term policy and they were not getting much more from me, while I was now 16 years older. I understand risk but the experience left me with a bad impression of Penn Mutual.

1 year ago

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Audrey Shrivastava Sun Valley, CA

My experience with Penn Mutual Life Insurance has been awful. My first experience was some 20 years ago when I had an agent who told me not to worry about my policy. "I didn't have to make monthly payments because I transferred a large amount". Well, guess what. No one was checking the plan, not even me. After many years the policy had a small balance and it was going to be cancelled. What happened to my agent? So, this new agent the company assigned me to , Mr P, we created a new policy and he told me to pay $325 per month and I would not have anything to worry about. Well, have a laugh on me. As of July 2018 even with my monthly payments, no agent again and the company never assigned a new agent, I lost my policy. the policy only increased a hundred dollars per month but the fees were $800. Does that make any sense? So I am again without an agent, high fees, no dividends to cover fees and no insurance. Do you really want to go with this company? They neglect their insured. Be vigilant and check your policy frequently. Don't let them take your money . They even wrote me for a payment after I cancelled my policy. With 20 years experience with Penn Mutual I lost $30,000 approx. (1st policy) and the replacement policy I lost $40,000 approx. BE VIGILANT. When you are in your golden years you do not want to worry about payments going up, operating fees, small dividends and them raising your premium.

5 years ago

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Melanie Niles, MI

Penn Mutual offers wonderful benefits, but their customer service is absolute garbage. If you hold a whole life insurance policy through them, don't expect to be able to withdraw your cash value without a fight. They seem to be purposefully unhelpful, and when you wish to pay your premium through the cash value, they will let your policy lapse before they'll do something as simple is point and click to get it done. We have had to have our adviser intervene on our behalf multiple times before they will do their jobs.

5 years ago

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Bert Lakeville, MN

My father open a policy in 1974 for me. I'm 50 years old now. I closed and cashed out this policy that is in my name now. The cash out amount w a 20,045.17. Two people from Penn mutual confirmed this amount. They said it would take up to 30 days to receive the full amount. It never shows up. After the 30 days somebody called me and said the full amount is wrong and it's only worth $3,700. No explanation. Nobody calls back to explain. GOT SCAMMED OUT OF OVER $16,000!!!!!!!

1 year ago

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Dr. Bill Leonard Loveland, CO

We have been policy holders for more than 20 years. When our child's name changed over a year ago we submitted the changes to our agent. They have totally ignored the request. In fact, my wife purchased an additional policy within the last month and put the correct name on the application and the company ignored that and put the old name as beneficiary. Customer service is a 0. So will then choose not to pay our child the benefits because his legal name does not match what they have on file - sound like a good way to scam the insured.

1 year ago

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Melanie New Baltimore, MI

Horrible customer service . I feel like I have been in the movie Ground Hogs Day calling and getting the same canned response from young individuals that cannot assist after a 20 minute wait after 6 attempts to have a representative call me to assist and advise me I gave up and moved my assets myself. Miserable follow thru I have lost thousand due to lack of customer service.

4 years ago

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Amy McCarlie Orem, UT

Have a Life Insurance Policy through Penn Mutual and its been really easy! We pay for the year and its all done. Great prices too.

2 years ago

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amjad p NESHEIWAT Monterey Park, CA

the agent lie to me about the life policy just to make the sale know he dont work for penn he says to deal with penn i tried to talk to customer servise nothing im sick tired off the bull

4 years ago