Have you thought about buying life insurance, but put it off because the timing wasn’t right? Maybe you like the idea, but you find the process of picking up the phone and talking to an agent seems too complicated.
Ethos Life Insurance is one of the latest offerings from the insurtech (insurance technology) industry. Like fintech companies, insurtech companies use proprietary software solutions to manage costs, attract younger clients, and offer simple products at low prices.
In other words, they attempt to make buying life insurance as simple as signing up for Uber or opening an online bank account.
Does Ethos’ claim to re-invent life insurance and provide it to a fast-paced modern market ring true? Keep reading to see what the appeal is and whether it’s a good option for you and your family.
History of Ethos
Ethos Life Insurance has only been operating for a very short time. The company is actually an insurance organization that is backed by Assurity Life Insurance Co and Munich Re. It is important to note that they do not technically offer their own brand of life insurance coverage.
Instead, Ethos has combined their technology to create a streamlined application process utilizing life insurance coverage that is being offered through Assurity Life Insurance Company.
Assurity, on the other hand, has a very long history within the insurance industry that dates back to 1890 and continues to this day operating out of Lincoln, Nebraska.
This leads us to the beginning of 2018 when Ethos became the face of one of Assurity’s fast approval term life insurance products.
The idea of a clean, simple interface for the insurance industry excited both industry insiders and those looking to invest in the next big thing. Ethos received backing from huge financial investors including:
- GV (Formerly Google Ventures)
- Sequoia Capital
- Stanford University
- Roc Nation
It also received funding from several celebrities’ investment companies. Celebrity investment firms that got involved included the firms of Robert Downey Jr., Kevin Durant, Jay-Z, and Will Smith.
By the end of 2018, Ethos raised $37 million, which is enormous for an industry that doesn’t usually attract those kinds of investors.
Ethos Life Insurance Ratings
Because Ethos is not technically an insurance company, they do not have a professional rating such as an A.M. Best rating. However, since they are offering Assurity life insurance coverage, we can take a look at Assurity’s financial ratings.
Assurity boasts an “A-” rating from the A.M. Best ratings firm. The score is a very good score and reflects a high level of confidence in the insurance company’s ability to pay out claims as promised.
Because Assurity doesn’t have many other rankings, we took a look at consumer reviews. It does not have a J.D. Power Ranking. However, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners assigned it a complaint ratio score of 0.16 for life insurance.
The score 0.16 reflects a score of less than 1, which means the company receives fewer than the median number of complaints. Complaints don’t reflect online reviews, but instead consider the number of claims made to regulators. The body also adjusts scores for market share.
Ethos Life Insurance Quote & Application Process
Ethos’ application process is a significant part of its promise to revolutionize life insurance and offer a better value proposition to customers.
The company claims that it offers the most straightforward application on the market and that it takes only 10 minutes to complete.
To get started, all you need to do is click on the blue “Check My Price” button which can be located throughout the entire site.
From there, you’ll fill out five pages of questions to begin the online quote process to receive initial rates.
These questions include:
- What is your gender?
- Whether you smoke
- How is your health? (Average, Great or Excellent)
- What state do you live in?
- What’s your birthdate?
That’s all you need to get a quote. No email or telephone information required.
Once you answer the questions, you simply click the blue “Check My Price” button to reveal a few auto generated recommended plans which include:
- Coverage amount
- Term Length
- Monthly premium
If you like one of the suggested policies, all you need to do is click “Apply Now” on the plan you prefer.
If you have something specific in mind, you can use the optimization tool to choose the exact coverage you want.
Applying for Coverage
To apply for coverage, you will need to fill out the ten-minute application which is all done online. It offers the same user experience-focused design as the quote generator. It’s clear to see where each answer goes and what each question means.
The application contains four main sections. Within each section, you will need to answer a series of questions.
- Basic Information
- Lifestyle Questions
- Health Questions
- Payment Information
Unfortunately, you can’t apply for coverage if you are a resident of New York state or over the age of 75. You must also be a U.S. citizen or green card holder and have lived in the U.S. for at least 24 months.
Do I Need a Medical Exam?
Ethos advertises that traditionally medical exams will not be required when applying for coverage. However, applicants must meet the guidelines for no medical exam approval and in some cases, a medical exam may be required. For example, health-related issues or coverage over $1,000,000 can result in the need for a medical exam.
Ethos also promises that if it does ask for a medical exam, it won’t require an extra cost. It should be noted that this is standard with all life insurance companies and not just Ethos. Life insurance exams are always provided free of cost through the insurance company requesting one.
Ethos Life Insurance Products: Term Life Insurance
Ethos offers only one product: term life insurance.
From here, you can choose policy terms that appeal most to you.
Terms range from 10 to 30 years. You can also purchase significant coverage amounts that range from $25,000 to $10 million. Remember that amounts over $1,000,000 will require an automatic medical exam.
Although Ethos presents the policies simply, you can add a few optional policy riders to your plan.
Ethos / Assurity Term Life Insurance
- Issue Ages: 18-75
- 10 Year: 18-75
- 15 Year: 18-70
- 20 Year: 18-65
- 30 Year: 18-55 (Tobacco Users 18-50)
- Minimum Coverage: $25,000
- Maximum Coverage: $10,000,000
Optional Policy Riders: Ethos does not openly promote policy riders and we did not complete the full application process to find out if we would be asked if we wanted to add any. With that said and assuming that this is the same Assurity term life insurance that is also available to independent agents. Assuming that we are correct which we really believe we are, then the below policy riders should be available. If we are not correct then just know that you can get anyone of these riders through Top Quote Life Insurance subject to state availability.
Accelerated Benefit Rider: An included rider that allows for a portion of the death benefit to be accessed if diagnosed with a terminal illness or permanent confinement to a nursing home. (Not available in CA)
Accident Only Disability Rider: Can pay out a monthly benefit due to a total disability resulting from an accidental injury. (Extra Cost) (Not available in CA, KS, MD, MA, NH, NJ, and VA)
Children’s Term Rider: Provides level death benefit on all children of the insured up to age 25. (Extra Cost)
Critical Illness Benefit Rider: Can pay out a benefit due to a first-ever diagnosis or procedure of a specified critical illness. (Extra Cost) (Not available in CT, FL, IL, KS, MD, MA, MN, NH, NJ, PA, VA, and WA)
Disability Waiver of Premium: Provides a waiver of all premiums due to a total disability caused by sickness or injury. (Extra Cost)
Endowment Benefit Rider: Provides a return of premium upon the termination of the life insurance policy. Available on both the 20 and 30-year level term options. (Extra Cost) (Not available in DE)
Monthly Disability Income Rider: Provides a monthly benefit after the elimination period due to a total disability due to injury or sickness. (Extra Cost) (Not available in KS, MD, NH, NJ, and VA)
Pros to Ethos Life Insurance
Ethos makes every step of the life insurance application process easy–even if you don’t consider yourself computer literate. In fact, the entire application requires zero paperwork or even an agent.
Customers obtain a quote without providing any personally identifying information (beyond your birthdate). Since you are not required to provide an email for a quote, you will not receive hundreds of emails hounding you to “come back and apply today.”
You should note, however, that once you begin the application, you must make an account to continue. Ethos requires an account to process the application and keep your personal information safe. Creating an account is easy. The application allows you to create an account in step one.
Another positive aspect of Ethos is that the quotes tend to be accurate. According to Ethos, 81% of customers who request a quote receive the plan they apply for, at the rate they received during the quote.
Cons to Ethos Life Insurance
Ethos offers simple solutions geared towards millennials and Generation X-ers, who traditionally steer clear of the life insurance market. Because the company targets younger families, there are a few things you need to know.
First, those used to working with an agent may find some general differences including limited customer support and impersonal claims process. Everything happens via email, and there are no agents on hand to explain policy questions. We actually could not find a customer service or contact us page anywhere on the Ethos website.
If you are the beneficiary of a loved one who has passed away, you’ll even have to make a claim for the death benefit via email, which may feel cold or impersonal during a difficult time.
Will most likely take longer than 10 minutes
While we will admit, Ethos offers an application process that is quite simple, we truly believe that most applicants will spend far more than 10 minutes filling out the actual online application.
There is a fairly large amount of information that needs to be completed prior to the application being submitted for underwriting. Since there is not a medical exam being required, you will need to answer several health questions. Any questions that require additional details will require more time to complete.
Limited policy options
Ethos only offers just one brand (Assurity) and one type of life insurance coverage (term life insurance). Therefore options with Ethos are very limited versus working with an independent agency who can offer you multiple brands as well as multiple types of life insurance coverage.
Don’t get us wrong, we are big fans of term life insurance. Term life insurance is practical, affordable and often the best coverage option for families. However most will agree that having more than one option to explore is better than just one.
For example, over the last decade life insurance has evolved from just providing a death benefit. There are now coverage options that pay an income if you become disabled and cannot work. Coverage that pays if you become ill with a critical illness or chronic illness and even coverage that has long term care attached to it.
We understand that the main goal of Ethos is to provide an easy hassle-free way to apply for life insurance coverage, but they lack in offering some really good coverage options that are available with other providers.
No permanent life insurance option
Along with a lack of policy options, Ethos does not offer a permanent life insurance option. Again, we understand that their primary focus is on term insurance, but their not offering some really great permanent options such as guaranteed universal life insurance.
A guaranteed universal life insurance policy also referred to as permanent term insurance offers a fixed premium that will not change for the rest of your life. Nearly all of these coverage options offer living benefits and a few even have a built-in return of premium option.
For those looking for a cash value life insurance option, such as indexed universal life or whole life insurance, you will need to look elsewhere, as Ethos cannot provide it.
What about people who have been rated, don’t qualify or have been declined?
As far as we know, Ethos does not have an option for applicants who have been rated or declined for coverage. This is a big issue for concern and it shows often in their reviews left by applicants that applied for coverage.
Again, we go back to working with an independent agency. In this situation, an independent agency can shop the rated approval or decline with other companies to see if there is anyone willing to offer better. Ethos, unfortunately, cannot do this for these applicants.
No coverage options after age 75
If you’re a senior over the age of 75, then Ethos is not for you. Even though there are several companies that offer term insurance up to age 80, coverage offered through Ethos is only available to applicants up to age 75.
In addition, there are no burial or final expense options for applicants that need less than $25,000 of coverage.
Is Ethos the only company to offer no exam life insurance?
Absolutely not, there are actually several excellent companies that are now offering no exam term life insurance. There are even no exam permanent life insurance options.
Underwriting with the other no exam companies is often no different than the coverage Ethos is offering through Assurity. Most companies that are offering a no exam coverage option require an application along with health questions.
Once the application is submitted to the life insurance company for approval, underwriting tools, such as checks on MIB records, LexisNexis reports, MVR reports, prescribed medications and in some cases credit checks, to determine eligibility.
What really makes Ethos unique, is its application process. This is mostly because it is done right on their website without the need for an agent.
However, the application process is really no different than an agent sending one to you electronically, via email. When exploring their application process, it was practically a standard life insurance application that could be completed online.
Are you really getting the best rates with Ethos?
Ethos is just one of several life insurance companies to offer a no medical exam term life insurance option. The below chart represents a comparison of monthly rates from a few of the other top-rated no medical exam companies.
The companies listed in the comparison, including Ethos, uses the best possible health classification allowed for no exam approval. The following rates represent both male and female monthly non-tobacco sample rates for a 20 year term life insurance policy.
Ethos: Excellent Health Classification
Foresters: Standard Non-Smoker
Sagcior: Preferred Non-Smoker
SBLI: Preferred Plus
Mutual of Omaha: Standard Non-Smoker
|AGE||Ethos||Foresters||Sagicor||SBLI||Mutual of Omaha|
|AGE||Ethos||Foresters||Sagicor||SBLI||Mutual of Omaha|
Incorrect statement regarding independent agents
When taking a look at the “About Us” section of the Ethos website we couldn’t help but notice their statement about independent life insurance agents.
As an independent life insurance agency, the statement that independent agents often focus on “upselling expensive policies to wealthy people” is so far from the truth. I honestly am not sure where this is coming from and I would find it hard to believe that any independent agent or agency would agree with this statement.
Here at Top Quote Life Insurance, our main goal is to help everyone regardless of age or wealth status. We can also reassure you that there is no upselling. We focus on providing information about all types of life insurance, along with getting the client the best possible rate with a top-rated life insurance company. We do this while making sure that the coverage will cover all of the client’s life insurance needs.
As stated a few times, Ethos only offers one brand of coverage so I am not sure how that has the customer’s best interest in mind. In addition, when you run a quote on their website the results are a predetermined coverage length and amount. This is all done without even knowing the customer’s life insurance needs!
Of course, the customer can adjust the quote and length to correspond with their needs, but how is Ethos making sure their customer has adequate life insurance coverage without communicating with them?
Ethos Life Insurance Review: Summary
Is Ethos a good option for life insurance?
Yes they can be.
Is the Ethos the best option for life insurance?
No we can’t say that they are.
Ethos offers a really nice convenient way to apply for life insurance coverage that is being provided through a top rated carrier such as Assurity. The plans are simple, inexpensive, and amenable to tailoring if you so choose.
Outside of convenience, we are going to say that working with an independent life insurance agency such as Top Quote Life Insurance or any other independent agency is still going to be the better option for anyone seeking life insurance.
An independent agent or agency can offer you convenience, coverage options and solutions.
In addition, Assurity is a brand offered by most independent agents including Top Quote Life Insurance. The majority of life insurance applications can be easily completed online and sent to client via email for signature.
If you came to our website looking for information on Ethos Life Insurance Company and the coverage options they can offer, we hope we met your expectations and answered any question you may have had.
As always, please reach out to us for any assistance.
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