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Industrial Life Insurance,
otherwise called:

  • Burial Policies
  • Small Death Benefit Policies
  • Street Insurance

If so, be informed . . .

Industrial life is a small-face-amount policy that was sold to consumers as a way to cover burial expenses. Customers often referred to these types of policies as street, burial or debit insurance. Agents sold these policies door-to-door, collected weekly or monthly premiums and signed a debit card as a receipt of money collected.

In one illustrative case, a Gadsden County farm worker paid $2,214 over 10 years on a burial policy with a $836 death benefit. The then-85-year-old would have kept on paying, if his money hadn’t run out after he moved into a nursing home.

Over the years, many consumers have purchased policies like the farm worker’s. If you have such a policy, with a small death benefit – be informed!

What are the problems?

In a nutshell, the problem involves small-face-amount policies sold to people who didn’t know they could end up paying more in premiums than their policies would be worth. About 1.2 million such policies are in force in Florida.

Consider:

  • The cost can be high for the value
  • Death benefits won't necessarily cover all your funeral expenses
  • Policies build little cash value
  • Current state law doesn’t require that companies annually disclose an industrial life policy’s cash value or how much you’ve paid in premiums.

Efforts to change state law and ban the sale of industrial life insurance have failed in Florida, largely because of a strong insurance lobby.

During the 1999 legislative session, for example, Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Bill Nelson and Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Elsie Crowell, sought reforms that not only would have banned sales, but also would have forced companies collecting on existing policies to disclose to consumers the true cost versus benefits. Both have pledged to continue working for new reforms. In the meantime, they want you to be informed.

If you have one of these policies take action now. Request a written statement from your company containing the following information:

  • The policy issue date
  • Total dollars paid since the policy was issued
  • Total cash value
  • Dollar amount payable at death

This information should help you decide whether to continue such coverage.

After you have received this information from your company, if you need further assistance, contact an insurance specialist at the Florida Department of Insurance by calling our toll-free Consumer Helpline at 1-800-342-2762; or, you may call or visit one of our service offices in your area.

Who has the largest number of industrial life insurance policies in Florida?

Although industrial life sales are on the decline, there still are nearly three dozen companies that have policyholders in Florida. The following is a list of the top ten companies. These companies represent about 96% of the Florida market for this kind of insurance.

American General Life and Accident .....................
(American General purchased Gulf Life and Independent Life and Accident)
1-800-888-2452
Liberty National Life Insurance Company .............. 1-800-333-0637
Life Insurance Company of Georgia ....................... 1-888-968-5433
Metropolitan Life Insurance ....................................
(no longer collects premiums)
1-800-638-5433
Prudential Life Insurance .......................................
(no longer collects premiums)
1-800-778-2255 &
1-800-837-3645
United Insurance Company of America .................. 1-800-477-8644
Capital Security Life Insurance Company ..............
(Monumental Life Insurance)
1-800-444-5431
Western and Southern Life Insurance .................... 1-800-926-1195
Atlanta Life Insurance Company ............................ 1-800-235-5422
Southern Life and Health Insurance ....................... 205-933-1160

If your company is not listed, or you need additional information, call the Florida Department of Financial Services toll-free Consumer Helpline at 1-800-342-2762; or, visit the department’s Web site at www.myfloridacfo.com.