About CSO


Company Profile

Central States

CSO is a mutually owned insurance company specializing in the debt protection market. The company's vision is to be the leader in debt protection products by providing innovative solutions and value to its client institutions, agents, customers and policyholders.

A solid history of successful business practice has provided CSO with an exceptionally strong financial base. CSO's retained earnings exceed $215,000,000.

CSO is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the dual focus of credit insurance products and debt cancellation programs. These product offerings are marketed by its business partners consisting of automobile dealerships and financial institutions. CSO's extensive nationwide network of sales and training professionals and general agents allow for effective and responsive servicing of accounts. A commitment to service excellence is supported by:

  • Personalized 'One Call' approach through an established helpline allowing callers to speak to a CSO Representative rather than an automated menu system. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Central Time.
  • Call abandonment rate of 1.21% with 98% of calls answered in less than 20 seconds.
  • Processing an average of over $2 million monthly in credit insurance claims.
  • Less than a 6 day average turnaround for processing credit insurance claims and debt cancellation benefit requests.
  • Providing training support via several delivery systems to meet client needs.

CSO boasts a strong and proud history. With over 85 years of experience in the business of protecting debt, the company supports approximately 3,000 automobile dealerships and financial institutions; CSO is considered to be the top provider of credit insurance products to the U.S. dealer market.  The company services over 500,000 active credit life and disability policies/certificates and debt cancellation contracts.  CSO possesses the knowledge and skills required to extend superior service and products to its policyholders and business partners alike.

CSO and its subsidiaries, Censtat Life Assurance Company and Censtat Casualty Company, have an A.M. Best credit rating of A- (Excellent)*. For the latest rating, go to www.ambest.com.  CSO has successfully completed annual Service Organization Control (SOC) audits since 2012.  CSO's SOC audit report covers the financial, information systems controls and related applications used by CSO for administration of its business partner’s programs.

Based in Omaha, Nebraska, CSO employs approximately 130 individuals who are dedicated to supporting the needs of the company’s client institutions, agents, customers and policyholders. CSO is proud to be a primary founder of workplace wellness and promotes a drug and alcohol free work environment.

CSO conducts business in every state (except New York), as well as the District of Columbia, Guam and Saipan. The company strives to be the provider of choice in the debt protection market with its motto, "To Care is To Grow" the guiding philosophy behind how business is done.

*A.M. Best's Financial Strength Rating is an independent opinion of an insurer's financial strength and ability to meet ongoing obligations to policyholders.

Company History

Central States

With two desks, two chairs and 100 people each willing to spend $11 on a health and accident insurance policy T. L. Kizer founded Central States. It was 1932, right in the middle of the Great Depression. Central States persevered, developing its product and services portfolio and growing its reserve base throughout the decades.

In the beginning, the company pioneered what was then called Deferred Payment Health & Accident Protection. Designed for borrowers, this plan of protection made the loan payments for the insured when death or disability made it difficult. This protection was the first of its kind in the Midwest, and it quickly propelled Central State's growth in the insurance industry. The company soon developed a hospital reimbursement policy, similar to modern major medical insurance, and expanded its business into Colorado and South Dakota by the early 1950s.

In 1957, Central States celebrated its silver anniversary and changed its corporate charter to a legal reserve life, health and accident company. Emerging with a new corporate name - Central States Health & Life Co. of Omaha (CSO) - the company now offered both life and health insurance and was licensed in 14 states. The new name was a more accurate reflection of CSO's diversified product lines.

CSO continued to experience growth and became a leading writer of credit insurance and various health insurance products. Statutory surplus grew from $1,000,000 in 1960 to over $5,400,000 by 1970. To accommodate the growing business, in 1976 a new headquarters facility was built on a 13-acre office site in Omaha, Nebraska.

An important organizational change occurred in 1977 when CSO formed a subsidiary: Central States Indemnity (CSI). Chartered to operate as a full line property and casualty insurance company, CSI focused on credit disability and unemployment insurance for bank credit card customers. At the same time, CSO's credit insurance, major medical and supplemental health lines helped fuel the company's growth. By 1980, statutory surplus exceeded $10,000,000.

It was not long before the company’s continued growth prompted the construction of a second building. Completed in 1988, the five-story structure was built directly adjacent to the first building and was the first round office building built in Omaha. In December 1992, CSO's subsidiary, CSI, was purchased by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. As a result of this sale, CSO's financial condition was strengthened and its ability to compete in the insurance marketplace was enhanced. Statutory surplus now exceeded $37,000,000.

In the late 1990's, a strategic business initiative was set into motion designed to ultimately place emphasis on the company’s core business: debt protection. The major medical business was sold in 1999. And, with the expanded ability of financial institutions to offer debt cancelation products, in 2002 an infrastructure was developed enabling CSO to support debt cancellation programs. The ability to extend both credit insurance and debt cancellation offerings solidified the company’s position as a leader in the debt protection industry.

In 2004, CSO made a tactical decision to discontinue marketing its Medicare Supplement and other supplemental health insurance products. With the reinsurance and/or assumption of the supplemental blocks of business completed in 2005, CSO exited the health insurance market. These transactions resulted in statutory surplus combined with asset valuation reserve to reach a record high, in excess of $100,000,000.

With CSO's focus now 100% on its core business - debt protection - the company strategically established initiatives to grow its business. In 2006, CSO entered into an alliance with Jim Moran and Associates (JM&A) for the rights to market credit insurance to JM&A's dealership base. Later that year, CSO negotiated a similar agreement with Zurich. In 2007, CSO finalized an agreement with The Warranty Group to take over Resource Life Insurance Company (RLIC) credit insurance block of business. CSO quickly earned the reputation as an industry consolidator.

By the end of 2010, the company was recognized as one of the top five U.S. writers of credit life and disability direct written premiums (based on data contained in the CCIA Fact Book, 2011).

In 2011, CSO was again successful in aligning with American Heritage Life, (AHL). Like JM&A, Zurich and Resource Life, AHL decided to phase out their credit insurance products and form a strategic partnership with CSO.

As a result of these agreements, CSO established a significant national presence in the automobile dealership market and is considered as the credit insurance leader. In addition, CSO continues to place strong emphasis on servicing and growing their business with financial institutions for both credit insurance and the evolving debt cancellation lines.

Today, statutory surplus exceeds $150,000,000.  CSO supports approximately 3,000 automobile dealerships and financial institutions and remains a top five US writer of credit life and disability insurance. CSO's vision remains to be the leader in the debt protection market by providing innovative solutions, exceptional service and value to lenders, agents, dealers and policyholders. CSO is uniquely positioned to capitalize on a dual focus of extending traditional credit life and disability insurance products as well as providing debt cancellation programs.

*A.M. Best's Financial Strength Rating is an independent opinion of an insurer's financial strength and ability to meet ongoing obligations to policyholders.

Mission Statement

Central States

Central States Health & Life Co. of Omaha exists to help people enhance their lives by offering quality products and services, thereby assisting people in minimizing their financial risks. In pursuit of this mission, CSO strives to:

  • Maintain a strong financial base and be governed by its trustee obligations.
  • Maintain a reasonable diversity of products, targeting areas where CSO is best qualified.
  • Develop a highly skilled and productive group of professionals and create a working environment that supports their personal and career goals.
  • Monitor the changing marketplace and incorporate that change into our products and people.
  • Maintain constructive and informed relationships with regulatory groups.

In a desire to stress quality in all things and expand on a sound basis, CSO recognizes a theme of "To Care is To Grow" in every business decision. To fulfill this theme, CSO endeavors to:

  • Instill a sense of fair play, equal opportunity and justice in all things.
  • Inspire through the pursuit of professionalism and excellence a liveliness of mind and expression that promotes company loyalty and pride.
  • Encourage the company and its employees to participate in the affairs of their communities, on local, state and national levels, and to make meaningful contributions to professional associations.
  • Encourage people to take responsibility for their own health and to make wellness a way of living a longer, healthier life.

While in the long term, CSO's success is measured in dollars, the company exists to serve the needs of its policyholders, client institutions, agents and dedicated personnel.

Wellness

Central States

CSO is proud to be a primary founder of workplace wellness and also promotes a drug and alcohol free workplace. CSO offers a smoke-free workplace and does not hire individuals who utilize tobacco products (in states permitting such practice). For information on CSO’s definition of tobacco products and on those states permitting this practice, please contact Human Resources at 402-399-3336 or toll free at 800-826-6587 extension 3336.

CSO employees have free use of the on-site fitness center – the William M. Kizer More Life Center. Equipped with cardio and weight equipment, the fitness center also offers instructor led lunch hour yoga and strength training classes. The company promotes wellness through its Wellness Connection program, encouraging employees to engage in healthy nutrition, physical activity and other core wellness programs. CSO is an active member of the Wellness Council of the Midlands and the Wellness Council of America and has consistently been recognized by these organizations for its wellness commitment. CSO has been named by the Wellness Council of America a gold-level well-workplace.

Careers

Central States

Since its founding in 1932, CSO has been providing challenging career opportunities in the clerical, administrative, professional, sales, and management fields. CSO’s workforce culture is guided by its mission statement which specifically notes: to develop a highly skilled and productive group of professionals and create a working environment that supports their personal and career goals. CSO strives to provide careers which provide professional growth and personal balance.

CSO is proud to be a primary founder of the workplace wellness movement and promotes a drug and alcohol free workplace. We offer a smoke-free workplace and do not hire individuals who utilize tobacco products (in states permitting such practice). For information on CSO’s definition of tobacco products and on those states permitting this practice, please contact Human Resources at 402-399-3336 or toll free at 800-826-6587 extension 3336.

To learn about current opportunities available and benefit offerings, please use the links below.

CSO participates in E-Verify, a Federal Program that helps to certify employees are eligible to work in the United States. Please read the attached notices for important information regarding applying to work with CSO.

Leadership

To Care is To Grow

T. Edward Kizer (President) and Richard T. Kizer (Chairman)

As grandsons of the company’s founder T.L. Kizer, Dick and Ed Kizer today provide the leadership and oversee the strategic direction of CSO. CSO employs approximately 130 individuals who are dedicated to supporting the needs of the company’s client institutions, agents, customers and policyholders.

Online Privacy

Effective 6/4/2001

At Central States Health & Life Co. of Omaha (CSO) we value the trust you have placed in us and maintaining this trust is a high priority for us. We pride ourselves on offering you top quality insurance products and providing you with excellent service. We do this while respecting your right to privacy and using your information only as we agreed. Our information practices for this web site are described below:

Your Personal Information:
When you come to a CSO web site, we log your current Internet address (this is usually a temporary address assigned by your Internet service provider when you log in), the type of operating system you are using, and the type of browser software used. In addition, we may keep track of what portions of the web site you are visiting. We aggregate this information to help us create a better experience for users of our web site. For example: we may upgrade those parts of the web site that are heavily visited or optimize the web site to work more efficiently with certain operating systems. This is all done without our knowing your name or other personal identifying information. When you visit a CSO web site, you are anonymous, unless you choose to identify yourself to us.

You are not required to provide us with personal information to use our web sites, unless expressly stated. For example, certain features may require you to submit some personal information in order for those features to function as designed. Such information might include name, address, E-mail address, and phone number. Certain portions of our web sites may require you to provide identifying information and use individual passwords in order to access personal information.

If you do choose to provide us with personal information, you can be assured that such information is kept in secured databases. CSO treats this information as confidential. However, we may disclose this information to third parties when we believe it is necessary in order for us to conduct our business, or where such disclosure is required by law. For example, we may disclose information to others to enable them to perform business services for us relating to the products and services we offer, or who help us to evaluate requests for insurance or benefits.

We may also disclose this information to others outside of the CSO family of companies, such as marketing companies or our agents, to assist us in offering our products and services to individuals who apply for or obtain products and services from us. We do not make any other disclosures of personal information to other companies who intend to sell their products or services to you. For example, we will not sell your name or E-mail address to a catalog company.

Cookies:
A cookie is a small piece of information that a web site sends to your computer, which is stored in a file on your hard drive. The next time you visit our web site, we may use the information stored in your cookie file to facilitate your use of our web site. For example, we may use your cookie file to store a password so that you do not have to input it every time you move to a different section of a password protected portion of our web site. A cookie does not tell us your individual identity unless you have chosen to provide it to us. Most cookies expire after a defined period of time, or you can delete your cookie file at any time you choose. In addition, you can set your browser to notify you when you receive a cookie so that you can decide whether to accept or reject it.

Privacy and E-Mail:
CSO uses no encryption (data scrambling) on certain portions of our web site, and up to 128-bit encryption on other portions. When you are on any web site that asks you for confidential information (your social security number or a bank or credit card account number, for example), you should check to see if the information being transmitted is encrypted in order to increase the security of your information. If you need to send confidential information and are concerned about the security of a web site, then you should consider providing it by phone or by regular mail instead.

Minors:
At the CSO web sites we make no active effort to collect personal information from children under the age of 18. We believe that children who do wish to submit information to CSO should have permission from their parent or legal guardian.

Additional Rights:
Applicable laws may give you additional rights that are not described in this online privacy policy.

Customer Privacy

California Resident General Privacy Notice, click here.  

Montana Resident General Privacy Notice, click here.  

AZ, IL, MA, ME, MN, NJ, OH, TX, VA Resident General Privacy Notice, click here.

For all other states, click here.  

If you have questions about CSO and privacy, please contact us at legal@cso.com