I have dealt with Gencorp who is an AMHA sponsor. I had a claim since a mare I sold on time payments suffered an anuyerism (sp?)and died suddenly.Check was paid very quickly and company was nice to deal with.I have info if you are interested.I am in Delaware and they are in RI I think. No problem.It is all done by phone and mail.I have been with them for many years.
I'm a financial coach (licensed as a stock broker, registered as an investment advisor, and life and annuity insurance agent). I've dealt with insurance companies regarding claims (some multi million dollar claims) for 15 years and never seen anything other than prompt payment. Insurance companies are highly regulated and have strict reserve requirements. They are not maverick companies deciding on whims what obligations to honor. If you do your part, they will do their part.
Currently, I insure Destiny and DunIT, my stallions, through GenCorp and have done so for mortailty and major medcal since 2005. Happily, though, I've not had a claim on either guy. In 2003, I insured a several horses as well, including a show filly who ended up needing 2 back-to-back colic surgeries that totaled just under $5,000 and the insurance company payed off without any issues. I am pretty sure the company we used at that time was AgriRisk.
When looking to insure a horse, I feel it's important to purchase major medical along with the mortality and actually wouldn't even bother to insure a horse ONLY for mortality. If you insure a horse for only mortality and it needs an expensive surgery or proceedure that may (may!) save its life -- if you do not have this done for any reason including cost and the horse dies, you will not get a mortality benefit (and that is fair, when you think on it...). I'm not sure everyone with mortality only policies understands this or has thought in that direction to understand it.
Additionally, read your policy and riders thoroughly and if you do not understand something, call your agent and have it explained. Make notes as to the date/time and who you talked to. Understand your obligations under the policy as well.
There is also the option of purchasing surgical along with your mortality which for most companies covers up to 7500.00 per year and then when you add the "colic surgery" bonus most mortality covers you have a pretty decent amount.
It is cheaper then the Major Medical and should cover you for the most expensive things.
I learned from my vet (a surgeon) that the surgical insurance is VERY tricky... to the point where they may ONLY pay for the vet's time, NOTHING ELSE!! The surgical time is usually only $200-500... the rest of the $6000 expense is anestesia, recovery, treatments, etc. Be very very careful!
Smith and Embry is another good one. I have used them in the past, but never had a claim. I know someone who did though, twice in one year with two different horses. One who died while foaling, the other who had colic surgery. They paid out right away.
I'd call GenCorp back. That's not jiving at all with what I have insured through them ($7,500 and $10,000 horses -- I have previously carried others for as little as $5,000 and am pretty sure they will go as low as $2,500).