ReliaStar Life Insurance Review

Offers group term and whole life coverage

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Reliastar Life Insurance Review

Reliastar Life Insurance Review

Our Take

ReliaStar used to offer a full suite of individual life insurance products but rebranded to Voya Financial and has been slowly divesting itself of its individual insurance lines of business. It is currently focused on providing employee benefits packages that include group term and whole life insurance. It is a good option for people who can obtain ReliaStar’s group life insurance coverage via their employer.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Offers term life as a part of a full supplementary benefits package

  • Provides basic and supplementary life insurance coverage 

  • Accidental death and dismemberment insurance coverage can be added

  • Many riders to supplement your coverage

  • Policies have portability options

Cons
  • No longer offers insurance coverage direct to consumers

  • The business has experienced large upheavals in the last few years

  • Does not offer permanent life insurance coverage

  • Not a lot of coverage details available on their website

  • Other group insurance plans might offer more options

Key Takeaways
  • ReliaStar provides group term coverage that is part of a full supplementary benefits package that may include an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), funeral planning, travel, and will preparation assistance. 
  • The company offers spouse and child protection term riders. 
  • ReliaStar only offers group term and whole life coverage, so you will need to find another insurer for permanent life insurance policies, personal supplemental insurance policies, and property and casualty insurance. 
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1885
  • Kinds of Plans Group term, group whole
  • Number of Plans 2
  • Payment Options Payroll, automated payment
  • Official Website www.voya.com/page/group-term-life-insurance

Introduction

Now known as Voya Financial, ReliaStar is a life insurance and group benefits company that offers term and whole life group life insurance coverage exclusively through employers. It offers customizable options and might be a cost-effective and easy way to get term or whole life insurance coverage through your employer. 

We reviewed ReliaStar’s policy offerings, riders, pricing, customer service, industry ratings, and more to help you decide if their policies are right for you.  

Company Overview

ReliaStar is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is currently known as Voya Financial and has previously been known as Voya ReliaStar and ING ReliaStar. The U.S. ING banking division used to own the company but sold it in 2010. It previously sold annuities and a variety of term and universal life insurance policies directly to consumers in addition to its group coverage but has since discontinued or sold off those product lines and refocused on its employee benefits and group term business. 

ReliaStar is licensed to do business in all U.S. states and territories, but some of its policies or policy options might not be available in every area. 

Available Plans

ReliaStar offers one group term policy and one group whole life insurance policy. 

Group Term Life Insurance

ReliaStar’s group term life insurance provides employees with a basic life insurance policy that a company partially or completely covers and then gives the employee an option to purchase supplemental life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, and spouse and child life insurance coverage. Some group term life insurance policies from ReliaStar include additional benefits including an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), funeral planning help, will preparation assistance and concierge services, and travel assistance. 

Whether your company’s policy includes any of these perks will depend on whether your employer has decided to purchase them. 

Group Whole Life Insurance

Group whole life insurance is a supplementary insurance plan that you can purchase as an employee to add to the group term coverage that your employer is either partly or fully paying for. This is a permanent life insurance policy that you can get to protect your family with death benefit amounts and premiums fixed for life. Premiums are paid via payroll deductions and the cash value of your account builds over time. 

As your cash value builds, you’re able to borrow against the cash amount in your policy. The policy is portable so if you leave your employer or retire, you’re able to take this policy with you.

ReliaStar’s whole life insurance policy allows you to customize your coverage with a variety of different riders including an accelerated death benefit and a waiver of premium rider. When the policy is paid out upon death, the death benefit can be put into an interest-bearing Voya Personal Transition Account until your family can decide what to do with the funds. 

Expert Tip

When purchasing additional coverage via your employee group plan, be sure to read the fine print around the plan’s portability when you leave your employer. Some plans have terms and conditions that make it hard to keep part or all of your coverage when you change employers or retire.

Available Riders

ReliaStar offers riders on its group whole and term life insurance policies, although details are vague. You’ll need to contact your company’s HR representative for more information and pricing. 

Some riders offered by ReliaStar include the following:  

  • Accelerated death benefit rider. This rider allows you to access a portion of your death benefit prior to death if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness. With this rider, proceeds of $5,000 or more get paid into a Voya Personal Transition Account for you to use. 
  • Waiver of premium rider. This is a rider used to insure that your premiums are covered in case you become disabled and are unable to work. 
  • Child life insurance rider. You can purchase a term life insurance rider for your eligible children as an add-on to your group term life insurance coverage. 
  • Spouse life insurance rider. You can purchase a term life insurance policy for your spouse as an add-on to your group term life insurance policy. 

For a full list of riders, contact your company’s HR representative. All riders are not available in every state or territory.

Customer Service: Good Phone and Online Options

If you need help or have questions, existing customers can call ReliaStar at 1-800-584-600. To enroll in your employer’s plan, you can contact your HR department or call 1-888-311-9487 for support. Its call center hours of operations are between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET Monday to Friday.  

You can also contact the company online via your Voya account and make claims online

Customer Satisfaction: Fewer Complaints Than Average

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has a rating system where they tally the number of customer complaints that each insurance company receives relative to its market share. If a company gets an average number of complaints, it would be rated 1.0. If it gets more complaints than average, it would be rated above 1.0. If it gets fewer complaints than average, it would be rated below 1.0.

ReliaStar has an NAIC complaint index of 0.02 which means that it receives far fewer complaints than the industry average. In fact, it receives just 0.01% of the national complaints by market share. Many of the complaints received were for customer service issues or confusion around making claims. 

Financial Strength: A (Excellent)

AM Best rates companies based on their financial strength to help consumers determine how likely a company is to meet its financial obligations in the future. To do this, it looks at factors including a company’s balance sheet, income, investments, and assets.

ReliaStar has an A (Excellent) rating from AM Best. 

Cancellation Policy: Ask Your HR Representative for More Details

Like many companies and as required by law in many states, ReliaStar has a "free-look period" on its policies but does not list it online. Free-look periods tend to range between 10 and 30 days and allow you to cancel your policy at any time during that period for a full refund with no penalties. After that period ends, life insurance policies can charge you cancelation fees on your policy, depending on what you agreed to when you signed up. 

Make sure you read through the fine print of your policy and talk to the HR professional at your workplace about how you might cancel your basic or supplementary policy with ReliaStar if need be. 

Price of ReliaStar Life Insurance: Not Listed Online

ReliaStar does not list its premiums or provide quotes online. To find out how much your basic or supplementary group life insurance coverage will cost, you will have to talk with your HR administrator. 

As a general rule, premiums for group term policies depend on things like your age, gender, industry (high-risk professions might come with higher premiums), and whether or not the policy is guaranteed issue, simplified issue, or fully underwritten. 

How ReliaStar Compares to Other Life Insurance

ReliaStar offers group term and whole life insurance options as well as several other types of group supplementary benefits, including rare benefits like travel assistance. However, competitors like Aflac might be a better choice for group coverage.

Reliastar vs. Aflac

ReliaStar and Aflac both offer whole and term life insurance options but Aflac offers them to consumers directly, as well as to employers. Both companies allow you to keep your policy if you leave your employer. Both also have relatively high AM Best ratings. While both offer riders on their policies, Aflac has more of their riders listed online.  

Some key differences between Aflac and ReliaStar include the following:  

  • Aflac offers up to $500,000 in term and whole life coverage. ReliaStar does not state its coverage amounts. 
  • Aflac has more customer complaints, which might mean that your experience with the company might not be as positive as with ReliaStar. 
  • ReliaStar offers perks for employees including will preparation and funeral planning help. 
  • Aflac offers an accelerated death benefit rider included in its term and life policies for no extra charge. 

Read our full Aflac Life Insurance review.

  ReliaStar Aflac
Types of plans Whole, term Whole, term
Customer service  Phone, online, email Phone, fax, online
NAIC complaint index 0.02  1.27
Optional riders available Yes Yes
AM Best rating A A+

Final Verdict

ReliaStar is a company that used to offer a more robust selection of life insurance products but changed its name to Voya Financial and discontinued many of those product lines. The company now focuses exclusively on offering supplementary benefits to employers via group plans that include term and whole life insurance policies as well as unique benefits like employee assistance programs. 

Since many details about the policies are not available online, it’s hard to know whether its policies are a good deal or who they are best suited for. However, if your employer is paying for part or all of your base insurance policy from ReliaStar, it would make sense to get more information from your HR representative so that you can determine whether its coverage is enough for you and whether their supplementary insurance would meet your needs and budget.  

Methodology

All of our reviews of life insurance companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company’s offerings, customer service, financial stability, cost, and more. For each company, we compared the life insurance products offered, available features, and reported customer experiences. Visit our life insurance review methodology for the full breakdown of what we evaluated for over two dozen companies.