Sentinel Security Life Insurance Review

Life insurance and annuity plans for seniors

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Sentinel Security Life

Sentinel Security Life 

Our Take 

Sentinel Security Life Insurance offers final expense life insurance plus fixed and fixed indexed annuities. The annuity products are designed to give customers a fixed-income savings strategy as well as a steady stream of income in retirement. Sentinel Security Life Insurance offers a few decent annuity options, but those looking for more life insurance options will be better served elsewhere.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Fixed and fixed indexed annuities offered

  • Tax-deferred retirement savings

  • Final expense plans do not require a medical exam

Cons
  • Independent agents are paid a commission to sell Sentinel Security Life Insurance products

  • No term, universal, or standard whole life insurance policies available

  • Annuity riders come with high fees

Key Takeaways
  • Sentinel Security Life Insurance is an insurance company that mostly offers annuity products.
  • Sentinel Security Life Insurance was founded in 1948 by funeral directors.
  • Sentinel Security Life Insurance also offers supplemental Medicare insurance.
  • Sentinel Security Life Insurance is a subsidiary of Advantage Capital Holdings, LLC.
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1948
  • Kinds of Plans Fixed, Fixed Index, and Variable Annuities
  • Number of Plans 1
  • Payment Options Annual, Lump-sum
  • Official Website sslco.com

Introduction

Sentinel Security Life Insurance offers final expense life insurance in addition to fixed and fixed indexed annuities. We researched Sentinel Security Life Insurance’s financial stability, policy plan options, riders, website tools, and customer service reviews to help you compare the life insurance policy options of Sentinel Security Life Insurance with the competition. 

Company Overview

Sentinel Security Life Insurance (originally Sentinel Mutual Insurance Company) was founded in 1948 by a group of Utah funeral directors, offering final expense life insurance to help cover funeral and burial expenses. Over the years it has added annuity products to its offerings with multiple riders available for customization.

Sentinel Security Life Insurance offers fixed and fixed indexed annuities designed for tax-deferred savings and growth, giving customers a fixed-income vehicle for retirement. It also still carries final expense life insurance to cover end-of-life expenses.

Sentinel Security Life Insurance also offers supplement Medicare insurance coverage.


Sentinel Security Life Insurance is only available in 33 states, but actual availability varies by product and state.

Available Plans

Sentinel Security Life Insurance offers one life insurance plan and six annuities including fixed, fixed index, variable, and guaranteed annuities. Sentinel Security focuses more on its annuity products, which can be more complicated and expensive than other retirement income vehicles. 

We recommend consulting with a licensed financial professional before purchasing any annuity product.

Final Expense Life Insurance

Final Expense life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that is designed to cover end-of-life expenses, such as funeral and burial costs. It offers level premiums and guaranteed coverage as long as premiums are paid. This policy is simplified issue, meaning that no medical exam is required to qualify. You will need to speak with an insurance agent for exact details on how much coverage is available with this plan. 

Fixed Annuity

Sentinel Security Life Insurance offers several fixed annuity options, which are best suited for investors who want steady retirement income with a low level of risk. A fixed annuity is an insurance contract with a guaranteed interest rate for a predetermined period. These can be invested in over time or contributed to in a lump sum for an immediate stream of income

Sentinel Security Life Insurance offers two fixed annuities, designed to provide guaranteed income during retirement. The Personal Choice annuity offers fixed interest rates for five, seven, or 10-year annuity terms. The Guaranteed Income annuity is a 10-year contract that offers a guaranteed interest rate for the first two years, as well as several rider options for providing income options.

Fixed Indexed Annuity

A fixed indexed annuity is an insurance product designed for growth where your contributions into the plan are invested in an index, such as the S&P 500, for more potential growth than a fixed-income annuity. The payments from this product are tied to the performance of the underlying investments. 

Fixed index annuities typically have a guaranteed minimum interest rate, so even if the value drops due to market changes, there is still a guaranteed minimum income paid out.

Sentinel Security Life Insurance offers several fixed indexed annuity options:

  • Personal Choice Plus+. This plan offers a guaranteed interest rate for five years, as well as the ability to earn interest in the indexed account, based on the performance of the S&P 500 index.
  • Summit Bonus Index. Offers a fixed interest account, an indexed account with several investment methods that are tied to the performance of the S&P 500.
  • Retirement Plus Multiplier Annuity. This annuity offers a fixed interest rate, and investment options to grow the accumulated balance tied to the performance of the S&P 500 or Goldman Sachs Aging of America Dynamic Balance Index. Several riders are available to customize withdrawal options as well.
  • The Accumulation Protector Plus Annuity. Similar to the Retirement Plus annuity, this product offers a fixed interest rate account, as well as an indexed account tied to the performance of the S&P 500, or the Credit Suisse Momentum Index.

Available Riders

Sentinel Security Life Insurance offers access to several riders for its annuity and life insurance products. A rider is an optional policy enhancement that adds additional benefits or custom coverage options to the annuities.

Annuity Death Benefit Feature

This rider can be added to annuity contracts, offering a death benefit equal to the contract’s value at the time of your passing. This rider comes with a 0.35% fee, based on the total value of the contract.

Terminal Illness/Nursing Home Care Rider

If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness or confined to a nursing home for 90 days or more, withdrawal charges on annuity products are waived. This rider comes with a 0.15% fee, based on the total value of the contract.

Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit

This rider offers monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual income for the life of the annuity policy. This rider allows payments to be paused or stopped at any time. This rider comes with a 1.25% fee for years 1-5 and a 1.60% fee for years 6-10. Fees are based on the total value of the insurance contract.

Legacy Benefit Rider

This annuity rider increases the contract benefit to your beneficiaries by 4%. This rider comes with a 1.25% fee for years 1-5 and a 1.60% fee for years 6-10. Fees are based on the total value of the insurance contract.

Accumulation Interest Withdrawal Rider

This rider allows the annuitant to begin withdrawing accumulated interest right away without paying a surrender charge. There are no fees for this rider.

Customer Service: Phone or Email

Sentinel Security Life Insurance offers customer service via phone or email. Since policies are sold through independent agents, you can also contact your agent for any questions about your policy or prices.

Sentinel Security Life Insurance customer service business hours are Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MT. You can reach customer service by calling 1-800-247-1423 or sending an email to policyservice@sslco.com. 

Sentinel Security Life Insurance also has a home office in Salt Lake City, UT, which is open during business hours (Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.).

Customer Satisfaction: Very Few Complaints

Sentinel Security Life Insurance received fewer complaints than other insurance companies, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). According to the NAIC complaint index, an average score is 1.0  (the lower, the better), and Sentinel Security Life Insurance received a score of 0.07. This score is the lowest in three years, with a 0.28 and 0.33 score in 2019 and 2018, respectively.

J.D. Power also ranks annuity companies based on customer satisfaction, but Sentinel Security Life Insurance was not ranked in the 2020 Life Insurance Study.

Financial Strength: B++ (Good)

Sentinel Security Life Insurance received a B++ (Good) rating from AM Best, which is a strong rating, but lower than other top-rated life insurance companies. This rating is based on Sentinel Security Life Insurance’s improved operating profile and balance sheet, as well as its enterprise risk management. 

The improved ratings are due to an increase in premiums received, as well as Sentinel Security Life Insurance’s inclusion in the Advantage Capital family of companies. This rating from AM Best gives customers confidence that Sentinel Security Life Insurance has the financial ability to pay life insurance and annuity claims as they arise.

Cancellation Policy: 20-Day Free Look Period

Sentinel Security Life Insurance allows customers who purchased a life insurance policy or annuity to cancel it and receive a full refund within 20 days of opening the policy.

After the free look period, cancellation terms vary between insurance products, and we recommend speaking with an agent about the terms of cancellation before signing up.

Price of Sentinel Security Life Insurance: Quotes May Vary

Sentinel Security Life Insurance prices for life insurance and annuities are not available online. Prices will vary depending on the product, total amount covered, and the optional riders selected. Quotes will need to be obtained directly from an independent agent.

Annuities are complicated financial instruments that may come with various fees and charges. We recommend asking insurance agents how they are compensated, and what fees are involved in annuity contracts.

How Sentinel Security Life Insurance Compares to Other Life Insurance

Sentinel Security Life Insurance only sells final expense life insurance policies, but also offers a wide range of annuity products. Its final expense policy is designed for seniors looking to cover end-of-life expenses while annuities provide lifetime income and tax-deferred growth for retirement. As Sentinel Life Insurance doesn’t offer many life insurance options, here's how it compares to a large life insurance company. 

Sentinel Security Life Insurance vs. New York Life

While Sentinel Security Life Insurance is a smaller seller of annuities in the U.S., New York Life is the largest life insurance company in the U.S. (by market share). Sentinel Security Life Insurance offers annuity products and a final expense life insurance policy, while New York Life offers a variety of life insurance products with a wide range of riders for customization.

Here are a few differences between Sentinel Security Life Insurance and New York Life:

  • New York Life sells policies through captive agents, while Sentinel Security Life Insurance sells products through independent agents.
  • Sentinel Security Life Insurance offers tax-deferred investment options through annuitization, while New York Life offers tax-deferred cash value life insurance policies.
  • Sentinel Security Life Insurance offers fixed indexed annuities, while New York Life does not.
  • New York Life offers term, whole, and universal life policies in addition to annuities.

If you are looking for life insurance, New York Life is one of the strongest life insurance companies around, with policy options for almost everyone. But if you are looking for fixed or fixed indexed annuities for retirement income, Sentinel Security Life Insurance has a wide range of options available.

Read our full New York Life Insurance review.

  Sentinel Security Life Insurance New York Life Insurance 
Market Share N/A Largest, 6.75% of market
Number of Plans 1 10 
Online Quotes Available?  No No 
Service Method  Email, phone Email, phone, in person 
AM Best Rating  B++ (Good) A++ (Superior) 
Complaints Index  0.07 (Excellent) 0.15 (Excellent) 
Final Verdict

Sentinel Security Life Insurance is a decent option for those looking for fixed or fixed-indexed rate annuities, with multiple policy options and riders for full customization. It also offers final expense life insurance for those looking to cover end-of-life expenses.

Sentinel Life Insurance also boasts a low number of customer complaints and a strong financial rating from AM Best as well. But if you are looking for policies such as term or universal life policies, you won’t find those with Sentinel Security Life Insurance and are better off shopping around to find the best life insurance for your needs.

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, as well as 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.