Symetra Life Insurance Review

Individual and group life insurance

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Symetra

Symetra

overall rating
4.3

Our Take

Symetra offers term and permanent life insurance policies directly to individuals and via employers through group plans. Its plans are a great option if you want to get group coverage with additional benefits or if you want an affordable individual policy. However, if you’re looking for whole or universal coverage or you want to buy your insurance directly from a company, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Term coverage options of 10, 25, 20, and 30 years

  • Offers policy loans on universal index plans

  • Indexed universal life plan can be used for business succession planning

  • Two options for group life insurance

  • Group policies include accidental death and dismemberment coverage

Cons
  • No quotes available online

  • Few policy details on website

  • Unclear what optional riders are offered on  group policies

Key Takeaways
  • Symetra provides term insurance through employer group plans and term and universal index coverage through individual plans that you purchase directly from insurance professionals like brokers or insurance agents. 
  • Symetra offers a comprehensive suite of other group supplementary insurance plans including disability insurance and absence management coverage. 
  • Symetra does not offer insurance policies like auto or home, so you will not be able to get all your insurance needs met by one company. 
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1957
  • Kinds of Plans Term, universal index, universal group coverage
  • Number of Plans 5
  • Payment Options Mail, online, phone, automated payment, credit card, payroll
  • Official Website https://www.symetra.com/our-products/individuals/life-insurance/

Introduction

Symetra is a retirement planning, benefits, and life insurance company that offers term, universal index, and universal policies through employers and term and universal index life insurance policies to individuals that are sold via insurance professionals. 

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

Company Overview

Symetra is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, and provides retirement plans, employee benefits, annuities, and life insurance through a network of independent agents across the country. It is a subsidiary of Sumitomo Life, a Japanese insurance company that acquired it in 2016. The company has 1.6 million customers and around 1,900 employees across the U.S. 

It is licensed for business in all states except New York. However, the company’s products may not be available in all states. 

Available Plans 

Symetra offers several policy options that are available through your workplace or an independent agent or broker. 

Group Life Insurance

Symetra offers group life insurance plans that allow businesses to provide their employees with worksite and term life insurance. These policies can either be partly or fully covered by the employer and might offer the employee a choice around coverage amounts and add-ons, depending on what plan the employer has set up. 

Symetra’s plans are usually set up to provide a basic group coverage amount. Employees are then allowed to purchase supplemental life insurance coverage if they want. Depending on the coverage your employer offers, you might be able to get a plan for your spouse and children as an add-on to your Symetra policy. 

Symetra’s group life insurance plan includes accidental death and dismemberment coverage for free along with unique added benefits including funeral planning, travel assistance, and identity theft protection.

Symetra does not list the coverage amount ranges of their group life insurance plans online. To learn more, contact your employer’s HR department. 

Symetra’s individual policies are all fully underwritten and may require a medical exam. Symetra’s group policies might include a portion that is guaranteed or simplified.

Term Life Insurance

Symetra offers affordable term life insurance policies in 10, 15, 20, or 30-year terms. You have to be at least 20 years old to qualify for a policy and you cannot get coverage over the age of 80. The premiums are level and the coverage is convertible at any time into a permanent life insurance policy. 

Coverage amount minimums range from $100,000 to $500,000 depending on your underwriting class, or the risk profile you are placed in by an underwriter depending on your age, health, and other factors like whether you smoke. Symetra’s term policies include an Accelerated Benefit Rider for Terminal illness for no additional cost. 

Symetra Accumulator IUL

The Symetra Accumulator IUL (indexed universal life) is designed to protect your loved ones, protect your business, or provide you with a source of income for your retirement. This type of policy can also be used if you want to transfer a business to a family member or buy out a partnership after your death. 

With the Accumulator policy, you can direct your insurance premiums, above what you pay for the basic insurance amount, towards building the cash value of your account using one of six index strategies, a fixed account with a fixed interest rate, or a combination of those. You will not lose money if an index decreases in value but the interest you earn on your life insurance policy’s cash value is indexed to a particular market index so when it increases, your account is credited with that interest. 

After 11 years, you get a "persistency bonus" that adds a credit applied to your cash value, and during every eight-year period, there is a "lookback guarantee" on your policy. If your returns were not at least 2% per year over that period of time, Symetra will adjust your account. 

You can access your money via a policy loan after the first year of the policy. You can also use your policy to pay your premiums or increase or decrease the death benefit depending on your situation. 

Symetra CAUL

Another universal index policy that Symetra offers is the Symetra CAUL. This policy allows you to get flexible universal life coverage that includes a "no lapse guarantee" and allows you to access the money via withdrawals or loans. The minimum coverage amount of this policy is $50,000 for juveniles (15 days to 15 years) and $100,000 for those over 15 years old. 

This policy gives you three options for your death benefit: a level death benefit, a death benefit that increases, or a death benefit that includes a return of premium guarantee where you get your death benefit and the value of all the premiums that you’ve paid. 

The Symetra CAUL policy also guarantees that you will earn a 2% interest rate on your cash value over every 12 months, and it comes with a chronic illness rider and a terminal illness rider. 

UL-G Policy

The UL-G policy is a universal life insurance policy that allows you to get permanent insurance with cash value that has protection against lapsed coverage. There’s also an option to get the coverage under a survivorship policy, which allows you to share a policy with your spouse, and the payout coming only after both of you die. Should you choose this survivorship option, you also get lapsed protection benefits and a policy split option rider included which allows you to split the policy into two Symetra single universal life insurance policies if you no longer want the survivorship coverage. 

The minimum death benefit for the UL-G is $50,000 to $100,000, depending on your underwriting class. Premiums are guaranteed to earn at least 2% interest over any 12-month period.  The policy includes a chronic illness rider and a terminal illness rider free of charge.  

Survivorship policies are great ways to save money on coverage since they tend to cost less than getting two separate policies.

Available Riders

Symetra has several life insurance riders to add additional coverage to your policy. Here are some rider options:  

  • Child life insurance rider: This rider allows you to get term coverage for children between the ages of 15 days and 17 years in amounts between $1,000 and $10,000. 
  • Spouse life insurance rider: With this rider, you can get coverage for your spouse. How much you’re eligible to purchase will depend on the policy you select.  
  • Chronic illness plus rider: You can get up to 100% of your death benefit in advance with this rider if you get diagnosed with a chronic illness.
  • Terminal illness rider: With this rider, you can get a portion of your death benefit if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness and have 12 months to live. 
  • No lapse guarantee. This rider can guarantee the policy will be in force for five years so long as the minimum requirements for premiums are met. 
  • Charitable giving rider: With this rider, you can provide an additional benefit of 1% of the base policy (up to $100,000) upon your death to a charity of your choice.
  • Accidental death benefit rider: This rider allows you to add $250,000 of coverage or up to three times the policy’s face amount in the event of accidental death. 
  • Term rider: With this rider, you can get term coverage added onto your policy of up to 20 years with level premiums. 
  • Waiver of premium rider: If you become permanently disabled, you can get your premiums covered if you opt for this rider. 
  • Return of premium rider: With this rider, 100% of your premiums are returned to you if your life insurance needs change and you need to cancel your policy. 

Symetra’s riders cannot be added to all policies and some are added to policies free of charge. For more about riders and their cost, contact your HR representative or your insurance broker or agent. 

Customer Service: Good Phone, Email, and Online Options

You can contact Symetra’s customer service call center by calling 1-800-796-3872 from 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PT Monday through Friday. The company also offers online forms for claims and allows you to send them an email via an online form.

Customer Satisfaction: Fewer Complaints Than Average 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) gives out a rating to insurance companies to help customers gauge customer satisfaction. A rating of 1 would mean that a company had an average number of customer complaints. A rating above 1 would mean that a company had more than average customer complaints. A rating below 1 would mean that a company had fewer than average customer complaints. 

Symetra has an NAIC complaint index rating of 0.07 which means that it receives far fewer complaints than its competitors. In total, they get 0.02% of the national complaint market share. Many of the complaints received were for billing errors and problems with customer service. 

Financial Strength: A (Excellent)

AM Best is a financial rating agency that helps customers gauge a company’s financial strength. AM Best looks at elements like a company’s business profile, balance sheet, and forecasted performance to give it a score based on how financially healthy the company is and how likely they are to meet their future financial obligations. 

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

Cancellation Policy: Up to a 30 Day Free-Look Period

Symetra offers up to a 30-day free-look period with many of its policies. That means that after you purchase a plan, you will have 30 days to decide if you want to keep it or cancel it. If you cancel it during the free look period, your premiums are refunded and you don’t pay any cancellation fees. 

Symetra doesn’t list its cancelation fees online outside the free look period, so talk to your HR professional or insurance professional for cancelation details before you sign up for a plan. If you are getting a permanent life insurance policy, make sure to also ask about the policy’s method for calculating the surrender value of your policy. 

Price of Symetra Life Insurance: Varies by Policy Type

Symetra does not provide quotes or estimates online. What you will pay for your coverage through Symetra will vary significantly depending on if you are getting a group plan or an individual plan. Symetra states that their group plans are cheaper and provide savings on coverage. 

Individual plans will likely be more expensive and your premiums will be set based on things like your policy type, risk category, whether you smoke, your age, your gender, and what kinds of hobbies you participate in. 

How Symetra Compares to Other Life Insurance

While Symetra offers more robust universal index life insurance than other companies, companies such as Forethought might be a better option for some. 

Symetra vs. Forethought Review

Symetra and Forethought are both insurance companies that sell several different universal index life insurance policies that provide consumers with significant coverage and customization options. They also both have very low numbers of customer complaints and relatively high AM Best financial strength ratings.  

These are some other key differences between Forethought and Symetra:  

  • Forethought offers universal index policy options with more indexing choices and variety, something that could help you diversify your investment strategy. 
  • Symetra offers more riders that allow you to customize and add-on to your coverage. 
  • Forethought guarantees you an annual return of 2% and reviews that return every year. 
  • Symetra also guarantees you an annual return of 2% but only looks back at your return every eight years and averages your return over those years. 
  • Forethought offers preneed insurance but does not offer term coverage.
  Symetra Forethought
Types of Plans Term, universal, universal index, group Preneed, universal index
Customer Service  Phone, email, online  Phone, online, email 
NAIC Complaint Index  0.07  0.09 
Optional Riders Available  Yes  Yes 
AM Best Rating  A- 

When choosing universal index policies, compare the performances of the indexes you can choose for your policy. You might also want to diversify the indexes to which you connect your policy to limit your risk or exposure to one industry.

Final Verdict

Symetra has group, term, universal, and universal index life insurance policies that offer a significant number of options for customization and optimization. It is a great option as you can get supplementary coverage for your spouse or children and includes accidental death and dismemberment insurance free of charge. The term, universal, and universal index policies allow you to customize your policy with a significant number of riders that add additional protection. Symetra also provides a lot of indexing options to help you build your cash value and the company also offers very flexible policies that can change throughout your life as your needs change.  

Symetra is a great option for group coverage or individual coverage if you’re looking for a policy that is affordable but has additional benefits or the option to add riders to your coverage.

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.