Cigna Life Insurance Review

Purchase up to $500,000 in term coverage without a medical exam

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Cigna

Cigna

Our Take

If you’re looking for a sizable life insurance policy to protect your family, Cigna is likely not a good fit for you. It only offers one type of individual life insurance, and it has a $25,000 coverage limit. While group life policies through Cigna have higher coverage maximums, you can only get insurance if you work for a participating employer. And, your benefit is based on your salary. To get a larger benefit or more plan options, you have to work with another company.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Guaranteed issue policies are available

  • You can pay your premiums through payroll deductions

  • You can get coverage for family members

Cons
  • Maximum coverage is based on your salary

  • Larger policies require medical exams

  • Limited plan options

Key Takeaways
  • Cigna was initially founded in 1792 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • It was acquired by New York Life in 2020.
  • The company specializes in group life policies.
  • Cigna also sells individual final expense policies.
  • Cigna has over 22 million group life and disability policies in force.
Company Overview

Cigna is one of the oldest insurance companies in the country. Originally named the Insurance Company of North America, it was founded in 1792 and issued marine policies for ships. 

Over time, Cigna expanded its business to include health insurance, disability coverage, and life insurance policies. In 1982, the company took on the name Cigna. 

At the end of 2020, New York Life Insurance Company—a top insurer—acquired Cigna Group Insurance. As part of the $6.3 billion acquisition, New York Life took on Cigna’s group life, accident, and disability insurance segments.

  • Year Founded 1792
  • Kinds of Plans Group term, group universal, individual whole
  • Number of Plans 3
  • Payment Plan Options Payroll deduction, one-time payments
  • Customer Service Employer, phone
  • Phone 855-373-8005
  • Official Website www.cignasupplemental.com

Cigna is not one of our top-rated life insurance companies. You can review our list of the best life insurance companies for what we think are better options.

Pros Explained

  • No medical exam required for most policies: When you purchase a Cigna group life policy through your employer, you can qualify for guaranteed issue coverage. If your coverage amount is under a set limit, you can purchase insurance without answering health questions or getting a medical exam. 
  • You can pay your premiums through payroll deductions: One advantage with group life policies is the ability to pay your premiums through payroll deductions. Using this payment method decreases the chances of missing a payment, and the money is taken out of your paycheck before you can mentally spend it. 
  • You can get coverage for family members: With Cigna group life policies, you can also purchase coverage for your spouse and children. 

Cons Explained

  • Maximum coverage is based on your salary: Cigna’s group policies have limits on available coverage. Depending on your employer, you can purchase a benefit equal to one to five times your salary. The maximum amount of coverage you can buy is $500,000. 
  • Larger policies require medical exams: If you opt for a voluntary or supplemental life insurance policy on top of the policy offered by your employer, you’ll have to submit an application and undergo a medical exam. 
  • Limited plan options: While some insurance companies have multiple insurance policies to choose from, Cigna’s offerings are more limited. There are only three life insurance plans: group term, group whole, and individual whole life policies. 

Available Plans

Cigna mainly focuses on group life insurance policies. You are only eligible for these plans if your employer offers Cigna life insurance as part of its compensation package for employees. However Cigna does have one individual policy that you can purchase on your own. 

Cigna issues the following policy types:

Group Term Life

Term coverage is temporary, providing a benefit only for the policy’s term. Because it only covers you for a specific amount of time, term life insurance tends to be cheaper than other forms of life insurance. 

With a Cigna group term life plan, your coverage lasts for the duration of your employment. How much coverage you can get is dependent on your employer. In general, you can get a benefit equal to a percentage of your salary, up to a maximum of $500,000. 

Group Universal Life

With a group universal life insurance policy from Cigna, you get permanent coverage combined. Plus, your policy can build cash value that earns tax-deferred interest. You can make withdrawals or take out loans against that cash value to pay for major expenses or to pay for some of your retirement expenses. 

Individual Whole Life

While Cigna specializes in group policies, it does sell individual whole life insurance. Whole life coverage is permanent and lasts for your lifetime. Over time, whole life policies can accumulate cash value, which you can tap into later on. 

Cigna’s whole life plans are relatively small and are designed to cover your final expenses. Policies benefits range from $2,000 to $25,000. 

Available Riders

Like other companies, Cigna has a range of optional endorsements or insurance riders you can add to your policy to adjust and customize your coverage. Riders can increase your premiums, but allow you to purchase additional coverage. 

Cigna offers the following riders: 

Accelerated Death Benefit

If either you or your spouse is diagnosed with a terminal illness and has less than 12 months to live, the accelerated death benefit rider allows you to use some of your benefit amount while you’re still living. 

Accidental Death Benefit

Available for individual whole life policies, the accidental death benefit gives your beneficiaries an additional death benefit if you die in a covered accident.  

Children’s Term

If you purchase group term life coverage, you can also get term coverage for your child. The maximum amount of coverage your child can get is $10,000. 

Waiver of Premium

If you become disabled before you turn 60, Cigna will waive your monthly premiums and your policy will remain in force. 

Spouse Term

If you’re married and have a group life policy, you can purchase up to $50,000 in term coverage for your spouse. 

Customer Service

To enroll in any policy except for the individual whole life plan, you have to go through your employer’s human resources department. If you want to apply for individual whole life coverage, you can get a quote and apply online through Cigna’s website. 

If you have any questions, you can call customer service at 855-373-8005. Customer support is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. EST. 

Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioner (NAIC)’s releases company complaint ratios to help consumers compare insurer’s customer service. The ratio is a number that reflects the number of complaints submitted about an insurance company relative to its share of a particular segment of the market. 

The industry standard is 1.0. Ideally, a company would receive fewer complaints than is typical and its ratio would be under 1.0. 

In 2020, Cigna’s complaint ratio was 0.93, slightly better than the national complaint index. 

Third-Party Ratings

AM Best is a credit rating agency that issues opinions on the financial stability of insurance companies. 

In 2020, AM Best affirmed Cigna’s A (excellent) rating. It recognized the company’s balance sheet strength and operating performance. 

While Cigna is not included in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, its new parent company, New York Life, was ranked sixth out of 24 companies. The study evaluated companies based on their products, prices, and communication with customers. 

Cancellation Policy

As with other insurers, Cigna gives customers a free look period which typically lasts for 10 days, but it may be longer in some states. During the free look period, you can cancel your policy and get a full refund of all premiums and fees paid. 

After the free look period, cancellation policies are dependent on the type of coverage you have. Term life policyholders can cancel at any time, but you won’t get a refund. If you have a group whole or universal life policy, you may be entitled to the plan surrender cash value. 

Talk to your human resources department if you’d like to cancel your coverage. If you purchased an individual whole life policy, call Cigna at 855-373-8005. 

Price

Cigna allows you to get quotes for individual whole life policies online, but doesn’t offer that feature for term or universal life plans. 

Prices for individual whole life policies start at $28 per month. However, you may qualify for a 5% spousal premium discount if you and your spouse purchase Cigna individual whole life policies at the same time. 

With term and universal policies, your rate is dependent on your age. As you age into the next five-year age bracket, your premiums will increase. 

Like other insurance companies, Cigna requires you to select “male” or “female” when applying for a life insurance policy. While being nonbinary doesn’t disqualify you from getting life insurance, be aware that most insurance companies haven’t updated their underwriting processes to reflect a current awareness of gender issues. 

Competition

With Cigna, you can purchase guaranteed issue policies and skip the medical exam. However, you have to work for a participating employer to qualify for most policies, and the one individual policy available has low coverage limits. 

If you’re looking for coverage you can purchase on your own, consider Ethos, a company that sells life insurance directly to consumers through its website. Ethos only offers term and whole life policies. Like Cigna, its whole life option is a small guaranteed issue policy, so you can’t be denied based on your medical history. 

Through Ethos, you can purchase up to $1.5 million in term life coverage, a much higher benefit than Cigna offers. 

While Ethos beats Cigna in convenience and benefit amounts, it lags behind Cigna in customer service. Ethos’ policies are underwritten by other companies, and some of them have very high complaint ratios.

  Cigna Ethos
Market Share  N/A N/A 
Number of Plans  3
Dividends for 2020  N/A N/A 
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives  N/A  N/A 
Service Method  Employer (group), phone Online, phone
AM Best Rating  A Excellent A and higher (based on company underwriting the policy)
Price Rank  Not available Not available 
Complaints Trend  0.93 0.12 to 1.24 (based on company underwriting the policy)
Final Verdict

If your employer offers Cigna group life insurance policies, it can be a convenient and simple way to get basic coverage for your loved ones. Some policies are guaranteed issue, making Cigna an excellent choice if you’ve struggled to get approved for insurance in the past. However, its options are limited, and it has relatively low benefit amounts. If you need a more robust policy, you’ll likely need to apply through another insurer.

Methodology

Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative methodology that analyzes each insurer's stability and reliability, customer service, claims experience, diversity of product lines, and cost. We compare the terms of each type of policy offered—including available coverage amounts, optional riders, and premium payment options—with that of other major life insurance companies. Lastly, we look at how the company is rated by third-party organizations to determine its reliability and overall reputation.

Article Sources

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  1. NAIC. "Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company - Complaint Index." Accessed May 11, 2021. 

  2. AM Best. "AM Best Assigns Credit Ratings to CIGNA Global Insurance Company Limited." Accessed May 11, 2021.