ReliaStar Life Insurance Review

Group term and whole life insurance sold under the brand name Voya Financial

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Voya financial

Our Take

ReliaStar Life Insurance Company is the underwriter for Voya Financial’s group life insurance policies. If your employer offers life insurance through Voya, it’s a good option if you want low-cost coverage. Just keep in mind that the policies are limited, and you won’t have many options to customize your policy with riders.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Coverage is available nationwide

  • Low number of complaints

  • Good financial strength

Cons
  • No individual policies offered

  • Limited policy information online

  • No online quotes

Key Takeaways
  • ReliaStar Life Insurance is the underwriter for Voya’s group life insurance policies.
  • The only ReliaStar policies available through Voya are term and whole life insurance.
  • ReliaStar has great third-party ratings, with good financial stability and few complaints.
Company Overview

ReliaStar Life Insurance is a subsidiary of Voya Financial, one of the leading providers of group retirement, investment, and insurance products. ReliaStar was acquired by Voya in 2000. Today, all of Voya’s group life insurance policies are underwritten by ReliaStar Life Insurance Company and ReliaStar Life Insurance Company of New York, which operate in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. 

Mid- and large-sized companies can purchase group life insurance that is underwritten by ReliaStar through Voya’s Employee Benefits division. Currently, Voya doesn’t sell individual policies. To purchase group coverage, you’ll need to call the company or send an email request through the website. 

  • Year Founded 1885
  • Kinds of Plans Term life and whole life
  • Number of Plans 2
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly (option for payroll deduction)
  • Customer Service Phone: (800) 955-7736; Online form
  • Official Website www.voya.com

ReliaStar 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

  • Coverage is available nationwide: ReliaStar underwrites group life insurance policies in all 50 states and Washington D.C.
  • Low number of complaints: In the NAIC Company Complaint Index, ReliaStar has fewer than average complaints, with a score of 0.21.
  • Good financial strength: ReliaStar received a financial strength rating of A from AM Best, which is the third-highest score possible.

Cons Explained

  • No individual policies offered: Voya stopped selling individual life insurance policies in 2019, so unless your employer offers Voya group benefits, you won’t be eligible for coverage that is underwritten by ReliaStar.
  • Limited policy information online: On its website, Voya doesn’t include much information about what its group life insurance policies cover and who is eligible. 
  • No online quotes: You can’t get a quote for group life insurance through Voya’s website. You’ll need to contact an agent to see how much you’ll pay.

Available Plans

Voya sells two group life insurance policies that are underwritten by ReliaStar. Unfortunately, you won’t find much information online about what these policies cover, how much coverage is available, and which age groups are eligible. Additionally, Voya policyholders don’t have the opportunity to receive dividends. 

Group Term Life Insurance

Group Term Life Insurance provides coverage for a predetermined number of years. It has level premiums and a guaranteed death benefit that your beneficiaries receive if you pass away during your policy's effective term. Voya’s group term life insurance is portable, which means you can keep your policy in force if you change jobs. It’s also convertible, so when the term ends, you have the option to convert your term life policy into permanent coverage without taking another medical exam. Additionally, employers can add optional coverages, like funeral planning services, will assistance, and Voya Travel Assistance.

Group Whole Life Insurance

Group whole life insurance offers protection for your lifetime. It has level premiums that can be paid via payroll deduction, a death benefit, and cash value that grows at a fixed interest rate. Once your policy accumulates enough cash value, you can withdraw a portion of the money and use it like a personal loan. However, the death benefit will then be reduced by the outstanding loan amount, plus interest. Voya’s group life policy is portable in the event that you change jobs, and policyholders have the option to add riders for more customized protection. 

Available Riders

Voya offers two life insurance riders, which are optional coverages that provide protection in the event of specific circumstances. Riders typically come at an extra charge, so adding riders to a life insurance policy will cause your rate to increase. Here are the riders available from Voya:

Accelerated Death Benefit Rider

An accelerated death benefit rider allows the policyholder to use funds from their death benefit while they are still living if they get diagnosed with a qualifying terminal illness. In order to use this rider, most life insurance companies will request to see proof of a medical diagnosis that is expected to shorten your lifespan. 

Waiver of Premium Rider

A waiver of premium rider allows the policyholder to temporarily stop paying their premiums if they become totally disabled and are unable to work. To use this rider, you must show medical proof of your disability, and you might also be subject to a waiting period.

Customer Service

ReliaStar doesn't have its own customer service department. If you have questions about your policy or want to make changes, you’ll need to work with a Voya representative. You can call the company at (800) 955-7736 or complete the online form to send an email. There aren’t any business hours listed for the life insurance department, but for other departments, the business hours are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST.

Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) maintains a database called the company complaint index, which scores licensed insurance companies based on real customer feedback. It takes into account things like policy premiums, cancellation issues, agent interactions, claim payout satisfaction, and more.

As of 2020, ReliaStar had a complaint score of 0.21, which is lower than the industry average of 1.0. That year, the company had 13 recorded complaints. ReliaStar also had fewer than average complaints in 2019 and 2018. 

Third-Party Ratings

ReliaStar has great financial strength. Both ReliaStar Life Insurance Company and ReliaStar Life Insurance Company of New York have A ratings from AM Best. This rating indicates that the company is financially stable and is not at risk of going out of business.

Besides AM Best, ReliaStar doesn’t have many other third-party ratings. The company wasn’t included in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study, which ranks the biggest individual life insurance companies based on overall customer satisfaction. 

Cancellation Policy

Voya will allow you to cancel your group life insurance policy at any time. If your life insurance premiums get deducted from your payroll, you’ll want to contact an agent to start the cancellation process. If you pay out-of-pocket, you can simply stop paying your premium.

When you cancel a term life policy, your coverage will end the month following the last paid premium. You won’t pay any fees or receive any compensation from the insurance company. If you cancel a whole life policy, you might have to pay a surrender fee depending on how long the policy was in force. After you cancel a whole life policy, you will receive a check for the remaining cash value minus the surrender fee. 

Price

Life insurance premiums are personalized. Everyone pays a different rate based on factors like their age, their health, the type of policy they purchase, and the amount of coverage they need. For employers, the cost of group life insurance also depends on the number of employees being enrolled. Voya doesn’t offer online quotes or provide any sample rates, so we recommend contacting an agent to see how much you might pay. 

Another factor that impacts the cost of life insurance is your gender assigned at birth. Identifying as non-binary will not impact your ability to get life insurance, but most life insurance companies still require applicants to mark “male” or “female” on the application. If you identify as transgender or non-binary, you can reach out to a Voya representative to learn how the company determines policy premiums for non-binary applicants. 

Term life insurance coverage is cheaper than permanent coverage, so if you’re looking for low-cost coverage, opt for term life.

Competition

If you’re looking for individual life insurance, one of the best providers that we recommend is Northwestern Mutual. Like Voya, Northwestern Mutual also offers term and whole life insurance, and both companies have fewer complaints than the industry average. 

However, we believe that Northwestern Mutual is the clear winner here for a few reasons. First, it offers 12 different policies, compared to Voya’s two policies that are underwritten by ReliaStar. Northwestern Mutual also offers a number of different universal life policies, which you can’t get from Voya. 

Another reason we recommend Northwestern Mutual over Voya is Northwestern Mutual's dividends policy. Policyholders can receive money back at the end of the year based on company performance. Voya is not a mutual company and therefore does not offer dividend policies.

  ReliaStar Life Insurance Northwestern Mutual 
Market Share N/A Second-largest in the U.S., with 6.52% of total market share
Number of Plans  12 
Dividends for 2020  Not applicable  $6.2 billion 
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives  Not applicable  Not applicable 
Service Method  Agents  Financial advisors and agents 
AM Best Rating  A++ 
Price Rank  About average  About average 
Complaint Index 0.21 (Better than average)  0.05 (Better than average) 
Final Verdict

You can only get life insurance from ReliaStar if your employer offers group life insurance through Voya Financial. If you’re eligible, purchasing a Voya life insurance policy is a good investment, especially if you want a high level of coverage for a low price. However, keep in mind that Voya offers fairly basic coverage, so if you’re looking for universal life insurance or specific riders, you might consider supplementing your Voya group life policy with individual coverage.

Methodology

Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative methodology that analyzes each insurer on their 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 those 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. "Reliastar Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report." Accessed May 24, 2021.