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Sun Life only offers group policies through employers. The company once offered individual life policies in the U.S., but they are no longer available for purchase. Now, your employer must offer the coverage as part of your employee benefits package. If your company offers Sun Life life insurance, you should know the insurer is financially stable and receives few customer complaints.
- Pros & Cons
- Company Overview
Superior financial strength rating
Few customer complaints
Covers large companies
Portable and convertible term coverage
Group insurance only
Limited product information online
Sun Life is a financial services organization that serves customers worldwide. While its international roots date back to 1871, the company began providing life insurance benefits to Americans in 1924. Today, its U.S. headquarters is in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, and it provides a variety of employee benefits to U.S. employers—including basic and voluntary group life insurance. Coverage is available in all 50 states, and policies can cover from two to more than 25,000 employees.
- Superior financial strength rating: Sun Life earned an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best. This means the company is in a superior position to honor its ongoing insurance obligations, such as paying claims.
- Few customer complaints: The company received fewer complaints than expected over the last three years.
- Covers large companies: Coverage is available for companies with two to more than 25,000 employees.
- Portable and convertible term coverage: When employees leave their companies or if they lose their eligibility for benefits, they can take their term coverage with them or convert it to a permanent policy.
- Group insurance only: Individual policies are no longer available so you can only get coverage if your employer offers it and you’re eligible.
- Limited product information online: Very little information about the group life insurance coverage is available online, though your employer’s benefits portal may have more.
Sun Life has received fewer complaints than expected for a life insurer of its size, according to complaint index data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
The NAIC measures the number of complaints an insurance company receives relative to its size. A complaint index of 1.00 means that an insurer’s complaints are in line with what’s expected based on its market share. An index over 1.00 means an insurer has more complaints than are expected, and an index under 1.00 means it has fewer complaints than expected.
We reviewed three years of complaint index data and Sun Life had an average index of 0.67, which isn’t bad—it means Sun Life had fewer complaints than expected for its size. In comparison to the 88 other life insurers we reviewed with complaint index data, Sun Life ranked in the top half.
Sun Life also gets high marks for its financial strength, according to AM Best. If you’re not familiar with AM Best, it’s a long-standing credit rating agency that assesses the creditworthiness of insurers around the world. After undergoing a review, insurers receive Financial Strength Ratings (FSRs) that range from D to A++.
Both Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada and Sun Life and Health Insurance Company (U.S.) earned A+ (Superior) FSRs which means they have a superior ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations. Note that both companies offer group life insurance in the U.S.
When looking at all the insurers we reviewed that have AM Best ratings, about 42% earned an A+ (Superior) FSR, while only about 12% earned the highest rating of A++ (Superior).
Today, Sun Life only offers term group life insurance policies in the U.S.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance provides a death benefit to a covered person’s beneficiary if the covered person dies while their policy is in effect. In the case of group insurance, the term is usually the period in which an employee works for an employer, qualifies for the employee benefit, and elects to receive it.
If you retire or leave your job and want to keep life insurance coverage, you may be able to “port” your term policy to take it with you or convert it to a permanent policy. In either case, you’ll pay for your own insurance premiums going forward.
Sun Life’s website provides a very limited amount of information on its life insurance offerings. However, it does mention the following riders.
A child rider is a common rider that enables you to add your child to your life insurance policy. The coverage amount is generally small and covers them up until a certain age, at which point they can convert it into an individual policy.
Similar to a child rider, this rider lets you add coverage for your spouse—which you may be able to do up to the amount of your own coverage.
Waiver of Premium
A waiver of premium rider removes the need to pay your premiums if you are diagnosed as being totally disabled. When it goes into effect, you can keep coverage without needing to worry about your premium payments while you’re disabled.
ADB: Terminal Illness Rider
An accelerated death benefit (ADB) rider for a terminal illness enables you to receive part of your death benefit early if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. To qualify, you’ll need to receive a diagnosis with a certain maximum life expectancy, such as 12 months. In most cases, you can only receive a portion of your death benefit which will be subtracted from the amount your beneficiary receives upon your passing.
Sun Life has various customer service phone lines and email addresses for different purposes. You can contact (800) 247-6875 about employee benefits, including life insurance. Or you can call the general customer service line at (800) SUN-LIFE (786-5433). You can also email the company at USWeb_General_Information@sunlife.com. Unfortunately, customer service business hours aren’t listed, so it's unclear when representatives are available.
Our Methodology: How We Review Life Insurance Carriers
We designed a comprehensive ranking methodology based on consumer priorities and life insurance company fundamentals to rank more than 90 insurers across five general categories: financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, the overall buying experience, and cost.
In order to do this, we collected over 5,000 data points and scored each company based on 55 metrics. We grouped metrics by category to see how insurers performed in each; we then weighted category scores to determine how companies performed overall.
To learn more, read our full Life Insurance Methodology.