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In the United States, Sun Life only offers group policies through employers. The company offers individual life policies in Canada, its home country, but not in the U.S. Your employer must offer coverage through Sun Life 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 coverage is available to employers with 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 coverage with them or convert it to a permanent. After leaving their employer, the insured will pay the premiums.
- Group insurance only: Individual policies are not available in the United States 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 looked at the last three years of available complaint index data (2021, 2020, 2019) and Sun Life had an average index of about 0.69, which is pretty good—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++.
Sun Life Financial Inc. and its subsidiaries who write group life insurance in the U.S. are rated A+ (Superior) which means they have a superior ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations.
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).
In the United States, Sun Life only offers group life insurance policies. Their product pages do not make it clear what types of life insurance they offer. However, their support page suggests that permanent life insurance coverage is available in addition to term life. This is a rarity in group life insurance. There is some chance the permanent policies are only available when converting term life. If your employer offers Sun Life benefits, speak with Sun Life or your employer's benefits department to know your options.
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. The exception to this is portable coverage where the employee can elect to continue the policy after leaving the employer if they pay premiums. Then the policy can be held for a full term.
Whole life insurance is a type of life insurance that covers the insured for their entire life as long as the premiums have been paid. Whole life tends to have level premiums and will have a guaranteed death benefit. It also has a cash value component that can be borrowed from or used by the insured.
Universal life is another form of permanent life insurance that covers the insured for their entire life. The premiums and death benefit amount are customizable and flexible. They can be changed after the policy becomes active. Universal life also has a cash value component that often earns interest.
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. The company does offer riders, but doesn't detail which ones are offered to group life insurance customers in the United States. Contact your benefits department or Sun Life to know your options. Common riders allow you to do things such as cover your spouse or child, access your death benefit if terminally ill, and pause premiums while disabled.
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.