Symetra Life Insurance Review

Offering diverse term and permanent life policies with cash value

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Symetra

Symetra

Our Take

Symetra offers multiple insurance policies, including term and permanent policies, to meet your desired needs. Plus, most of the plans come with additional benefits for you and your loved ones.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Multiple permanent life policies available

  • Most plans come with additional benefits

  • Stellar financial strength rating

Cons
  • You cannot get quotes online

  • Limited policy details on website

Key Takeaways
  • Symetra was founded in 1957 and is based in Bellevue, Washington.
  • The company offers permanent life and term life insurance policies through financial institutions, financial professionals, benefits brokers and consultants, and independent insurance agents.
  • Symetra is owned by Sumitomo Life, one of Japan’s largest insurers. Together, they have total assets of over $350 billion.
Company Overview

Symetra is a financial services company that was founded in 1957. The company offers an array of products, including annuities, group life, and individual life insurance policies. Symetra sells its products through financial institutions, finance professionals, brokers, and insurance agents.

Headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, Symetra Financial Corporation has $58.9 billion in assets, roughly 1.6 million customers, and over 1,900 employees nationwide. Symetra is owned by its parent company, Sumitomo Life—one of Japan’s largest insurers.

  • Year Founded 1957
  • Kinds of Plans Term, permanent
  • Number of Plans 5
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually
  • Customer Service Email, phone (800-796-3872)
  • Official Website www.symetra.com

Symetra 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

  • Multiple permanent life policies available: Symetra has five different permanent life policies, so you can find one that suits your needs and goals.
  • Most plans come with additional benefits: Most of the coverage plans offered by Symetra come with additional benefits in the form of riders, such as accelerated death benefit, chronic illness, terminal illness riders. 
  • Stellar financial strength rating: Symetra received an A (Excellent) rating from one of the top credit rating agencies, AM Best.

Cons Explained

  • You cannot get quotes online: Symetra does not have online quotes. To get one, you’ll need to talk to an agent.
  • Limited policy details on the website: Symetra does not provide sufficient information about its policies on the website. 

Available Plans

Whether you’re looking for financial protection for your loved ones when you die or want to build cash value you can use to cater for your living expenses or retirement income, Symetra has diverse life insurance options. With five different policies to choose from, you can find a policy that meets your needs.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance is a life insurance policy that does not expire and guarantees your death benefit in addition to offering a cash value element. In short, this coverage will protect your loved ones while growing savings tax-deferred until withdrawn.

Symetra offers four different permanent life coverage options:

  • Symetra Accumulator IUL: Accumulator IUL is an indexed universal life insurance designed to protect your family with the potential to grow cash value based on the performance of a market index. If the market index you select goes up, your policy value will likely increase. Even if the market declines, you won’t lose your money since it’s not invested directly into the market. You can access your policy value after the first policy year or through a loan. 

With Accumulator IUL, you’re eligible to receive a persistency bonus after 11 years, which may increase your policy value. You’ll also receive a lookback guarantee every eight years if any index segment returns are not at least 2% per year.

  • Symetra CAUL Universal Life Insurance: This type of policy offers flexible premium payments and multiple death benefit options. With CAUL, you’re guaranteed to earn a current interest rate of not less than 2% for 12 months. Issue ages are 15 days to 85 years old, and you can pay premiums up to age 120. If you’re between age 20 and 70, you qualify for Symetra’s GoodLife Rewards program.

Symetra CAUL comes with additional benefits, including a chronic illness rider that offers up to 50% of the policy’s death benefit if you cannot perform at least two of the six activities of daily living for 90 days. You can also access up to 75% of the policy’s death benefit if diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness and have a life expectancy of 12 months or less. In addition, CAUL comes with a no-lapse guarantee benefit, which becomes effective at issue and remains in force for five years.

  • Symetra UL-G Universal Life Insurance: This policy offers guaranteed lifetime protection with access to living benefits. With this plan, you can decide the amount of premium payment you want to allocate to your cash value element and death benefit. To apply for UL-G, you need to be between 16 and 85 years old. Also, if you’re between the ages of 20 and 70, you qualify for the GoodLife Rewards program, which can reduce your overall insurance cost. With this plan, you’re also entitled to earn a current interest rate not less than 2% for a 12-month period, plus riders that come with the policy.
  • Symetra SUL-G Survivorship Universal Life Insurance: This plan provides guaranteed death benefit protection while ensuring that your assets are managed and distributed according to your wishes. SUL-G can be perfect for anyone looking to maximize estate assets, transfer wealth, and protect a business. It also includes an automatic lapse protection benefit that ensures that your policy remains effective for as much time as you wish. 

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is a type of life insurance that guarantees death benefits if you die within a specified period. If you outlive the policy term, you can convert to permanent coverage or terminate. With term life insurance, your coverage lasts for a set period of time, usually between 10 and 30 years. 

Symetra offers one basic term life insurance:

  • Symetra SwiftTerm: This type of plan offers financial protection for 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. You can apply for SwiftTerm online and get coverage in as little as 25 minutes. The minimum issue age is 20, and you can renew up to age 95. SwiftTerm comes with additional benefits, including access to an accelerated death benefit of up to 75% of the policy’s death benefit or 500,000 maximum if diagnosed with a terminal illness and have less than 12 months to live. You can also convert your SwiftTerm policy to permanent coverage; plus, there are optional riders you can use to customize your coverage.

Available Riders

Most insurance companies have optional riders that you can use to customize your coverage to meet your desired needs. A rider offers supplemental coverage to your life insurance policy and often requires an additional premium payment. Symetra offers the following riders:

Accelerated Death Benefit

With this rider, you can access a portion of your death benefits while you’re still living in case you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Accidental Death Benefit Rider

If you die due to an accident, your beneficiaries will receive death benefits paid by the rider plus death benefits paid by the policy.

Terminal Illness Rider

If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and likely have 12 months or less to live, a terminal illness rider gives you access to part of your death benefits.

Waiver of Premium Rider

With this rider, Symetra will waive your premium payments in the event that you’re unable to work due to critical illness or disability. 

Return of Premium Rider

A return of premium rider refunds 100% of the policy premiums paid at the end of the policy term if you’re still alive.

Additional Term Rider

This rider adds level term insurance coverage for a family member with face amounts starting at $100,000.

Children’s Term Rider

With this rider, you can protect your dependent children ages 15 days through 17 with coverage from $1,000 to $10,000. You’ll receive death benefits if death occurs before age 23. 

Charitable Giving Benefit

This rider is available at no extra cost and offers an additional benefit of the base policy face amount. The rider does not increase premiums, reduce cash value, or death benefits.

Customer Service

Online quotes are not available with Symetra. If you have any questions about coverage options, getting a quote, billing, or any other inquiry, you can call 800-796-3872. Customer service is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m to 4:30 p.m. PST.

If you have a life insurance policy with Symetra, you can also fill out a form or send an email to get the assistance you need.

Complaint Index

Every year the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) releases complaint ratios, which indicate the number of complaints received based on the company’s market share. The industry’s average complaint ratio is 1.0. A score below 1.0 indicates that the company received fewer complaints than the industry standard, while a score above 1.0 means the company received more complaints than expected for its size.

For 2020, Symetra received a total of seven complaints, and its complaint index stood at 0.07, far better than the industry average.

What You Need to Know

Since 2018, Symetra has had its complaint ratio below 1.0.

Third-Party Ratings

Top credit rating agencies like AM Best evaluates the financial stability of insurance companies and issue financial strength ratings (FSR). An insurer with a strong AM Best rating indicates a company’s ability to meet its policy and contractual obligations.

Symetra received an A (Excellent) rating from AM best. The company also earned an A (Strong) rating from the S&P 500 global and A1 (Good) rating from Moody’s. 

Cancellation Policy

By law, insurance providers should offer at least a 10-day free-look period for consumers to cancel their policies. Symetra has a free-look period of up to 30 days for most of its policies. During this period, you can cancel your policy and receive a full refund of your premiums without incurring any penalties or fees. 

You can also surrender your policy after the free look period and get a cash surrender value. To get a surrender form from Symetra, call 800-796-3872. 

Price

Though the pricing of a life insurance policy is specific to everyone’s individual needs, your policy’s premiums are dependent on several factors, including age, health history, health habits, coverage options, driving record, and even your location. Depending on the policy you choose, premium costs may vary from person to person.

Like any other insurance company, Symetra requires you to state whether you’re male or female when applying for coverage. If you’re non-binary, you’re not disqualified from getting life insurance. However, it’s important to note that many insurance companies haven’t updated their underwriting process to reflect the current awareness of gender issues, so you may find the application process restrictive.

Competition

Before taking out a life insurance policy, it’s wise to compare multiple insurers to ensure that you get not only the best deal but also coverage that meets your desired needs. 

Though Symetra has many products to choose from and earned an excellent rating from AM Best, State Farm edges out as a better choice for a number of reasons. State Farm has more product lines than Symetra, letting you choose from term, whole, universal life policies, as well as a final expense option. 

In addition, State Farm earned an A++ (Superior), the highest possible rating from AM Best, and was ranked first in the 2020 J.D. Power Life Insurance Study. State Farm also ranked sixth in the top 10 writers of individual life insurance by direct premiums written in 2020.

  Symetra State Farm
Market Share Not applicable Sixth-largest in the U.S., 3.7%
Number of Plans  10 
Dividends for 2020  Not applicable  $600 million 
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives  Not applicable  Not applicable 
Service Method  Agents  Agents 
AM Best Rating  A (Excellent)  A++ (Superior) 
Price Rank  Not applicable  Better than most 
Complaints Trend  0.07 (Excellent)  0.19 (Excellent) 
Final Verdict

Though Symetra is not on our top list of life insurance companies, it offers multiple permanent life and term life policies with the potential to accumulate your cash value tax-deferred until withdrawn. In addition, most of the plans come with additional benefits in the form of riders, such as chronic illness, terminal illness, accelerated death benefit, and more. These included benefits will keep insurance costs down, unlike adding riders to your policy at an extra premium. Finally, Symetra has an excellent rating from AM Best, so you can feel secure your approved claims will be paid out.

Methodology

We review life insurance companies based on a data-driven approach and methodology that evaluates insurers’ diversity of product lines, cost, customer service, claim experiences, and complaints. We then compare the available coverage plans, payment options, and optional riders with that of other top insurance companies. Finally, we look at third-party ratings to determine each insurer’s financial stability and reliability in paying out claims.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. NAIC. "Symetra Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report." Accessed May 29, 2021. 

  2. J.D. Power. "Life Insurance Customer Satisfaction Flatlines Despite Pandemic Fears, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed June 3, 2021. 

  3. Insurance Information Institute. "Facts and Statistics: Life Insurance." Accessed June 3, 2021.