The Standard Life Insurance Review

Offering group life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance

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The Standard

The Standard

Our Take

The Standard is an insurance company that sells group life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance policies. Unlike other companies, it doesn’t offer life insurance for individuals, so you can only purchase insurance from The Standard if you work for a participating employer. Otherwise, you’ll need to look elsewhere for coverage.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Policyholders have access to a life services toolkit

  • Coverage is convertible if you switch jobs

  • Travel assistance included with all group life policies

Cons
  • Coverage based on your salary

  • Benefits reduced as you age

  • Individual coverage is not available

Key Takeaways
  • Founded in 1906, The Standard is based in Portland, Oregon.
  • It sells group life and accidental death policies in all 50 states.
  • The Standard also sells individual annuities and disability policies.
  • Travel assistance is included with all group life policies.
  • Multiple riders and benefits are available.
Company Overview

The Standard is the marketing name for the Standard Insurance Company. The company was initially launched in 1906 as the Oregon Life Insurance Company and it changed its name to the Standard Insurance Company in 1946. Today, the company is based in Portland, Oregon. 

The Standard sells insurance policies in all 50 states. In addition to group life and accidental death insurance, it also offers group dental and vision coverage, as well as annuities and disability insurance for individuals.

  • Year Founded 1906
  • Kinds of Plans Group life
  • Number of Plans 2
  • Payment Plan Options Payroll deduction
  • Customer Service Employer
  • Phone 800-628-8600
  • Official Website www.standard.com

The Standard 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

  • Policyholders have access to a life services toolkit: As a policyholder, you get free access to an online life services toolkit. You can use the provided tools to create a will and plan your funeral. If you pass away, your beneficiaries can get financial, legal, and grief counseling. 
  • Coverage is convertible if you switch jobs: If you have coverage through The Standard and leave your employer, you can convert your policy to an individual plan to maintain your coverage. 
  • Travel assistance included with all group life policies: If you are traveling 100 miles or more from home, you can take advantage of The Standard’s free travel assistance program. This program includes emergency transportation services, such as a helicopter or ambulance to the nearest hospital, medical and legal assistance, and emergency credit card or passport replacements. 

Cons Explained

  • Coverage based on your salary: With The Standard’s group life policies, your benefit amount is capped by your employer. Based on your salary or position, you may not be able to get enough coverage for your loved ones. 
  • Online quotes not available for most policies: You'll need to speak with a representative to get an idea of the cost of a policy. 
  • Individual coverage is not available: The only individual policies The Standard sells are disability coverage. It only offers group life insurance; if your employer doesn’t work with The Standard to offer coverage as part of its benefit package, you’ll have to purchase insurance from another company. 
What You Need to Know

The Standard has over $41 billion assets under administration.

Available Plans

The Standard only sells group life insurance, meaning you can only get coverage if you work for a participating employer. If your employer offers life insurance through The Standard, there are two options: 

Group Life

A group life policy is life insurance where your employer pays some or all of your premiums. It works like a term life policy in that your beneficiaries receive a death benefit while the coverage is in effect; however, your policy will last as long as you’re employed by that company. 

With The Standard group life coverage, your benefit amount is gradually reduced as you age. And, your benefit amount is based on your salary. 

If you leave your employer, your coverage is convertible to an individual policy. However, you’ll be entirely responsible for the premiums.

Voluntary Life

If you want a larger benefit than is offered through a group life policy, The Standard also has voluntary life coverage you can get for an additional cost. You’re solely responsible for the premiums, but you can typically pay for your policy through payroll deductions. 

Available Riders

Like other insurance companies, The Standard has insurance riders, also known as endorsements, you can add to your policy. Some are included on all policies, while others will increase your premiums. You can use riders to adjust or enhance your coverage. 

The Standard offers the following riders: 

Accelerated Benefits

With the accelerated  benefit rider, eligible employees diagnosed with a terminal illness can receive up to 75% of their life insurance benefit, up to a maximum of $500,000. 

Accidental Death and Dismemberment

If an accidental death and dismemberment rider is added to your policy, you or your beneficiaries can receive an additional benefit if you are killed in an accident. You can also receive a benefit if you lose a limb or your sight in an accident.  

Dependent Coverage 

The Standard allows employees to get coverage for their spouse or children at the group coverage rate. 

Waiver of Premium

If an employee becomes permanently disabled, their coverage can remain in effect and their premiums will be waived if the waiver of premium rider was added to their policy. 

Customer Service

You cannot get quotes for The Standard’s policies online. Since the company only sells group life insurance, you must go through your employer’s human resources department for policy information. 

If you have general questions, you can reach The Standard by calling (800) 628-8600. You can also send a secure message to customer support through the company’s website. 

The Standard does have an online portal for existing policyholders. You can use the portal to view your policy information and make payments. 

Complaint Index

The Standard has received fewer complaints than is expected for a company of its size and share of the insurance market. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) releases complaint ratios to show the number of complaints submitted by customers relative to the company’s size. 

In 2020, The Standard’s complaint ratio for its group life insurance segment was 0.32, well below the industry standard of 1.0. 

Third-Party Ratings

AM Best, a credit rating agency that evaluates insurance companies, issues its opinions on the fiscal stability of companies through its Financial Strength Ratings. In 2020, AM Best affirmed The Standard’s A (Excellent) rating, recognizing the company’s strong business profile and operating performance. 

Since The Standard only sells group life insurance policies, it was not included in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. The study examined 24 top insurers and ranked them based on their available policies, prices, and customer service. 

Cancellation Policy

In general, your coverage with The Standard lasts for the duration of your employment. If you choose to leave your employer, you have the option of converting your policy into individual coverage or ending your policy. 

If you decide to cancel your plan, you won’t receive a refund of any premiums or fees that you paid. However, you don’t have to worry about paying surrender charges or penalties. 

Talk to your human resources department if you’d like to cancel your policy. 

Price

With a group life policy, your coverage is generally part of your benefits package, with most of the premiums paid for by your employer. Your portion is often just pennies on the dollar. If you opt for voluntary life coverage and want to add to your policy, you’ll have to cover the additional cost yourself. 

The Standard doesn’t publicly list its pricing or rates, so you’ll have to talk to your human resources representative to discuss your options. 

As with most companies, The Standard requires you to select “male” or “female” when applying for insurance. Being nonbinary doesn’t disqualify you from getting life insurance. However, you should be aware that most insurance companies haven’t updated their underwriting processes to reflect a current awareness of gender issues. 

Competition

Because The Standard’s policies are only available to employees of participating employers, we compared it to State Farm, one of our selections for the best life insurance companies of 2021. 

Unlike The Standard, State Farm sells a range of individual life insurance policies. You can purchase term, whole, and universal life plans, and customize your coverage with a lengthy list of riders. State Farm even has an instant term option. With this policy, you can get up to $50,000 in coverage without a medical exam and you can apply entirely online. 

State Farm stands out from The Standard due to its customer service. State Farm has a robust online portal, but you can also talk to a State farm insurance agent in person for personalized advice.

  The Standard State Farm
Market Share N/A Seventh-largest in the U.S., 3.5%
Number of Plans  10 
Dividends for 2020  N/A  $600 million 
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives  N/A  N/A 
Service Method  Employer (group), phone  Agents, web 
AM Best Rating  A (Excellent)  A++ (Superior) 
Price Rank  Not available  Better than most 
Complaints Trend  0.32  0.24
Final Verdict

Purchasing group life insurance through The Standard can be an easy and convenient way to get coverage. The Standard’s policies have additional riders you can add to your plan, and the company offers extra benefits like travel assistance and financial and grief counseling for your beneficiaries. 

However, The Standard is only available to employees of select employers, and coverage amounts are limited. If you are looking for an individual policy with a higher benefit amount, you’ll need to apply for coverage from another company.

Methodology

Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative methodology that analyzes each insurer on its 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. "Complaint Index - Standard Insurance Company." Accessed May 21, 2021. 

  2. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Members of Standard Insurance Group and Pacific Guardian Life Insurance Company, Limited." Accessed May 21, 2021.