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About Foresters Financial
Foresters Financial goes back to the Ancient Order of Foresters, officially founded in England in 1834. It was a Friendly Society, similar to a fraternal organization, that provided medical assistance to those in need. The order spread to Canada as the Independent Order of Foresters in 1875. Today they are known as Foresters Financial and provide products in the United States as well as the UK and Canada.
As a fraternal society, clients of Foresters are also members of the group. Membership benefits include access to reduced cost legal assistance, a free financial helpline, emergency assistance programs, loans, and available scholarships and benefits for orphaned children of members.
Foresters headquarters is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with U.S. offices on Wall Street in New York. Products are sold through financial advisors and agents in both the U.S. and Canada.
Insurance products offered by Foresters have the general goal of creating financial security for retirement and beyond. In addition to their insurance products, they also offer mutual funds and other savings products. The two main insurance products offered in the United States are life and annuities.
There are three types of term life insurance:
- The Your Term product has a large range of term options from 10 to 30 years. It is a level term plan that can be renewed or converted.
- The other Level Term product has three term options – 10, 20, or 30 years, and has guaranteed convertibility.
- Accidental Death Term is an insurance policy designed to protect against sudden, accidental death of the insured.
All of the term policies have a variety of riders that can be added on to create more personalized coverage.
Foresters has four whole life insurance products:
- PlanRight Whole life is a basic whole life policy with lifetime coverage and level premiums.
- Advantage Plus is a participating whole life insurance plan that pays dividends, growing a cash value that can be used to pay premiums or taken as a loan.
- Interest Sensitive is a whole life insurance plan that also accumulates cash through both a guaranteed interest rate and the potential for an excess interest rate to grow cash faster.
- Your Legacy Single Premium life insurance allows the insured to make a single up front premium payment and avoid monthly premium requirements.
There are two options for universal life:
- SMART Universal Life is a straightforward universal life insurance policy that grows a cash accumulation account with flexible premiums and a ten-year guarantee of coverage as long as premiums are paid.
- Variable Universal Life is a product that also grows cash in an account, but is linked to a subaccount whose performance will impact the amount of money that is accumulating. This product also has the flexibility of universal life.
Foresters also has level premium variable life insurance products. These products offer permanent life insurance protection along with the investment of a cash accumulation account linked to professionally managed investments. Foresters has three versions of this policy: ISP Choice, ISP 10 Express, which only requires ten years of premium payments, and ISP Single Premium.
Foresters writes four different types of annuities, which allow customers to create ongoing retirement income from a relatively simple investment.
First Advantage Deferred Fixed annuities guarantee the rate of return for the life of the contract. This basic annuity has flexible income payment options and flexible contributions with a minimum of $200.
First Choice Variable Deferred annuities are available in two forms, one of which is the Bonus option. These annuities allow investment over time to work towards an eventual income stream at retirement.
The First Advantage for Income Fixed Immediate Annuity creates an immediate income stream that will last for the fixed period of time chosen by the consumer.
Longevity Annuities are Foresters’ final type of annuities. These offer guaranteed supplemental income for life, and can be flexible premium or single premium.
Foresters does not offer online quoting or include rates on their website. Foresters is a membership organization that sells through agents and financial advisors and looks to create that relationship through engaging customers in the process of quoting and selecting policies.
Although we would not expect this company to have the most competitive rates, they do offer a number of member benefits that give added value to their products.
For life insurance, claims forms can be located and downloaded in the Customer Care portion of the website. Forms must be filled out and mailed in along with required documentation – including the death certificate.
U.S. claims are handled through the Foresters office located in Edison, New Jersey. We were unable to find a dedicated claims phone line, but claims questions can likely be directed to the agent of record or through the main customer service channels.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
The New York office for Foresters has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), with a total of 23 complaints filed in the past three years. Only one of those complaints was closed in the past twelve months. The BBB states that the lowered rating from an A+ to an A- is due to the company’s failing to respond to two of the complaints filed.
There are 63 reviews of Foresters on Pissed Consumer. The majority of these reviews are negative, with a few scattered positive reviews as well. There are a lot of complaints about pushy sales people, as well as other customer service issues. There are also a number of complaints regarding difficulty with canceling or accessing customer accounts.
Overall, the content and the volume of the complaints do not raise any major red flags regarding this company.
The Bottom Line
Foresters have a long history and a really good range of products aimed at retirement, final expense, and similar planning. They are likely to appeal to those who like the idea of a membership organization and prefer to work with an agent on choosing and purchasing this type of product. Foresters are not likely to be a budget insurer but does offer other benefits as added value.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.