UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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About Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial Group is the operating name of Lincoln National Corporation, which was founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1905. The name of the original company is Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, which still exists today as a part of the group of companies under the Lincoln name.
Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of President Abraham Lincoln, provided the founders of the company with a photo of his father along with his permission to use the Lincoln name and image as part of their company brand. The Lincoln name was chosen to represent integrity. The company was involved in 1929 the opening of the Lincoln museum in Fort Wayne, which remained open until 2008. It later donated the $20 million collection to the state of Indiana to commemorate Lincoln’s 200th birthday.
By 1955 Lincoln was the ninth largest life insurance company in the United States, having reached $1 billion in assets. It was in 1968 that Lincoln National Corporation was officially created, becoming one of the first insurance holding companies in the nation.
In 1998 the company left its roots behind and relocated its headquarters to Philadelphia. Since 2002 Lincoln Financial has held the naming rights to the Philadelphia Eagles’ stadium.
A 2006 merger with Jefferson Pilot Financial elevated Lincoln to a position as one of the largest financial services companies in the country. They have been named as the Best Life Insurance Company in the United States multiple times by World Finance magazine.
Lincoln Financial ranked at number 205 on the Fortune 500 list for 2018. They sell life insurance and annuities directly to individuals through financial advisors across the country and also operate a large employee benefits service that includes voluntary benefits like dental, vision, disability, critical illness, and accident insurance.
The operate today with several subsidiaries, the largest being:
- Lincoln National Life Insurance Company
- Lincoln Life & Annuity Company of New York
- First Penn-Pacific Life Insurance Company
- Lincoln Financial Distributors
- Lincoln Financial Advisors
Lincoln representatives provide retirement planning and investment advice in addition to selling insurance products.
Lincoln Financial Products
Lincoln’s biggest product is life insurance, but they also offer several annuity options. In addition to annuities, they provide long-term financial planning services. Their group benefits arm handles a long list of voluntary benefits that are not offered on an individual basis.
Lincoln’s flagship product is life insurance, and they offer two main types of life: term life insurance and universal life insurance. They do not offer whole life insurance products as of the time of this review. Their product selection stands out from many other insurance companies in terms of the many options they offer in each category, particularly universal life and annuities.
There are two term life products from Lincoln.
The TermAccel level term product is offered to those under the age of 50, with death benefits ranging from $100,000 to $500,000. It is a simplified issued policy with an over-the-phone application process and approval in as little as two days. This plan may still require a medical exam depending on the applicant.
Guaranteed level premium periods are 15, 20, or 30 years, after which there is a one-time decrease in the death benefit. Accelerated benefits, children’s insurance, and waiver of premium are all offered as riders. All policies have an annual policy fee of $80 for policies under $250,000 and $90 for those above.
The LifeElements level term product is a higher-value plan that has a minimum face amount of $250,000 with no maximum listed. The guaranteed level term period options are 10,15,20, or 30 years, with a one-time decrease in benefits at the end of that period.
According to the website, they have competitive rates for applicants 45+ on death benefit amounts of $1,000,000 and above and for applicants 55+ on death benefit amounts of $500,000 and above.
This plan can be converted at any time during the term or up until age 70 to a permanent policy without further underwriting.
Lincoln has a long list of universal life products, including traditional, indexed, and variable. Some products are not offered in New York.
LifeGuarantee is a basic universal life insurance product with a level death benefit and a guaranteed premium amount. This is the closest option for those who are looking for something similar to a whole life policy.
LifeCurrent is a more flexible plan that offers three different death benefit amount choices: the level face amount, the face amount plus cash accumulation, or the face amount plus premiums paid.
There are several indexed universal policies: WealthAccumulate, WealthPreserve, and WealthPreserve Survivorship are available everywhere, while a few other options are offered only in a limited number of states. The indexed plans differ based on the risk level and other details of the investment accounts.
There are also several variable annuity options. These act much the same as any universal life product including flexible premiums and cash accumulation, but they tend to carry a little more risk in terms of the investment of that cash.
Lincoln offers both fixed and variable annuities.
Fixed annuities include one traditional product along with several fixed indexed options. There is also one deferred and one immediate single-premium annuity option.
The Lincoln MyGuarantee Plus traditional annuity offers a guaranteed initial interest rate for between five and ten years depending on the version you choose. After that initial period, there is an annual rate of interest.
There are five fixed indexed annuities listed on the Lincoln site, each with selected indexes and variations in the rate guarantees and time periods for surrender. Most can also include a living benefit rider.
Two single-premium annuities are offered – the Insured Income immediate annuity that provides income right away, and the Deferred Income Solutions annuity that provides income starting at a later date.
There are five different variable annuity options, all of which grow the investment of the premium while providing income. Riders can be added to any of the plans for things like long-term care with a living benefit rider.
Lincoln suggests contacting a financial advisor to discuss annuity options, which is the best way to make sense of the various types and how they might work for each individual.
Lincoln provides a long list of voluntary benefits that employers can choose to offer to their employees. In May of 2018, they completed an acquisition of Liberty Mutual’s group benefits division, which expanded their reach and their market to employers of all sizes.
- Dental insurance plans with Lincoln DentalConnect, a PPO plan
- Vision plans with Lincoln VisionConnect with in-network and out of network benefits
- Short and long-term disability
- Accident insurance
- Critical illness insurance
- Term life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)
Group coverage through an employer means you can take advantage of group rates. Life insurance plans offered through group benefits vary from what is available to individuals.
Most of the plans offered through group coverage are not available for individuals to purchase. That includes dental and vision insurance, which is a little surprising given the relatively large market for those products on an individual basis.
Lincoln Financial does not offer online quoting for their products, including their life insurance.
For a company of this size, even one that works through financial advisors, we would expect to see some form of online quoting, even if only for a basic term life policy. Lincoln promises highly competitive rates, though we have no way of verifying that claim. Without any rate information, we are unable to compare this company on rates or value to other life insurance companies.
Lincoln’s policies tend to have higher minimum face values than some other companies, which indicates that they are marketing towards a certain audience – not the audience looking for the least expensive policy to take care of final expenses, but those looking to leave a protective legacy. As a result, we expect them to be a bit more expensive than some other companies.
In spite of the lack of online quoting, Lincoln does have an online claims form on their website for filing life insurance claims.
Claims can also be filed over the phone by calling 800-487-1485 and selecting option 4. This service is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm.
An email address, fax number, and mailing address are also provided to send in the forms, which can be downloaded here.
Their Lincoln i-Claim Life Learning Center is a detailed resource that walks beneficiaries through the process, including what they will need and how to proceed. Like most life insurance companies, Lincoln requires documentation to process a life insurance claim but provides a clear list of what is needed and how to send it in.
Lincoln offers three choices for payment of claims. There is a lump sum payment option, with funds sent as a check or electronically. There is also a settlement option, which offers a range of flexible choices for regular payments on the proceeds over time. Finally, there is also the SecureLine option, which keeps the money in an interest-earning account with check-writing privileges. All of these allow beneficiaries to make the right decision for their needs in terms of handling the death benefit amount.
The claims process for other products varies by product, but all of the claims forms for all Lincoln products can be found on the website relatively easily, and most claims can be filed electronically. This is a very modern approach to claims from an old company that sells through financial advisors, and one we are always happy to see.
The Lincoln Financial Website
As far as providing detailed information on products and services, Lincoln Financial’s online presence is excellent. This is not always the case with large, old financial services companies that rely on in-person representation, so it is refreshing to see.
The website is modern and it is easy to find what you are a looking for, including product information and prospectuses for investment products. The website is informative and also offers a lot of advice for investing, retiring, and buying life insurance.
The claims section is particularly detailed and easy to use, ensuring a smooth experience for those who need to file a life insurance claim – which is as it should be at a time of loss for the beneficiary.
The one area where the Lincoln website needs improvement is in offering rate information. A big company with a strong online presence should offer at least basic online quoting. Hopefully, that option will be added in the future.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
The company’s headquarters in Radnor, Pennsylvania has a Better Business Bureau (BBB) page under the name Lincoln National Corporation, but there is no rating listed on that page.
The rating appears on the page for Lincoln Financial in Omaha, Nebraska, where there is an A+ rating and 49 complaints on file in the past three years. Of those, 11 were closed in the past twelve months.
There are 57 complaints on Pissed Consumer. Most of these complaints are about claims that have been denied by the company. A large portion of them seems to involved employer benefits policies rather than individual policies.
Yelp has 17 reviews, with an overall 1.5-star rating. The complaints again center on denial of claims, as well as difficulty getting help from customer service.
Considering the enormous size of Lincoln Financial, the complaint volume is low. It IS possible that some of the complaints are handled through other avenues, such as the HR department when employer-provided benefits are involved, but there are still far fewer complaints than average for a company this large.
The Bottom Line
Lincoln Financial has been around for a very long time. They have a good selection of products and their offerings reflect their expertise in the life insurance and retirement planning market. Without rates, we are unable to offer an opinion on the value offered by this company, but with the low complaint volume, they could be a good choice if the rates compare well to other similar companies.
Because Lincoln is heavily involved in the employee benefits market, many people will know them only through an employer. Lincoln does offer a lot, however, to potential individual customers, with a very comprehensive website that offers a lot of information and assistance. We would very much like to see them top that off with the option to get a life insurance quote online.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.