UPDATED: Mar 18, 2020
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The Savings Bank Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts, which sometimes includes the term “Mutual” as part of the name but generally operates under the acronym SBLI, was founded in 1907. The company was founded by future Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis to provide a life insurance option for lower and middle-income families.
SBLI offers both term life insurance and whole life insurance policies, with a stated goal of making the process of buying life insurance easier and better. The company has a charitable foundation that provides financial support to a range of organizations including the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, The United Way, and The Jimmy Fund.
The company’s headquarters is located in Woburn, MA, and they sell their products through independent agents across their service area.
SBLI has a few term life options, including a simplified issue one, as well as a whole life product.
Term Life policies are available with no medical exam for applicants between the ages of 18 and 60 and with a death benefit amount of $500,000 or less. The website does not state what the upper limit is for term life with a medical exam, nor does it state what the top end issue age is for these policies.
The term length options are not listed, but the website does say that all term life policies can be kept in force on an annual renewal plan after the initial term expires. They can also be converted to a permanent policy.
The SmartTerm 360 plan is a decreasing benefit plan that lowers the death benefit as well as the premium over time to keep up with a decreasing need for coverage. The 30-year term is broken up into three ten-year segments. In each segment the coverage amount decreases, as does the premium.
SBLI also has one whole life option, although again the website provides no details on the policy including issue age or death benefit limits.
There are several riders available that can be added to a policy for added coverage:
- Accelerated Death Benefit
- Children’s Level Term
- Accidental Death
- Waiver of Premium
- Guaranteed Purchase Option (whole life only)
- Single-pay Paid Up Additions (whole life only)
- Term rider (whole life only)
SBLI also offers LegacyShield, an online service that keeps all policy documents, a copy of the insured’s will, financial information, and even final wishes and a message to family in a secure cloud-based location.
There is a quick quote system on the SBLI website, but it requires entering personal information including email address and phone number to obtain numbers. The system would not accept our sample information in order to return any quote information.
Submission of phone numbers during quotes provide the company, based on the fine print terms and conditions on the page, to contact you for the purpose of solicitation. This might not be a problem for some people, but for those that are seeking to obtain and compare quotes online without having to deal with repeated phone calls and sales attempts, it can be frustrating.
SBLI quotes can also be obtained by contacting an agent directly.
There is not a direct claims page found on the SBLI website. The only contact information provided is for a general customer service line, so we would assume that line can point customers in the right direction.
After more digging through the site, we finally found claims filing information by following a link to the mySBLI.com website – which is meant for policyholders. This site has an online form where claims can be reported and also provides the customer service phone number. There is a form download section as well where claim forms can be located.
While this is all helpful information, it would be nice to see it located on the main page, or at least an easy to find link from the main page that will take the visitor directly to the claims information. We found it to be difficult to locate, which is the last thing a beneficiary needs when filing a death claim.
The LegacyShield system is designed to help beneficiaries and executors with the claims process by keeping all the required information in one place. This is not really a claim filing system, however, although the policy documents should provide the necessary information to get things started.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
SBLI has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with only one complaint on file in the past three years. They have been accredited with the BBB since 2007.
SBLI has a 3.8-star rating overall on Google, with a total of ten reviews. There are a few negative reviews, but the majority are positive. Most are simply star ratings, however, without any comments. One of the negative reviews is from a potential customer that was turned down for coverage and not an existing customer.
There is not much else in the way of customer reviews of this company, which is generally a good thing for an insurance company.
The Bottom Line
SBLI has a good reputation and may be a good choice for those seeking basic life insurance coverage. While we were unable to obtain rate quotes for this review, SBLI has come in with very reasonable rates in the past, and they are likely a good budget choice.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.