UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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About Sentinel Security Life
The company was founded in 1948 by a group of Salt Lake City-area funeral directors, and originally named Sentinel Mutual Insurance Company. They provided individuals with funeral pre-planning assistance to protect their families from the cost of final expenses.
In 1954, Sentinel shifted to operation as a stock company, resulting in the dropping of the “Mutual” from the company name. The name was changed to Sentinel Security Life a few years later, in 1957, and has stayed the same since. The following decades saw expansion across the United States. Sentinel today operates as a subsidiary of A-CAP, an insurance and financial services holding company in New York. Sentinel’s headquarters remain in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In addition to a selection of life insurance policies and annuities, Sentinel offers both Hospital Indemnity and Medicare Supplement insurance. Product availability varies by state – the company is licensed in 36 states – and policies are sold through independent agents.
Sentinel Medicare Supplement Products
Sentinel does not offer any information whatsoever on the website regarding which of the standardized Medicare plans they offer in each state. At the time of our last review, they offered six of the eleven possible plan options in most states; that may or may not continue to be accurate.
The site recommends a look at the company’s brochure, which is not available for download. A phone number is provided to contact an agent; presumably, a brochure will be mailed out upon request. There is also a form that can be filled out to request information.
Concern over upcoming changes to Medicare may be the reason for the limited information on the website. Contacting an agent directly allows the company to provide the most current information. While it is a viable reason for the lack of detailed information, it’s likely to prove frustrating to those that prefer to compare companies without incurring a lot of solicitation efforts as the result of having to provide contact information.
It is not at all surprising since there is no plan information, there is also no rate information available online.
Rate quotes can be obtained by contacting a local agent. Again, this may deter some people from getting quotes due to the likelihood of solicitation following the quote process. This does fit with the company’s approach to sales, however – the heavy focus on the website on attracting agents indicates that they rely mainly on those agents to bring in new customers and do not anticipate a lot of new business coming in through online sources.
There are claim forms available for download on the site, but none of them pertain to the Medicare Supplement insurance policies.
Since most Medicare claims are handled directly with providers, it is not uncommon to see a lack of claim information on a company website.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Sentinel Security Life has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where they have been accredited since 1979. There is only one complaint on file in the past three years, and only one customer review, which is a one-star rating.
We were unable to find any further reviews of this company in any of the usual locations. That is usually a positive thing for an insurance company since people are more likely to write a review when they are unhappy than when they are pleased with the service provided.
The Bottom Line
Sentinel appears to have pulled back the amount of information provided regarding their Medicare Supplement plans, which makes it difficult to form a solid opinion of their offerings. The company does not seem to have any reputation problems, however, and may appeal to those that do not mind working with an agent to get the coverage they need.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.