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Symetra Life Insurance Review & Complaints: Life Insurance

Symetra is a family of financial services companies that offer life insurance, annuities, retirement, and employee benefits products. Symetra Life Insurance Company rating is A+ with the Better Business Bureau despite a low customer opinion regarding Symetra Life insurance claim forms.

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best...

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UPDATED: Sep 11, 2020

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Symetra Life Insurance is a family of financial services companies that offer life insurance, annuities, retirement, and employee benefits products. They are based out of Bellevue, Washington, and serve clients across the country.

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About Symetra Life Insurance Company

Symetra was originally created in 1957 as a financial services subsidiary of Safeco under the name Safeco Life & Investments. The company was sold to an investor group in 2004, at which point it took on the name Symetra Financial Corp. The company was acquired by Japanese insurance company Sumitomo Life in 2016.

Symetra writes policies for individuals as well as employee benefits. Their focus is on life insurance and retirements planning products, including annuities, but on the employer side, they also offer disability insurance as well as several supplemental health insurance products.

Symetra’s headquarters is located in Bellevue, Washington, and they also have 20 offices in other states. Their products are sold through independent agents across the country. Life and retirement products are underwritten by Symetra Life Insurance Company, part of the Symetra group of financial services companies.

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Symetra Products

Symetra offers both group and individual products, and the options for each differs somewhat although there are numerous affordable Symetra life insurance products.

Individual Products

For individuals, Symetra offers life insurance and annuities.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is available in both permanent and term life insurance options. The permanent polices are universal life insurance – there is no whole life insurance option. Policy information on the site is quite general, without much detail.

Symetra Accumulator IUL is an indexed universal life insurance plan, which means that the cash accumulation account included with the policy is tied to a specific index.

Symetra UL-G is a traditional universal life policy that includes a no-lapse guarantee. This plan includes a terminal illness benefit and has the option to add a Return of Premium Rider.

The site does not name or describe the term life policies that are available, giving only vague, general information.

Annuities

There are three types of annuities available from Symetra.

Fixed deferred annuities are designed to earn interest at a fixed rate and pay out a monthly income amount at a later date.

Fixed indexed annuities, like indexed universal life, has the rate of return on the investment tied to an index. This means a less predictable rate of return, but a greater opportunity for growth.

Income annuities provide immediate income at a guaranteed rate but have less growth potential.

Group Products

Symetra has a list of products that can be combined to create an employee benefits package, offering the option of both employer-paid and voluntary employee-paid benefits.

Select Benefits is Symetra’s suite of supplemental health benefits that are available to employers as employee benefits. The suite includes:

  • Gap Assist, a combination policy that pays for out of pocket costs associated with three different medical situations: critical illness, accident, and inpatient hospital charges
  • Schedule Benefit or Per-Incident Accident insurance, both of which offer a different approach to paying out of pocket costs associated with an accident, including ambulance charges, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts
  • Fixed-Payment Insurance plans that can be customized for part-time, hourly, or temporary employees, offering assistance with out of pocket medical costs
  • Customized Fixed-Payment Gap Plans, which are designed to work with high deductible medical plans
  • Self-funded Minimum Essential Benefits (MEC) plans that can be combined with Select Benefits to meet ACA requirements

Group life insurance and accidental death & dismemberment (AD&D) programs are available as a standard group product and as a supplemental product. The supplemental option allows employees to purchase additional coverage beyond the standard policy to increase their benefits.

Both long-term and short-term disability insurance are available to provide income protection for employees. These policies can be purchased on a contributory or non-contributory basis, the employer pays all or part.

Symetra Life Insurance Rates

Symetra does not offer online quoting, and instead, it refers visitors to the site to connect with a financial advisor in order to obtain rate information. This is in keeping with the very general information on the website – Symetra wants potential customers to talk with an agent that can help them choose appropriate products – and also close the sale.

Symetra Life Insurance Claims

The Symetra website does not offer any specific claims information. There is a general customer service line and an email address available. The phone line is open only during business hours – there is no 24/7 claims line, but that is normal for a life insurance company. The Symetra Life Insurance phone number is 800-796-3872.

Even in the forms section of the website we could not locate any claim forms available. That is pretty unusual, as is the lack of any mention of where or how to file a claim.

There is a login area for existing customers, behind which there may be some claims instructions. However, not useful for the beneficiary of a life insurance policy who may not have login credentials available.

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Ratings and Consumer Reviews

Symetra has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), although they are not accredited. They have six complaints on file in the past three years, which is quite low. There are seven reviews left by customers, all of which are negative and describe slow and difficult claims handling.

There is only one review on Yelp, which is a complaint describing a billing issue.

Overall the complaint volume for this company is very low, and we found no red flags in any of the complaints.

The Bottom Line

There is not enough information on Symetra’s products or rates for us to form a solid opinion of the company’s products, but they do have a good reputation. If you are looking to work with an agent and have relatively basic financial planning needs, Symetra looks like a good option to consider.

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About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

9 Comments

  1. I HAVE HAD TWO LIFETIME FIXED ANNUITIES WITH SYMETRA FOR OVER 15 YEARS.

    WHENEVER I HAD A QUESTION, THEY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN QUICK TO ANSWER WITH EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE.

    THEY PAY PROMPTLY EVERY MONTH WHEN DUE.

    I WOULD NEVER BUY ANOTHER ANNUITY FROM ANY COMPANY BUT SYMETRA. GLEN R. PETERSON, ATTORNEY AT LAW

    Reply
  2. Copy and paste the link below to see what Symetra did to my family.

    http://worstbadfaithinsurancecompany.org/

    If I were asked to describe Washington based, Japanese owned, Symetra Life Insurance Company to someone,

    I would say that it is a bad faith life insurance company that puts profits above their obligations to their American policy holders, and when challenged about their bad faith tactics and fraud by policy holders, they sue their policy holders to stop them from exposing their aggresgous bad faith tactics and fraud. 

    Current Symetra Policy Holder,
    Guy Emerson

    Reply
  3. In October of 2018, I purchased an annuity from Symetra via my financial planner. Now that it’s time to file my tax return I need access to my 1099 from Symetra.

    I foolishly assumed that Symetra being a company that was established in 1957 would be proactive in providing 21st-century customer service by allowing their customers to access their account details electronically.

    When I contacted Symetra requesting electronic access to my financial records so I could download a copy of my 1099, I was informed they did not allow customers internet access to their account records.

    I was advised they use the US Postal service to mail 1099.

    As I’m currently out of the country I do all my finances using the internet, and everyone I deal with allows me to access my account details via the internet; except for Symetra.

    I do all my communication with the IRS, Social Security, my bank, SEI Financials, American Equity, J.P. Morgan and a few other financial companies using the internet.

    With today’s low-interest rates, the only thing companies like Symetra have to offer is CUSTOMER SERVICE. This means clients should be provided with online access to their financial records and the ability to download details such as 1099s.

    The only service offered by Symetra is the postal service or faxing! Who has a fax machine nowadays! Symetra needs to crawl out from under the rock they created in 1957 and get into the 21st century.

    My only recourse is to instruct my financial planner to move my money from Symetra and find someone else to invest with.

    Reply
  4. Symetra is such a rip off – I purchased a policy and after 10 years my policy rate went from $500 to $7050 per year.
    No fricking way will I ever use FRIKING Symetra RIP OFF again. Shopping around – Stay away from these clowns.

    Reply
  5. Hi Eric,
    I’m having a very hard time getting Symetra to pay a life claim. They are just dragging their feet and as a result, I am reliving my mother’s death. They want me to shut up and wait for however how long it takes. Very painful. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first parent that I’ve had to bury. This is the worst experience with life insurance I’ve ever had or heard about. Clams are supposed to be paid quickly. That’s what I think.
    Thank you for your time and I appreciate what you do.
    V/r

    Reply
  6. I too had a supplemental life insurance policy for my husband through my employer. There were no health questions required, so I didn’t disclose his cancer. Right now Symetra is ‘slow walking’ my claim for his benefits. Today when I called about the status of the ‘investigation’ they are allegedly conducting, the adjuster flat out lied to me. [Redacted] claimed my HR rep had not responded to repeated requests for ‘enrollment information’. When I asked the rep, she said she had responded and called [Redacted]. Well, then [Redacted] had all the info and allegedly pushed it to the next reviewer. I anticipate I will have to sue for benefits as my husband’s other life policies paid upon receipt of documentation.

    I’ve spent my entire career in P&C insurance so when I sue it will be for bad faith. I’m pretty sure Symetra never pays on employer-based policies without litigation.

    Reply
  7. I purchased supplemental spousal term life through my employer. I was upfront and honest about my wife’s cancer (she was in remission at the time). She died in December after having a year’s worth of consistently paid premiums. I insured her for 40K. Will my claim be denied?

    Reply
    • Hi Kenneth,

      I am sorry to hear about your wife.

      Your best bet would be to contact your insurance company directly. It would probably be beneficial to get any documents, including correspondences where you may have disclosed your wife’s health status, just in case they deny the claim. If your paperwork appears to back your position, you may want to contact a lawyer if your claim is denied.

      Best,

      Eric Stauffer

      Reply
    • Did you have to sue?

      Reply

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