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Symetra

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1 User Review
LAST UPDATED: October 8th, 2019

Symetra Financial began in 1957 as a subsidiary of a national insurance company called Safeco with a focus on investment. The original name was Safeco Life & Investments. By 1967, this subsidiary had surpassed the $1 billion mark in terms of the total amount of insurance in force, and by 1994, assets reached $10 billion. The name change to Symetra occurred in 2004, when the Safeco sold its life insurance business to a consortium headed by Berkshire Hathaway and White Mountains Insurance Group. The new name, Symetra, was chosen in order to evoke a sense of balance and long-term financial success.

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The Good

  • Low rates
  • Niche focus
  • Clear & diverse benefits
  • Fast growth
Symetra now offers a range of services, including life insurance, retirement plans, annuities and employee benefits through independent distributors across the country. As of 2010, the company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange and now boasts of almost $30 billion in total assets. Their national headquarters is located in Bellevue, Washington. Other benefits include:

Low Rates

Symetra offers some very affordable rates on term life insurance, far below many of their competitors. In fact, they are one of the most affordable life insurance companies on the market, so people looking for a good deal should definitely check them out. They also offer a good array of term lengths, at 10, 15, 20 and 30 years.

Niche Focus

Symetra's focuses on just a couple types of insurance (term and universal), and while some might consider this a drawback, it is probably one of the reasons why they have such competitive rates. For example, their term life policy is what is called "level term," which, as their website points out, is the least expensive form of life insurance. Basically, it means premiums never increase, so for people who need to budget carefully, this is a good way to go.

Clear & Diverse Benefits

The website does a great job of laying out the benefits and advantages of each of their types of insurance in clear, simplified terms. This makes the whole process of looking for life insurance much easier, especially for those who are not familiar with the different types of life insurance and how they work. Despite being one of the more affordable life insurance options, they still manage to offer a good range of added benefits and optional riders. For example, term life options include a safety and transportation benefit, an insured children's benefit, a waiver of premium benefit for total disability and accelerated death benefit for terminal illness, among others. Universal policies, on top of these, also offer a charitable giving benefit which provides 1% of base policy amount to the qualified charity of your choice.

Fast Growth

Some of the larger insurance companies trace their origins all the way back to the 19th century. This is not the case with Symetra, whose origins only goes back to 1957. However, despite this, they have widespread availability. Some companies that are decades older are available in fewer states than Symetra, which speaks to Symetra's healthy growth and expansion. Currently, life insurance from Symetra is available in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Basically, they are everywhere in the nation except New York.
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The Bad

  • Limited policy types
  • Disclaimers
  • Poor customer service
While they have a nice array of added benefits and optional riders, they do give this disclaimer: "Some optional riders and benefits are not available in all states." As is often the case with insurance companies, no state-by-state specifics are provided, so customers can presumably only find out what specific benefits are not available in their area by contacting a local agent. However, it is always preferable to have this information up front when possible. Other drawbacks include:

Limited Policy Types

Symetra has a number of different types of universal life policies, including survivorship options. However, they only have one type of term life. It's not the widest array of choices, so people looking for more options, particularly those considering term life, might want to consider other companies. Notably, they are also lacking a whole life insurance option.

Disclaimers

There is a disclaimer on the website says customers must meet with a company representative in order to get complete details about "exclusions, limitations, reductions of benefits and terms for keeping them in force." From a sales perspective, it is understandable why a company wouldn't want to give this information before someone from the company can make a sales pitch. However, transparency about exclusions and limitations is always more impressive.

Poor Customer Service

Symetra's customer support hours are not the best. The toll-free phone number can be used from Monday to Friday, 6 am to 4:30 pm Pacific Time. Although rare in the industry, weekend hours are always a good idea. Also, they don't allow direct email communication. Instead, customers are given an online form to fill out.
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The Bottom Line

Overall, Symetra does get a recommendation for providing a good array of life insurance options at affordable rates. In particular, their level term policy is impressively inexpensive, and even with the cheap price, there still offer a nice range of optional features. Symetra is a good place to look for people who are budget conscious. But Symetra is not simply a budget life insurance company. They also have a number of types of universal life insurance, including survivorship options. As always, more specific information about exclusions and limitations on the website would be nice. A customer shouldn't have to set up a face-to-face meeting to find out that some benefit they read about is not available in their state. The nicest thing a company can do for their customers is to enable them to make an informed decision before they get the hard sell from a rep. However, this is fairly common in the industry. Overall, Symetra offers a good range of products at an affordable cost.

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Deanna Gallaher Flatwoods, KY

From researching life insurance policies, I found Symetra to be an overall best choice. Their representative was honest with me and disclosed all the fine print. The price was excellent and no other company came close to matching.

2 years ago

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