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Financial strength rating
Financial strength rating
Founded in 1907 by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, SBLI is a mutual life insurance company. The insurer sells policies online, direct to consumers and through its network of brokers.
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SBLI life insurance
SBLI life insurance earned 4 out of 5 stars for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account consumer experience, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and financial strength ratings.
SBLI life insurance policies
Term life insurance: Depending on your age, you can buy a term life insurance policy lasting 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years. It’s convertible to permanent life insurance before you reach age 70 or four years before the policy is set to expire, whichever comes first. However, this policy isn’t available in New York or Montana.
Whole life insurance: SBLI’s Flex Whole Life policy builds cash value at a fixed rate set by the insurer. When you’ve accumulated enough, you can start borrowing against your life insurance policy. Since SBLI is a mutual company, policyholders may earn dividends based on the company’s financial performance.
Accelerated underwriting option: With SBLI’s term and whole life insurance policies, applicants 18 to 50 can get $1 million in coverage or less without taking a life insurance medical exam. While it isn’t quite instant life insurance, the company says nearly half of applicants get a decision within a week.
Final expense insurance: Open to those ages 50 to 80, SBLI Cherish Life is a burial insurance policy that is designed to cover end-of-life costs. You can buy $2,000 to $35,000 worth of coverage, which is a relatively high amount for this type of policy. However, should you die in the first three years, your beneficiaries might only receive the full payout if the cause of death was due to an accident.
Available riders and add-ons
SBLI offers a range of common life insurance riders. The options vary by policy, and might include:
Accelerated death benefit rider. Automatically added to all policies, the accelerated death benefit rider allows you to access up to $250,000 of your policy’s payout if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Accidental death benefit rider. This add-on pays out an additional sum to your life insurance beneficiaries if your cause of death is due to an accident.
Children’s level term rider. Designed to cover a child or multiple children under your policy, the children's level term rider can eventually be converted to permanent life insurance.
Guaranteed purchase option rider. With the guaranteed purchase option rider, you can top up your coverage without going through the life insurance underwriting process again.
Single-pay paid-up additions rider. This rider allows you to buy extra whole life insurance coverage using dividends.
Term rider. You can add term life insurance lasting 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years to your whole life insurance policy with this rider.
Waiver of premium rider. This add-on pauses your premiums if you become totally disabled and can’t work for a period of time.
SBLI life insurance rates
Below are monthly rates for a 20-year, $500,000 term life insurance policy from SBLI. These are sample rates for a nonsmoking man and woman in excellent health — the final quote you’re offered will depend on factors like your age, health, lifestyle, occupation and driving record.
Monthly rate - man
Monthly rate - woman
Source: Quotacy. Rates reflect the super preferred class and were generated on 7/5/23.
SBLI customer complaints and satisfaction
Over three years, SBLI’s customers filed fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for a company of its size, according to NerdWallet’s analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
More about SBLI
As a policyholder, you can make premium payments, update your beneficiaries and request cash value life insurance loans via the customer portal or online forms. If you die while your policy is active, your loved ones can file a life insurance claim online.
All policyholders get access to LegacyShield, a digital lockbox that can create wills and estate planning documents and help to consolidate financial accounts. When you die, SBLI will grant your family access to the service.
Life insurance buying guide
Before you start comparing companies, choose the type of life insurance you want, such as term or whole life. Decide which life insurance riders, if any, you want the policy to include. Calculate how much life insurance you need and how long you want the coverage to last. Check that the insurers you’re considering offer the coverage you’re looking for.
When comparing rates, be sure the quotes are for the same amount of coverage over the same period of time. It’s also important to make sure the policy’s medical requirements match your needs. For example, if you want to skip the life insurance medical exam but don’t mind answering health questions, confirm that the application process for each policy you're comparing aligns with that.
Price may not be the biggest driver behind your decision to buy. Look at the number of consumer complaints each company receives, as high numbers can be a red flag about the quality of service.
For more guidance, see our life insurance buying guide.
Life insurance ratings methodology
NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on consumer experience, complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance, and weighted averages of financial strength ratings, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims. Within the consumer experience category, we consider ease of communication and website transparency, which looks at the depth of policy details available online. To calculate each insurer’s rating, we adjusted the scores to a curved 5-point scale.
These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.
Insurer complaints methodology
NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2019-2021. To assess how insurers compare with one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. NerdWallet conducts its data analysis and reaches conclusions independently and without the endorsement of the NAIC. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.