Ranking among the best final expense insurance companies, Sons of Norway fills a valuable niche market for anyone who has struggled to obtain a life insurance policy due to some pre-existing condition. In the following Sons of Norway review, we will take a deep dive into the company and the various products it offers.
About Sons of Norway
Sons of Norway is a fraternal benefit society centered around Norwegian culture and heritage. The group has about 50,000 members organized around 360 lodges in the U.S., Canada, and Norway itself.
Originally formed in 1895 by Norwegian immigrants in Minnesota, Sons of Norway is today the largest “Norwegian” organization not headquartered within the Kingdom of Norway.
Along with providing financial protection for members, Sons of Norway is dedicated to preserving the Norwegian way of life—whether it be delicious cuisine like smoked salmon and cheeses, language lessons, winter sports, or occasional Viking raids on nearby villages. Well, maybe not that last one, but the periodical published by the organization is called Viking magazine.
Sons of Norway offers members access to discounted travel rates, philanthropic opportunities, “cultural experiences” focused on Norwegian heritage, and financial products offered to group members—most notably, life insurance.
Membership in the Sons of Norway does not require proof of actual Norwegian or Scandinavian Heritage, and “daughters of Norway” are equally welcomed to join. Members pay annual dues in the amount of $60.00, or family membership is also offered for $95.00.
Sons of Norway life insurance is currently available in 37 states.
Sons of Norway Financial Ratings
- A.M. Best: NR
- S&P: NR
- Moody’s: NR
- Fitch: NR
- Comdex Ranking: NR
As life insurers go, Sons of Norway is pretty small, with under $750,000,000 in life insurance currently in force as of 2018. Source.
As you can see, Sons of Norway does not rank among the top rated life insurance companies. Being as small as it is, Sons of Norway isn’t on the radar of A.M. Best or the other major ratings services.
With that said, Sons of Norway generally has a reputation for being well-run and organized. Purchasing a policy from Sons of Norway isn’t exactly a high-risk proposition, but potential applicants need to understand that there isn’t as much financial heft behind Sons of Norway as behind a much bigger company like MetLife or State Farm.
Sons of Norway Consumer Ratings
One of the advantages of purchasing a policy from a smaller fraternal benefit society (as opposed to buying from a multi-national conglomerate) is that the customer-service experience is usually more personal and attentive.
There aren’t nearly as many consumer ratings available for Sons of Norway as many other insurers, but what’s out there suggests that Sons of Norway conforms to this trend by providing very good customer service to its members.
Though not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, Sons of Norway has an A+ rating from BBB. And there is not a single consumer complaint about Sons of Norway on BBB’s site.
Another online consumer rating site gives Sons of Norway 4.7 stars (out of 5) for customer service—based on 32 consumer reviews. Source.
Sons of Norway also has a reputation for offering attractive premium rates to members, particularly for simplified-issue policies.
Of course, rates can vary significantly between policies and insureds, but the consensus seems to be that Sons of Norway policyholders are usually getting a decent deal.
What Products Does Sons of Norway Offer?
Sons of Norway offers members a full complement of life insurance products—including term, whole life, and universal life.
Simplified issue, single-premium, and children’s policies are also available.
Outside of life insurance, Sons of Norway sells annuities, Medicare supplement coverage, and long-term care policies.
And, of course, Sons of Norway provides its members with access to a variety of programs and events relating to Norwegian culture.
Life Insurance from Sons of Norway
Guaranteed Issue Whole Life (GIWL):
Guaranteed issue whole life insurance provides guaranteed acceptance life insurance for ages 50-80.
This is life insurance without health questions. Face amounts range from $5,000 to $25,000.
The product comes with a 2-year graded death benefit. During the first 2 years of the policy, the owner will receive a return of premium plus 4.5% interest.
Death due to an accident will receive the full death benefit. Upon completion of 24 months, the death benefit will equal the face amount no matter the cause of death.
Nordic Term Life Insurance:
Sons of Norway offers fairly standard level term life insurance policies, with initial terms of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. Upon conclusion of a policy’s initial term, policyholders can review coverage annually (for a higher premium) until age 95.
Nordic Term Life policies are available with a conversion option that allows the policyholder to convert the term policy into any of Sons of Norway’s permanent life insurance policies.
The option lasts for 20 years or until the insured reaches age 70 (whichever happens first), and the policyholder gets a premium credit toward the new policy if the conversion option is exercised within the first five years after issuance.
A disability rider is also available under which premium obligations are waived if the insured becomes permanently disabled before reaching age 65.
Whole Life 121:
As Sons of Norway’s traditional whole life insurance policy, Whole Life 121 comes with guaranteed-for-life coverage, fixed premiums, and steadily accruing cash value that can be tapped through policy loans or withdrawals.
Sons of Norway offers both participating and non participating life insurance.
Participating whole life insurance policies are also eligible for non-guaranteed dividend payments that can be received as cash or invested back into the policy.
Optional riders available for an additional premiums include Disability (waiving premiums if the insured becomes disabled), Accidental Death (increasing coverage if death results from a qualifying ‘accident’), and Children’s Term (extending coverage to the insured’s minor children).
And a Guaranteed-Purchase Option—which gives the policyholder the right to purchased additional coverage at specified ages with no underwriting—can also be purchased with a Whole Life 121 policy.
Single Premium Whole Life:
Sons of Norway also offers a whole life policy payable through a single, lump-sum premium at the time of issuance.
A similar product, Nordic Protector, provides single-premium whole life coverage with a simplified-issue application process.
In the latter case, new applicants do not need to undergo a medical exam when applying for coverage.
Viking Voyager Children’s Life Insurance:
Sons of Norway’s Children’s policy provides term coverage for minor children until the insured child reaches age 26. Coverage amounts of $10,000, $15,000, or $25,000 are available.
Upon reaching age 26, the insured can convert the term coverage to a permanent policy, with no additional underwriting.
Insured children also receive “Heritage Membership,” which provides access to several youth-oriented programs offered by Sons of Norway.
Nordic Elite Universal Life Insurance:
Sons of Norway’s Nordic Elite series of UL insurance policies provide universal life coverage available for new insureds of nearly every age.
As universal life, the policies provide more premium flexibility and have the opportunity for significant tax-deferred growth.
Policyholders can choose between a level death benefit (which allows for expanded cash-value accumulation) or an increasing death benefit (which adds cash value to the death benefit, allowing for greater wealth transfer at death).
Although Nordic Elite’s interest rates are competitive with comparable products, Sons of Norway does not offer an indexed or variable UL policy with enhanced growth potential.
Nordic Elite Policies are available with several optional riders, which require additional premiums:
- Waiver of Deduction rider covers the cost of insurance and any policy fees while the insured is totally disabled.
- Accidental Death rider provides a supplemental death benefit if the insured’s death results from a qualifying “accident.”
- Guaranteed Purchase Option provides the policyholder with the right to purchase additional coverage upon reaching certain ages, with no additional underwriting.
- Children’s Term rider provides ancillary coverage for minor children.
- Terminal Illness rider allows access to up to 50% of the policy’s death benefit (but not more than $50,000) if the insured is diagnosed with 12 months to live or less.
- Chronic Illness rider provides early access to a policy’s death benefit if the insured is diagnosed with a qualifying chronic illness.