Many agencies don’t offer The Standard, but that is unfortunate because the company fills some specific niches, including guaranteed issue life insurance. In the following review of The Standard, we do a deep dive into the company and provide our readers with the information they need to make a decision on the right company for them.
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About The Standard Life Insurance
Based in Portland, Oregon, Standard Insurance Company began its existence in 1906 as Oregon Life Insurance Company. At its inception, Oregon Life Insurance Company focused on marketing life insurance to workers in Oregon’s highly hazardous logging industry.
With the company growing larger and more geographically diverse in its early years, it changed its name to Standard Insurance Company in 1946—a move the company’s management expected to facilitate growth into other regions.
After the name change, “The Standard” became the company’s brand name for marketing. Not long after adopting the new name, The Standard began offering group insurance plans to businesses, organizations, and local government entities. Since then, group insurance plans have become The Standard’s key products.
While the Standard remains closely connected to its home town of Portland, it now does business nationally under the umbrella of holding company StanCorp Financial Co., Inc.
In a major 2016 merger, StanCorp Financial merged with Japanese financial services powerhouse Meiji Yasuda in what the latter company hoped would help it establish a presence in the U.S. market.
The Standard markets life insurance, annuities, and retirement-planning services in every state but New York. An affiliate, The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York, operates in the Empire State.
The Standard Financial Ratings
- A.M. Best: A
- S&P: A+
- Moody’s: A1
- Fitch: NR
- Comdex Ranking: 85
As one of the higher ranked life insurance companies, The Standard consistently receives strong ratings from A.M. Best and other ratings services. In fact, The Standard has maintained an A.M. Best rating of at least “A” for every year since 1928—the year A.M. Best began publishing its annual rankings.
StanCorp Financial reports over $33 billion in total assets as of 2020. The company’s holdings are mostly in low-risk bonds, with mortgage loans also constituting a substantial part of its portfolio. Being a large company with a lot of financial weight behind it, The Standard presents policyholders with very little risk of non-payment of policy obligations.
The Standard Consumer Ratings
The Standard has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since all the way back in 1958 and currently enjoys an A+ rating from BBB. That generally means that The Standard is responsive to consumer complaints (at least complaints lodged with BBB).
However, customer reviews on BBB’s site are somewhat discouraging, with The Standard receiving an average of just over one star out of five. The one-star consumer rating is based on a relatively small sample size of just 16 reviews.
What Products Does The Standard Offer?
Most of The Standard’s marketing is directed to businesses and other organizations, with somewhere around 30,000 employers offering plans through The Standard in one form or another.
For businesses, The Standard offers multiple group insurance plans, including life, accidental death and dismemberment, short and long-term disability, vision and dental, critical illness, and hospital indemnity coverage.
The Standard also offers several group retirement plan options—such as 401(k), profit-sharing, and pension plans for businesses or 403(b) retirement plans for public institutions and nonprofits.
For individual consumers, the financial products available from The Standard are much more limited. Outside of group plans through employers, consumers can purchase annuities, disability insurance, and retirement planning services from The Standard.
The Standard Life Insurance
Individual consumers cannot purchase life insurance policies directly from The Standard. No exam life insurance policies can only be purchased by participating in a group plan—usually a plan sponsored by an insured’s employer or a policy offered by certain life insurance agencies.
However, The Standard’s disability coverage and annuities—which are marketed to individual consumers—are available with optional survivor benefits that can result in a payout to a designated beneficiary upon the insured’s death.
The Standard’s individual disability insurance coverage is designed to provide an income stream for insured’s who become disabled. If an insured undergoes a qualifying disability, The Standard pays out regular periodic policy benefits during the period of disability.
For an additional premium, disability policies are available that increase policy payments to keep pace with inflation, provide supplemental benefits for certain disability-related medical treatment, or include a survivor benefit that pays out to a beneficiary in the event of a disabled insured’s death.
Individual consumers can also purchase a variety of annuities directly from The Standard. Deferred annuities are available with fixed interest or interest “indexed” to the performance of the S&P 500.
Annuity premiums can be paid via a lump sum or through multiple payments, and several different payout options—including options that provide death benefits to surviving beneficiaries—can be selected.
Immediate annuities are available with payments scheduled over a predetermined period of years or guaranteed for life.
Most life insurance policies issued by The Standard are marketed as part of group life insurance and AD&D (accidental death and dismemberment) plans sponsored by employers.
The Standard offers final expense insurance, which offers life insurance with no health questions. Eligibility is based on your state of residence and age.
In most cases, Life and AD&D coverage may be combined within a single plan, though the coverages are sometimes offered separately.
Group plans are available that include disability riders waiving premiums if the insured becomes totally disabled and terminal illness riders that allow early access to death benefits if an insured is diagnosed with less than 12 months to live.
Whereas life insurance pays out upon the insured person’s death, AD&D coverage provides a payment if the insured dies as the result of a qualifying accident—or if a qualifying accident results in a major physical impairment like loss of a limb or blindness.
If life and AD&D are included together, an accidental death can result in payouts under both coverages.
Individuals insured through The Standard group life and AD&D policies also receive access to resources for will preparation, funeral planning, Travel Assistance (which provides support for specified occurrences while traveling), and Occupation Assistance (which is designed to help disabled insureds resume gainful employment).