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Foresters Financial Life Insurance Review (Providers & Quotes)

Key InfoCompany Specifics
Year Founded1874
Current ExecutivesCEO - James R. Boyle
COO - Bruce Hodges
CFO - Alvin Sharma
Number of Employees1,000+
Total Sales$255,000,000
Total Assets$47,180,913
HQ Address789 Don Mills Rd, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9
Phone Number800-828-1540
Company Websitehttps://www.foresters.com
Premiums Written-Individual Life$4,567,999,000
Financial Standing+11.2% from previous year
Best ForTerm life, No-exam up to $400,000, Strong financial ratings

Life insurance probably doesn’t seem as immediate of a need when compared to other types of coverage such as health insurance, car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, or even insurance for a new electronic gadget.

However, a good life insurance policy can be the difference between financial security and financial ruin for your loved ones in the event of your unexpected death. Therefore, a life insurance policy should be a key component of any financial strategy.

There are nearly 1,000 life insurance companies in the United States competing for your business. It can be a daunting task sorting through that many options to find the best policy for your needs.

Foresters Financial (often simply known as Foresters) isn’t one of the largest or most easily recognizable names in life insurance, but their policy offerings and benefits are worth it as you work your way through all of those choices.

This extensive review is designed to give you a complete overview of the company and preview all of their policies to help you decide if Foresters is the right fit.

Start comparing life insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!

Table of Contents

Foresters Financial’s Ratings

The following third-party ratings give insight into Foresters Financial’s financial strength, business practices, and quality of customer service.

– A.M. Best

A.M. Best ratings measure an insurer’s financial strength and its ability to pay all of its policy obligations.

Foresters has an A- rating, meaning they have an excellent ability to meet their financial commitments.

– Better Business Bureau (BBB)

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) assigns one of 13 letter grades based on factors such as time in business, open complaints, resolved complaints, and federal action against a company.

Foresters currently holds a perfect A+ rating.

– NAIC Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Complaint Index compares the number of complaints registered against an insurer each year with that of other companies.

The NAIC sets the index at an average score of 1.00. Foresters has a current score of 0.53, well below the industry standard.

Foresters Financial’s History

Foresters Financial was originally founded in Canada in 1847 as the Independent Order of Foresters. The IOF was a fraternal benefit society providing life insurance to its members, all of whom came from average working families.

The organization was progressive for the time, being one of the few fraternal organizations to admit women as full members and also providing benefits for the orphans of members past.

The IOF quickly became one of the largest fraternal benefit societies in North America, with members spread throughout the continent. It is now an international financial services provider serving members in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Today, the Independent Order of Foresters operates under the brand name Foresters Financial, offering a full suite of life insurance, annuities, and retirement solutions.

Foresters is unique in that it is still a fraternal benefit organization, rather than a traditional life insurance company. Think of it as the difference between a credit union and a traditional bank.

There are no shareholders. Its members preside over the order in a representative form of government complete with a constitution and elected officials.

You don’t need to be an existing member of the organization to purchase a life insurance policy. You are essentially applying for membership when you buy coverage.

In fact, there are no social members in the United States. The only U.S. members are those who are insured through the organization. Anyone can purchase a policy, and therefore anyone can be a member.

Today, Foresters sells insurance life insurance through two subsidiaries:

  • Independent Order of Foresters
  • Foresters Life Insurance and Annuity Company

Independent Order of Foresters writes policies in all 50 states. Foresters Life Insurance and Annuity Company writes policies in all states but South Dakota.

– Foresters Financial’s Market Share

In 2018, Foresters held a 0.47 percent market share of all individual life insurance business in the country, representing $606,985,139 in direct written premiums.

From 2016 to 2018, Foresters increased its market share by 0.06 percent after writing $102,944,314 in additional premiums.

YearDirect Premiums WrittenMarket Share
2016$504,040,8250.41%
2017$576,187,0430.45%
2018$606,985,1390.47%

That percentage puts Foresters just within the top 50 largest life insurers by market share.

– Foresters Financial’s Position for the Future

While Foresters has a minimal overall market share (due in large part to the fraternal nature of their organization), their foothold has been steadily growing over the past three years.

The company as a whole is in strong financial shape thanks in part to their annuity and retirement savings businesses. They have over $33 billion in total funds under management, with a $1.5 billion surplus.

The firm has been divesting its asset management businesses this year in an effort to focus solely on its life insurance products. So, while their market share is minimal right now, it could start to grow significantly with that streamlined business model.

– Foresters Financial’s Online Presence

Foresters offers the ability to pay bills and file a life insurance claim through the member portal on its website. For quotes or to apply for a policy, you must contact an agent.

– Foresters Financial in the Community

Foresters is committed to giving back to the communities in which it operates. It does so through the following initiatives:

Scholarships:

Every year, Foresters awards nearly $2 million in renewable, competitive scholarships to its members and their families.

They also award children of deceased members with a renewable higher learning scholarship of up to $6,000 per year for four years.

National Charitable Partnerships:

Foresters gives its members the opportunity to volunteer in their communities by working with one of their national partners.

For example, since 2006, over 10,000 members have worked with the non-profit organization KaBOOM! to build 154 playspaces across 93 cities throughout North America.

In 2018 alone, the company provided over $3.84 million towards community initiatives such as Care Packages, Community Beautification, Create & Construct, Meal Help, and Volunteer Support.

Foresters Community Grants Program:

Every year, Foresters invests over $5 million into its community grants program, which gives members access to funds to organize their own volunteer activities and events outside of the company’s national charitable partnerships.

Charity Claim Benefit:

All Foresters life insurance policies also come with a charity claim benefit.

When a claim is paid to the beneficiary, Foresters will also pay an additional 1 percent (up to $100,000) to a registered charitable organization chosen by the policyholder.

The payment is made as a donation in the name of the insured at no additional premium.

– Foresters Financial’s Employees

Foresters currently employs just over 1,000 people in North America.

Overall Glassdoor employee reviews for Foresters average 3.1 out of five stars based on 465 reviews. Around 40 percent of current employees say they would recommend the job to a friend.

Foresters is not currently ranked on any notable lists of best places to work.

Shopping for Life Insurance

If you’re reading this guide, it’s likely that you’ve already realized the importance of owning a life insurance policy. If not, consider this.

According to the 2018 Insurance Barometer Study from Life Happens and LIMRA:

  • 35 percent of households would be financially impacted within one month of the primary wage earner’s death
  • 90 percent agree that the primary wage earner should carry insurance
  • 60 percent of all people living in the United States have life insurance
  • 20 percent of those with a policy feel their coverage is insufficient

If you’re one of those without a policy or one with insufficient coverage, here’s what you should keep in mind as you look to fix that.

In general, life insurance needs to cover two types of obligations: immediate and future.

Immediate obligations are the things that need to be paid soon after your death. These include:

  • Funeral costs
  • Medical bills
  • Mortgage balances
  • Personal loans
  • Credit card debt

Future obligations are all of the expenses (either planned or unexpected) that you want to pay for after your death. They include:

  • Income replacement
  • Spouse’s retirement
  • Emergency savings fund
  • Children’s college tuition

A life insurance agent or financial planner can help you determine exactly how much coverage you’ll need to meet all of those obligations.

For now, here is an example using a basic life insurance calculator.

A wife and mother of two is the primary wage earner for her family, with an annual salary of $80,000. The family has a remaining mortgage balance of $60,000, along with $7,500 in credit card debt.

Her husband works part-time but plans to return to full-time work in five years once the youngest child reaches high school age. Therefore, she only plans to leave five years’ worth of her salary to cover everyday expenses.

She would also like to establish a college fund of $25,000 for each child. After factoring in an average funeral cost of around $7,500, her insurance needs are as follows:

  • Immediate need: $60,000 mortgage + $7,500 credit card + $7,500 funeral costs = $75,000
  • Future need: $400,000 income replacement + $50,000 college fund = $450,000
  • Total need: $525,000

That total means she would need a life insurance policy with a face value of at least $525,000.

– Average Foresters Financial Male vs. Female Life Insurance Rates

The following table illustrates how Foresters Financial’s average rates on a 10-year, $10,000 policy in key demographics compare to the average of the top 10 insurers by market share.

DemographicAnnual Premium: MaleVersus Average Top 10 InsurersAnnual Premium: FemaleVersus Average Top 10 Insurers
25-year-old non-smoker$98.76-$79.78$93.48-$67.09
25-year-old smoker$224.76-$97.00$201.60-$47.15
35-year-old non-smoker$98.76-$86.28$94.56-$71.35
35-year-old smoker$224.76-$135.47$201.60-$84.58
45-year-old non-smoker$137.52-$130.37$123.96-$116.29
45-year-old smoker$451.56-$185.95$362.28-$130.92
55-year-old non-smoker$249.96-$274.99$208.92-$198.02
55-year-old smoker$905.16-$458.93$622.67-$368.96
65-year-old non-smoker$523.92-$749.20$412.68-$467.98
65-year-old smoker$2,272.20-$972.85$1,325.16-$910.15
Average non-smoker$221.78-$264.13$186.72-$184.15
Average smoker$815.69-$370.04$542.66-$308.35

Coverage Offered

Foresters offers a moderate selection of term and permanent life insurance policies to suit your financial needs. You can also choose from several riders to further tailor your policy.

– Types of Coverage Offered

Life insurance policies fall into one of two general categories, term or whole. Term policies only pay if the death occurs within a set time frame, usually between 10 and 30 years.

Whole policies have no term and pay whenever a death occurs, regardless of age. Many also build cash value by allocating a portion of your premiums into an interest-bearing account.

They can also come with two benefit options: level (or fixed) and increasing.

With a fixed death benefit, the policy premiums decrease over time as the cash value increases, so that the payout is always equal to the initial face value.

With an increasing death benefit, the premiums and face value remain the same over time. As the cash value increases, the overall death benefit increases.

Whole policies have multiple variations: traditional whole life, universal life, guaranteed universal life, indexed universal life, and variable life.

Foresters currently offers term, traditional whole, universal life, and variable policies.

– Term

A term policy is payable only if the death of the insured occurs within a specified period or before a specified age.

Once the term has passed, the insurer cancels the coverage. There are generally no refunds on the premiums paid. Some policies can also be converted to a whole policy before it expires.

The details on Foresters term policy are as follows.

  • Term: 10-30 years (in five-year increments)
  • Renewability: Automatic renewals
  • Convertibility: Convertible before end of the initial level premium period or until age 70 (whichever comes first)
  • Minimum: $100,000
  • Maximum: $5,000,000
  • Issue Age: 18-75 for 10-year, 18-65 for 20-year, 18-55 for 30-year

– Whole

A traditional whole life policy (sometimes called ordinary life) is the most common form of permanent insurance. A portion of your annual premiums is placed in an account that grows at a fixed interest rate (typically around 3-8 percent).

The specifics of Foresters Financial’s whole policy are as follows.

  • Flexibility: The benefit amount can be decreased after issue, but increases are not permitted
  • Minimum: $25,000
  • Maximum: $5,000,000
  • Issue Age: 0-85
  • Death Benefit Option: Level death benefit only

Foresters also offers a no-exam version of its whole life policy, but with a limited maximum face value of $400,000 for those age 16-55 and $150,000 for those 56-75.

– Universal

Universal policies offer the permanent coverage and cash value growth of a traditional whole plan, while also allowing flexibility to set monthly premiums, change coverage amounts, and make lump-sum payments to keep premiums low.

The specifics of Foresters Financial’s universal policy are as follows.

  • Flexibility: Face amount increases and decreases are permitted, but subject to fees
  • Interest: Guaranteed 2 percent in a basic interest account
  • Minimum: $10,000
  • Maximum: $5,000,000 (and above based on individual consideration)
  • Issue Age: 0-85
  • Death Benefit Option: Level or Increasing

– Variable

Variable policies allow you to invest your cash value in stocks, bonds, and money market mutual funds, similar to an IRA or 401k. These policies come with risk, but also with high growth potential.

The specifics of Foresters Financial’s variable policy are as follows.

  • Flexibility: Face amount increases and decreases are permitted, but subject to fees
  • Premium Allocation: 15 professionally managed sub-accounts (portfolio of stocks and bonds) or a fixed account
  • Interest: Guaranteed 2 percent in basic interest account (limited to 50 percent of each year’s premium)
  • Minimum: $10,000
  • Maximum: $5,000,000 (and above based on individual consideration)
  • Issue Age: 0-85
  • Death Benefit Option: Level or Increasing with a guaranteed minimum

– Riders

Riders can be added to each policy to customize your coverage further. Foresters offers the following:

  • Child Protection Rider: Provides life insurance coverage for all eligible children
  • Disability Waiver of Premium Rider: If you become disabled, your premiums will be waived for the duration of the disability or to the end of the policy term
  • Accelerated Death Benefit Rider: If you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness with less than six months to live, you can access up a portion of the policy death benefit up to a set maximum
  • Accidental Death Benefit Rider: Pays an additional death benefit on top of the base policy’s death benefit if the death resulted from qualifying accidental injuries
  • Guaranteed Purchase Option Rider (Whole Policies Only): Offers an opportunity to increase your face amount by up to $50,000 on each option date, without new underwriting

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– Factors That Affect Your Rate

Anything that increases your risk of an early death increases the chances the insurer will have to pay out on your policy. That higher risk classification will result in a higher premium.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common factors that affect your rate.

– Demographic

Several demographics can have a big impact on your life insurance premium.

Age: Age is one of the most important factors in determining insurability. After all, the older you are, the closer you are to dying.

You can expect your rate to climb higher with each year you wait to purchase a policy. Some insurers also limit coverage amounts for people over certain ages.

Gender: Gender also plays a key role. Statistically, women have a higher life expectancy than men. For that reason, men in the same risk classification will almost always pay higher premiums than women.

– Current Health & Family Medical History

Obviously, anything can happen at any time. But for the most part, people who actively maintain their health live longer than those who don’t. Longer life expectancy means lower premiums.

To determine your overall health, insurers will require you to fill out a health questionnaire and may request access to your medical record. Some may require a complete medical exam and bloodwork.

Even if a policy does not require a medical exam, underwriters still have access to public prescription and Medical Information Bureau (MIB) records, so it’s important to be honest on the questionnaire.

Most insurers will also examine the health history of your immediate family to identify any potential hereditary medical issues, such as heart disease or cancer.

– High-Risk Occupations

Some jobs are more dangerous than others.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows that police officers, firefighters, and many others have a higher risk of accidental death than someone with an office job.

A dangerous job will earn you a higher risk classification, which equals higher premiums.

– High-Risk Habits

Similarly, high-risk habits outside of work can also result in costlier life insurance. The most common high-risk habit that insurers look for is tobacco use.

Smokers almost universally pay higher life insurance premiums than their non-smoking counterparts in every demographic.

For example, at Foresters, a 35-year-old male non-smoker pays around $170 per year for a 30-year, $100,000 policy. A 30-year-old smoker pays $510 for the same policy.

That’s an extra $10,200 paid over the life of the plan.

In addition to smoking, insurers will also ask about any other high-risk hobbies that come with a greater risk of injury.

A single experience isn’t going to change your risk classification, but a regular hobby such as mountain climbing, flying, or sky diving could.

– Veteran or Active Military Status

Military status falls under the category of high-risk occupations. Most insurers charge higher rates to active duty military service members, and some don’t sell them policies at all.

– Getting the Best Rate with Foresters

Your risk classification determines whether an insurer will raise your price from their base premiums. Those base premiums are generally based on three factors: mortality, interest, and company expenses.

Insurers use statistical mortality tables to estimate how many people in each demographic they insure are likely to die each year. They will raise rates to minimize their losses based on that data.

Rates are also influenced by current interest rates. Insurers increase their profits by investing the premiums you pay in bonds, stocks, mortgages, etc. If they expect a lower return on those investments, insurance premiums may rise.

A company’s operating expenses also play a factor. The more a company spends to keep the lights on, the more of that cost they pass onto their customers.

Rates can also vary from state-to-state, though the NAIC is currently encouraging states to adopt laws that would provide more uniformity nationwide.

With all of these factors, the question then becomes: how can you get the best rate?

A lot of these variables, such as gender and family medical history, are beyond your control. The best way to lower your rates is to change what you can.

First, make healthy lifestyle changes. You can always improve your diet, start exercising, etc. All of those things can help to improve key measures on a medical exam, such as blood pressure and cholesterol.

If you do smoke, not only is it important to quit, it’s important to quit as soon as you can. Some insurers require you to be tobacco-free a certain amount of time before you can claim a non-smoking rate.

Second, buy early. Every year you wait to buy will only increase your annual premium.

For example, a 10-year, $500,000 policy with Foresters for a 35-year-old, non-smoking male is quoted at $829 per year. That same policy for a 40-year-old costs $1,680. That small five-year jump represents an increase of $8,510 over the life of the policy.

Finally, it’s important to pay your premiums on time. Like any bill, late payments result in penalties and could even lead to the cancellation of your policy.

If you have a policy canceled for non-payment, you can expect additional fees to get it reinstated, or higher rates at the next insurer.

To give you an idea of how much a term life policy might cost, we’ve compiled a list of monthly sample rates for a 10-Year Term for non-smokers at key ages.

Age$100,000: Male$100,000: Female$250,000: Male$250,000: Female$500,000: Male$500,000: Female
25$8.23$7.79$26.03$10.28$16.63$14.44
30$8.31$7.88$11.59$10.50$17.06$14.88
35$8.31$7.88$11.59$10.50$17.06$14.88
40$9.63$8.93$14.88$13.13$23.63$20.13
45$11.46$10.33$19.47$16.63$32.81$27.13
50$15.31$13.13$29.09$23.63$52.06$41.13
55$20.83$17.41$42.88$34.34$79.63$62.56
60$34.04$25.46$75.91$54.47$145.69$102.81
65$43.66$34.39$99.97$76.78$193.81$147.44

Here are monthly sample rates for a whole life policy.

Age$250,000: Male$250,000: Female$500,000: Male$500,000: Female
25$178.68$156.80$347.99$304.24
30$216.52$188.96$422.80$368.11
35$267.05$230.52$522.55$450.36
40$326.33$277.99$639.80$543.99
45$401.58$349.30$788.99$685.30
50$499.36$429.14$982.80$843.68
55$629.30$549.89$1,239.61$1,082.55
60$802.33$700.83$1,582.18$1,381.36
65$1,043.61$912.58$2,060.36$1,800.93

Canceling Your Policy

Some of Foresters Financial’s plans allow you to adjust your coverage if your financial situation changes during the course of your policy.

If you do need to cancel your policy completely, you can do so at any time, though early termination of some term plans could result in penalties.

There are generally no refunds on premiums when you cancel a life insurance policy unless you have a special return of premium policy (which Foresters does not currently offer). For a term policy, you would only receive a refund on prepaid premiums for an upcoming period.

For a universal policy, you will be refunded any prepaid premiums, as well as the surrender value of your policy. The surrender value is the cash value of your policy minus any surrender fees.

– How to Cancel

The only way to cancel your policy is through your life insurance agent, or by requesting a cancellation form from customer support. The form will need to be filled out and submitted either electronically or via mail.

Customer support can be reached through your member portal or by phone at 800-828-1540.

How to Make a Claim

The overall process of filing a death benefit claim with Foresters follows general industry-standard steps:

  • Initiate a claim
  • Fill out company-specific paperwork
  • Submit the paperwork along with a death certificate and any other requested documents
  • Choose a disbursement method
  • Receive the benefits

With Foresters, you can initiate a claim online or over the phone at 800-828-1540 (option 2).

Upon initiating a claim, you must provide a policy number, the insured’s date of death, and a death certificate. If the insurer requires any other documentation, it will be listed in the claim package.

How to Get a Quote Online

Foresters does not currently offer online quotes. Instead, they will connect you with an agent who can provide you with complete policy details and cost information.

Foresters Agent Finder

Design of Website/App

The Foresters website is easily navigated, but low on information. It is mostly designed to give you an overview of their product offerings, and then guide you to an agent, who will walk you through the specifics.

Foresters does not currently have an app for managing life insurance policies.

Pros & Cons

As with any company, there are pros and cons to shopping with Foresters. Here are some of the biggest.

– Pros

  • Financially sound
  • Term and whole options
  • No-exam policies
  • Below-average rates
  • Exclusive member benefits

– Cons

  • No online quotes
  • No online application
  • No indexed universal options
  • Most policy changes must be made using paper forms

The Bottom Line

While Foresters isn’t one of the largest or most well-known life insurance providers, their rates are often lower than those of their big-name competitors for term policies.

They also have a decent range of policy options to fit most needs.

Where Foresters really stands out is in their member benefits. Outside of their life insurance offerings, members have access to legal counseling, free financial advice, emergency assistance programs, scholarships, and more.

If you need basic coverage and want to buy from an insurer that feels more like an exclusive club than an impersonal corporation, Foresters might be the right choice for you.

Foresters Financial FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about Foresters and their policy offerings.

#1 – Does Foresters offer a no-exam life insurance policy?

Depending on your age and health history, Foresters may waive the medical exam on their term policies.

However, those policies have lower maximum face values than their exam policies and are likely to come with higher premiums.

#2 – Does Foresters offer any supplemental coverage?

Foresters does not currently offer any supplemental coverage, such as Medicare coverage or long-term care.

#3 – Do I need to be an existing member of the Foresters fraternal organization to purchase a life insurance policy?

No. Purchasing coverage through Foresters automatically enrolls you in the organization. In the United States, a life insurance policy is the sole membership requirement.

#4 – How do I make a payment on my Foresters life insurance premiums?

You can have your payments automatically debited from your checking account every month by filling out an authorization form or make electronic payments from a savings or checking account online.

#5 – How easy is it to change my beneficiary?

You will need to fill out a beneficiary change form, which can be filled and submitted directly online or by mail. It is important to keep your beneficiary information up to date.

#6 – Can I make withdrawals on my Foresters life insurance policy?

All of Foresters permanent insurance policies allow you to take out loans against your cash value. Loans must be paid back with interest, or you risk decreasing or forfeiting your death benefit.

#7 – How long does it take for Foresters to pay death benefits on a life insurance policy?

Death benefits are typically paid within 30 days of processing the completed claim packet. The benefit also accrues 2 percent interest between the day the claim is filed and the day it is paid.

#8 – Are the life insurance benefits taxable?

Life insurance benefits are non-taxable when they are paid directly to a beneficiary, such as a spouse or a child. However, if you name your estate as the beneficiary, the benefits become a part of the estate and are then subject to estate taxes.

#9 – Are all Foresters life insurance policies available in all states?

Yes. Foresters is licensed to sell all of its policies in every state through one of its two affiliates.

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