Life insurance isn’t the most fun or sexy topic, but you want to only work with the best life insurance companies in the market when you need to get a policy.
While this site is a comprehensive personal finance site, I am a licensed insurance agent in South Carolina. I have worked with a ton of different life insurance companies over the last ten years.
The companies that I list in my top 10 are companies that I have personally placed my clients with policies. I have a review for every company on the list, so if you want more details, click through to get a history and financial analysis of the company.
Top 10 Life Insurance Companies in the United States
These companies are in no particular order. The differences between this group are minor, and which one to choose should come down to the policy’s price.
A.M Best – A
Fitch – A-
Moody’s – A2
S&P – A+
With almost 100 years of history, American General is a well-known name for life insurance. While recent headlines have not been favorable, they are now a very stable company with an excellent financial foundation.
American General lands on our list of top-rated companies because they are competitive on price, have great riders, and are very liberal in their underwriting process.
With American General, people who get rated as high-risk for other companies can get a much less expensive policy.
Learn more in my American General life insurance review and if they come up as your most affordable carrier, then feel good about getting a policy.
A.M. Best rating – A+
S&P rating – AA-
Fitch rating – AA-
I have yet to meet a client who has not heard of Banner, and for a good reason, Banner is consistently one of the top companies to do business within the life insurance marketplace.
They offer some of the least expensive term policies and have favorable underwriting for people who are not healthy.
What allows them to do this is their focus on being on the cutting edge of underwriting practices and a limited product offering. This limited product offering is their only drawback in my view.
They get away with the smaller product line by being VERY good at classifying clients and getting them in the proper rate class. You can learn more in my Banner life insurance company review.
A.M Best – A+
Fitch – AA-
Moody’s – Aa3
S&P – AA-
If you fall into any of these groups, this is usually the company to start with. The downside is that for most other policies, MetLife is not very competitive on price. I guess flying around blimps gets pretty expensive.
Once again, you get a financially stable company, and you can learn more in our MetLife review.
A.M. Best – A+
S&P – A+
North American Company has built up an excellent name for itself and offers some of the best prices on the market.
They are a privately owned insurance carrier and have shown fantastic ability to invest appropriately to keep their top financial ratings.
The most significant advantage that North American offers is customer service. They consistently receive top ratings for their customer service.
Learn More in my North American Company review about why this is a carrier that deserves to be in the top 10 insurance companies.
A.M Best – A+
Fitch – AA-
Moody’s – A1
S&P – A+
Principal is multifaceted with insurance and investment products. They have just made a push to get deeper into the no medical exam part of the life insurance market with an accelerated underwriting program.
The no medical exam market is really where Principal signs. They even offer up to 1 million dollars of coverage on a no-exam policy, setting them apart from other no-exam carriers.
Learn more in my Principal life insurance review, if you are interested in their financial strength and history.
A.M Best – A+
Fitch – A+
Moody’s – A1
S&P – AA-
There are certain clients where I love prudential. This is because instead of trying to be all things to all people, prudential has decided to go after very specific niche markets. These markets include:
- Cancer Survivors
- People with a DUI or DWI
- Tobacco Users
- Travel Local
- Actual Age underwriting
They have mastered underwriting for all these types of people and will usually offer one of the best rates for anyone who falls into one of these categories.
This, of course, is also their biggest weakness. If you do not fall into these categories then Prudential is probably not going to offer you the best rates.
Learn more in my Prudential Life Insurance review about how their process for underwriting works.
A.M. Best Rating – A+
S&P Rating – A-
You will see SBLI on the list of top life insurance companies for many different agents. It really is a superb company. They have a wide offering of insurance policies and are great at getting their term rates to a competitive level.
SBLI is very active in their community and supports several non-profit organizations. Their focus for charity work is children’s diseases, the homeless, and veterans.
The only negative I have for SBLI is that they really have not come to the table with a competitive no exam policy. For most people this is not a big deal, but if you need a policy without a medical exam then they aren’t going to be the best deal for you.
Read more about the pros and cons in my SBLI Life Insurance Company Review.
A.M. Best Rating – A+
Fitch Rating – AA
Moody’s Rating – A1
S&P Rating – AA-
Transamerica comes in on this list because they are offer great prices and they have some of the most customize-able policies on the market.
Not only are their policies great at covering you in different ways, they have a very diverse offering of policy riders. This means for small addition to your premium you can add extra coverage to your regular policy.
Get more details about all their product offerings in my TransAmerica Life Insurance review.
A.M. Best Rating – A
Fitch Rating – A-
Moody’s Rating – A3
S&P Rating – A-
Voya used to be known as ING in the United States. The parent company ING withdrew all of it’s activities in the U.S. (banking, insurance, etc.) and sold off the parts. What was left for insurance was VOYA.
This left a very steady and stable company that takes good care of its customers. They are very active in the term life insurance arena and are great at it.
My only complaint with Voya is that they are not great at helping people who have any sort of adverse health condition. This is especially true if you call into their call center instead of going through an independent agent.
Voya is on this list because they are great at getting people a good price on their premiums and they take care of their clients. Read more about them in my Voya Life Insurance review.
Who Needs a Policy
If you have someone that relies on your income or who would be negatively impacted by your untimely demise then you need a life insurance policy.
In my family we have a policy for $1 million on me and $250,000 on my wife. My policy is larger because my income is the main one for the family.
We have the smaller policy on my wife because that would pay off our house and pay for our kids education. Having no mortgage would free up enough money to pay for whatever extra care I would need for our family.
Another good example would be my parents who have burial insurance policies on themselves. These are smaller policies that cover the cost of their funerals.
This way any inheritance they leave will not get eaten up by the funeral and each of them is protected financially from the other passing.
How I Chose The Best Life Insurance Companies
When I work with a client there are several factors that I take into account before I will recommend a policy. For all clients I focus on:
Financial Strength – While A.M. Best is the most accepted scorer of financial strength, there are actually four acceptable rating agencies.
If A.M. Best has not rated a company then I will rely on the other agencies for making sure a client gets the best company for their needs.
If a Company does not have a B rating or higher then it really isn’t worth the hassle. The ratings scale goes from D to A++.
Customer Satisfaction – Using online reviews to determine the top life insurance companies is a bad idea. Customers who do not get what they want tend to make very loud noises on line.
At the same time, customers who are satisfied with their company tend to make no noise at all. Many of these companies also offer varying forms of insurance.
This means you might see a ton of complaints about Auto insurance, while the life insurance side of the company is amazing.
For a much better and extensive look at the 2015 Household Insurance Study, by JD Power, and the Customer Satisfaction Ratings, from Insure.com. Using these ratings we get a real picture of how the companies treat their clients.
Price – If a company doesn’t show up as one of the least expensive policies every once in a while then they are overpricing their policies.
This is why you don’t see Primerica or Matrix Direct in the top 10 life insurance companies. All of the companies in the top list will come in as the most affordable rate from time to time.
Quote Availability – Most companies these days make it very easy to get life insurance quotes. Some companies have decided to stay in the stone age and make you go through an agent.
If you cannot get your quotes online through the awesome tool I put on this page then the company isn’t worth the hassle.
If a company could meet all these requirements then I put them on the list. The top 10 got in the list above and the rest were put into the other companies below.
Other Company Reviews
There are hundreds of life insurance companies in the United States.
This means that, while we work with a large number of them, there are many that are well known but not great carriers and others you may have never heard of but are a good option if they happen to offer the best rates for your needs.
With that in mind here are other company reviews that we think will help you narrow down your list of potential candidates.
Reviews of the Top 100 Life Insurance Companies
Types of Companies
Most people are not aware that there are different types of life insurance companies. For the average consumer the differences are minor, but they can have an effect on how they do business.
These companies are held by individuals or a group of individuals. This means they are not available for people to buy stock in the company. All profits go toward these individual owners of the company.
These are the companies that you think of being traded on the stock market. The company is owned by the stock holders and all profits are directed to these stockholders.
Mutual companies are owned by people who have a policy or account through the company. Think of it kind of like a co-operative. This means that any profits are directed toward the policy holders in the company.
Types of Life Insurance Agents
Just like there are different types of companies there are two different types of agents.
These are the agents you think of when you go into a name brand agency. These agents are employed directly with an insurance company and sell policies only for that carrier.
In most cases they do not sell for any other companies and their first allegiance is to the company they work for. These are not bad agents they are just limited in for whom they can offer policies.
Independent agents are not employed with any one life insurance company, but contract to sell policies for many different companies.
For example, the quote tool on this site can offer you quotes from over 60 different life insurance companies. The advantage of an independent agent is that they really work for you.
Independent agents do not really care which company you do a policy with. So while they are working for commissions, they mostly care about matching you up with a policy that best meets your needs.
The only disadvantage of an independent agent is that a few companies will only sell products through a captive agent (think State Farm).
So if you happen to be a special case where you best rates are through one of these few captive agent companies then an independent agent will offer you slightly higher rates.