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ByMaggie Overholt Senior Insurance Editor

Maggie is the former lead insurance writer and editor at Reviews.com. She's written more than 70 insurance articles covering homeowners, auto, life, motorcycle, travel, and more.

Life Insurance Companies and Ratings for 2019

We’ve been researching and reviewing life insurance for years, and our main takeaway is: It’s complicated. That’s why it’s good to start with the basics. Below, we rate core features like financial strength, coverage, and service for 20 of the most popular life insurance companies in the U.S. (listed from largest to smallest by market share). Take a moment to compare scores and learn a little more about the providers you’re considering before taking the next steps toward buying life insurance.

How did we get our scores?

Each category is a composite score that considers ratings from multiple sources. To get a holistic view of each company’s services, we looked to official agencies like A.M. Best and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, as well as consumer-sourced survey groups like Consumer Reports and J.D. Power. You can learn more about our scoring system below.

Financial Strength
Coverage and Price
Customer Service
Policy Offerings
Featured on Reviews.com
MetLife

4.75/5

4/5

3.75/5

Term life
Whole life
Northwestern Mutual

4.75/5

4.25/5

4.25/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal

New York Life

4.75/5

3.75/5

3.75/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal

Prudential

4.5/5

3.25/5

3.25/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal
Lincoln

4.5/5

2.75/5

3.25/5

Term life
Universal

Mass Mutual

4.75/5

3.25/5

3.25/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal

Transamerica

4.5/5

2.25/5

2.75/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal

John Hancock

4.5/5

2.75/5

3/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal
State Farm

4.75/5

5/5

4.75/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal

Securian

4.75/5

2/5

1.75/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal
Guardian

4.75/5

3/5

3.25/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal

AIG

4.25/5

2/5

1.75/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal
Pacific Life

4.5/5

3/5

3.25/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal
Nationwide

4.25/5

4.75/5

3.75/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal
AXA

4.25/5

2.75/5

2.75/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal
Midland National Life

4.5/5

2.25/5

3/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal
Protective Life

4.5/5

3.75/5

4/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal
Primerica

4.5/5

2/5

3/5

Term life
Mutual of Omaha

4.5/5

3.75/5

4.75/5

Term life
Whole life
Universal

TIAA Life

4.75/5

NR

NR

Term life
Universal

*MetLife life insurance is only available through employer-sponsored plans.
†Click these names for an in-depth review of the company’s coverage and ratings.

What Do Life Insurance Ratings Mean for Me?

These ratings are meant to give you an idea of how the biggest players in life insurance stack up next to one another. Even though life insurance is “out of sight, out of mind” for the most part, you want to be sure that you’re working with a reputable company in case the policy is ever needed.

That said, ratings should always be taken with a grain of salt. Remember that these scores are averages and don’t account for every individual agent, policy, or customer experience. For instance: A company with a seemingly low customer service score might actually have great agents at your local branch. A company with sub-par coverage ratings could still offer speciality coverage items that you’re looking for.

Use our life insurance ratings as a starting point, but be sure to do your own research, too. Start by clicking the providers accompanied by a “†” symbol for more information about coverage, service, and in-depth company comparisons. And if you’re not comfortable comparing policy options on your own, we recommend speaking with an independent agent. They represent multiple companies and can help you find the one that best fits your needs.

Our Life Insurance Rating System

Our rating system incorporates scores from official agencies like the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, as well as consumer-based survey groups like J.D. Power. We’ve translated each company’s rating scale into a five-star system to make comparisons a little easier.

Financial strength ratings

An insurer’s financial strength rating (FSR) measures total financial holdings against ongoing obligations — in other words, how much money the company has versus how much it could potentially have to pay out in claims.

An excellent FSR of “4” or above means that the company is guaranteed to be able to pay out on claims of any size. (This is particularly important if you’re looking for a policy with a sizeable death benefit.) A higher FSR also means that the insurer has a strong credit outlook and would be able to weather tough economic periods.

Our life insurance financial score incorporates ratings from three of the main financial ratings agencies: A.M. Best (which specializes in insurance companies), S&P Global, and Moody’s Investors Service.

Coverage and price ratings

To determine how satisfied customers are with their life insurance coverage — and the amount they’re paying for it — we looked to J.D. Power’s 2018 life insurance study. The survey polled more than 5,000 life insurance customers about their satisfaction with “policy offerings,” “statements and billing,” and “price.”

We considered all three factors in the “coverage and price” category, but remember: Life insurance is incredibly personal. Your coverage needs will be different from the next guy’s, and prices can vary widely from person to person.

If you’re interested in a company with a seemingly low rating in this category (“3.5” or below), it may still be worth checking out its coverage and getting a quote to see whether that insurer works well for your unique situation.

Customer service ratings

Because of the way life insurance is designed, you’ll interact with your provider rarely (if at all) after purchasing a policy. That said, situations where there are interactions between company and customer are relatively high-stakes. For instance: If a policyholder passes away, their insurer should ideally have responsive customer service and a smooth claims process so that an already-difficult situation doesn’t become even more strenuous for the family.

To gauge the quality of customer service at the top life insurance companies, we looked at two metrics: J.D. Power’s 2018 life insurance study, which measures customers’ overall satisfaction and their opinion of companies’ support channels, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which keeps track of the number of official complaints filed against any life insurance company.

Policy offerings

This category simply shows which of the three main life insurance types a company offers (term life, whole life, and/or universal life). Most companies offer all three, but a few are more limited, so be sure to check that the companies you’re considering have what you need. Not sure which kind of life insurance is best for you? Start here with our guide to choosing the right life insurance policy.

Next Steps

How does life insurance work, anyway?

  • Start with our guide to life insurance for a debrief on who needs life insurance, how different policies work, and how to start your search.

What kind of policy do I need?

I want to learn more about:

I’m ready to start comparing prices.

  • Life insurance premiums vary widely from person to person and company to company. Use our life insurance quote tool to find the most popular providers in your area and start comparing rates.

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