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Comprehensive List of the Top Life Insurance Companies in the U.S. for 2020

Fact Checked by Jason Herring & Barry Brooksby
Licensed Agents & Life Insurance Experts.
Insurance and Estates, a strategic life insurance provider composed of life insurance professionals, is committed to integrity in our editorial standards and transparency in how we receive compensation from our insurance partners.
life insurance companies list

When it comes to buying insurance, it is good to have options. And knowing who the best life insurance companies are provides you with the insight you need to try and get the best rates.

Some things you need to be aware of when considering the different life insurance companies.

  • Financial Strength
  • Policies Offered
  • Underwriting Criteria

Financial Strength

The primary ratings agencies that provide financial strength ratings to the different life insurance carriers are A.M. Best Company, Standard and Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s.

In addition, the Comdex Ranking is also used, which offers a ranking from 1 to 100 based on how each of the different rating agencies scores a life insurance company.

The companies with the highest ratings are typically going to be the insurance companies you want to choose.

The following table shows a list of life insurance companies in order of financial strength.

CompanyA.M. Best S&PMoody's FitchCOMDEX Ranking
Northwestern MutualA++AA+AaaAAA100
New York LifeA++AA+AaaAAA100
Thrivent LifeA++N/AN/A
Mass Mutual A++AA+Aa3AA+98
State FarmA++AAAa198
Guardian LifeA++AA+Aa2AA+98
Minnesota LifeA+AA-Aa3AA96
State Life Insurance CompanyA+AA-96
Lafayette LifeA+AA-AA96
Securian A+AA-Aa3AA96
Allianz LifeA+AA94
Prudential PrucoA+AA-Aa3AA-95
Banner LifeA+AA-AA-94
John HancockA+AA-A1AA-93
Lincoln NationalA+AA-A1A+91
Principal LifeA+A+A1AA-90
Pacific LifeA+AA-A1AA-93
Protective LifeA+AA-A1A+92
Nationwide LifeA+A+A190
Penn MutualA+A+Aa393
Mutual of OmahaA+AA-A190
Transamerica LifeAA+A184
American GeneralAA+A2A+82

Policies Offered

There are different types of life insurance policies. The two main insurance policies offered are term life and permanent life insurance.

Term Life Insurance

Term life is offered in a few different ways, such as convertible term, level term life, annual renewable term and decreasing term life insurance.

In addition, there are different terms available, such as 5 year, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 year terms.

Different term life riders are available such as return of premium, waiver of premium and terminal illness riders.

The Best Term Life Insurance Companies Are:

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance is offered in two different products, whole life vs universal life. Not all life insurance carriers provide each type of permanent insurance coverage.

Whole Life Insurance

Traditional dividend paying whole life insurance coverage is the more stable insurance product. It offers guaranteed cash value, guaranteed level premiums and guaranteed death benefit protection.

The Best Dividend Paying Whole Life Insurance Companies Are:

Universal life is a permanent life insurance policy offering more flexibility, allowing you to make different premium payments depending on your current ability. Universal life insurance coverage is available in a few different options.

Guaranteed Universal Life

Guaranteed universal life provides a return offered by the insurance company. It is guaranteed based on the criteria that you meet your minimum insurance premium payment. As long as you pay the minimum insurance premiums required, your universal life policy will remain in force.

The Best Guaranteed Universal Life Companies Are:

Indexed Universal Life

Indexed universal life offers indexing tied to the stock market so that your policy can experience potentially higher returns than with whole life.

The IUL index is linked to the stock market but does not directly participate in the stock market.

The IUL insurance policy provides some safety in that there is a floor available which limits potential losses from poor stock market performance.

The Best Indexed Universal Life Companies Are:

Variable Universal Life

Variable life insurance offers many subaccounts, like mutual funds, that allow you to participate in the stock market.

The pros and cons of variable universal life are that you can participate in the gains of the stock market and experience huge growth in your policy’s cash value.

Alternatively, your VUL insurance policy can experience huge losses when the market goes south.

The Best Variable Life Insurance Companies Are:

Long-Term Care and Chronic Illness Riders

Additionally, certain companies offer long-term care and chronic illness riders. If you desire certain living benefits attached to your permanent life insurance policy, then knowing which life insurer offers the best living benefit riders is a must.

Underwriting Criteria

Different insurance companies have different life insurance underwriting criteria. This is important to know because one company may illustrate better than another company, but due to more restrictive medical exam underwriting, as well as how that life insurer views a specific pre-existing medical condition, that company may not offer the best rate class you thought you would qualify for.

As a result, you get a lower rate class than the alternative life insurance company. The lower rate class may affect your policy’s performance.

In hindsight, you realize you should have applied with the other life insurer that had more favorable underwriting criteria for your health profile and any pre-existing conditions and you may have received a better rate class than the company that illustrated better.

This is just one example of why knowing which life insurance company is best (for you) is essential. That is, which company will offer you the best rate class, not necessarily look the best on paper. That way you do not end up paying higher premiums than necessary.

No Exam

Finally, another underwriting factor to consider is whether you should take an exam or choose no medical exam life insurance. Many of the top whole life and universal life companies offer programs that allow you to bypass the life insurance blood test all together.

Comprehensive List of Life Insurance Carriers

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