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Top 16 Best Whole Life Insurance Companies in the U.S.

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.
best whole life insurance companies

At I&E, we know whole life insurance.

And the thing is, not all whole life policies are the same.

Just because you choose a top whole life insurance company does not mean you are getting the best whole life insurance.

That is because the best whole life insurance policy is the one that is tailored to your specific needs.

There are many ways to design whole life and most life insurance agents have very little knowledge in this area.

So, with that in mind, let’s talk about the best whole life insurance companies.

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The following companies make up our current choices for the top 16 best whole life insurance companies listed in alphabetical order.

The following 16 whole life insurance companies are among the only carriers in the united states that offer dividend paying whole life insurance.

And while there is no one true “best” whole life insurance company, a few of the carriers listed below are definitely superior to their competitors in a few key areas, namely in the dividend paid, interest on loans, cash value growth, and policy flexibility.

Our Current Favorite Whole Life Insurance Companies

Below we will highlight all 16 of our top whole life insurance companies. However, the following companies are clear stand outs presently due to strong policy design options and cash value growth.

  1. Penn Mutual
  2. Lafayette Life
  3. Mass Mutual

So while we refrain from a true ranking list in order of best to worst whole life insurance companies, we definitely have our current favorites that we recommend to our potential clients.

And before we get into the specifics of each company, know that you can also read up on more about whole life insurance by clicking on any of the links provided in this article.

One last note, we believe it is also important to point out that unlike most life insurance agencies out there, at I&E, we are advocates of a properly designed whole life insurance policy.

So, rather than recommend you buy term and invest the difference, we will talk with you on your personal needs and goals to see what the best life insurance policy for you would be.

Maybe it is whole life.

Or perhaps convertible term life insurance is more in line with your needs.

But the bottom line is, we will take the time to help you make this important decision, rather than give you a “one-size-fits-all” recommendation like so many of our competitors do.

So, with all that said, let’s dive right in…

Table of Contents

Whole Life Insurance Quotes

You can use the following whole life insurance calculator to get a ballpark of how much a policy may cost.

Please give us a call for tailored whole life insurance quotes to your specific needs, health and lifestyle.

Top 16 Best Whole Life Insurance Companies

(according to I&E)

Many of the carriers below are among the top rated life insurance companies. Where applicable, we listed the company’s A.M Best rating, S&P rating, and Comdex ranking.

However, a few companies do not have a Comdex ranking, which requires the company be rated by at least 2 of the top 4 rating agencies, A.M. Best, S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch.

American United Life

aul logo

American United Life, aka AUL, is a mutual insurance company, that has been in business for over 140 years.

AUL, along with The State Life Insurance Company, is a subsidiary of OneAmerica.

AUL boasts some impressive financial ratings.

  • A.M. Best rating A+
  • S&P rating AA-
  • Comdex ranking 95

For more, please visit our American United Life review.


ameritas whole life insuranceFounded in 1887, Ameritas is a mutual company that practices direct recognition.

Ameritas offers Care4Life, an Accelerated Death Benefit Rider which provides living benefits if the insured is diagnosed as critically ill or terminally ill.

Ameritas ratings are as follows:

  • A.M. Best rating A
  • S&P rating A+
  • Comdex ranking 82

For more, please visit our Ameritas Life Insurance Company review.


foresters financial whole life insuranceForesters Financial has been in business since 1874. Foresters is a not-for-profit company, called a fraternal benefit society.

Foresters Financial offers its various life insurance products through The Independent Order of Foresters and Foresters Life Insurance and Annuity Company.

Foresters average dividend interest rate has remained above 6%. Its last reported dividend interest rate was 6.23% for 2018.

Foresters financial ratings are as follows:

  • A.M. Best rating A-
  • Comdex ranking N/A

For more, please visit our Foresters Financial review.

Guardian Life

Guardian life insuranceThe Guardian Life Insurance Company of America is a mutual company that practices direct recognition.

The company was founded over 150 years ago and is known throughout the industry as one of the largest mutual insurers.

Guardian has strong financial ratings, including:

  • A.M. Best rating A++
  • S&P rating AA+
  • Comdex ranking 99

For more, please visit our Guardian Life review.

Lafayette Life

lafayette whole life insurance Lafayette Life Insurance Company practices non-direct recognition. Lafayette Life is available in 48 states and the District of Colombia. It currently does not do business in New York or Alaska.

Lafayette Life Insurance Company is a member of Western and Southern Financial Group. Lafayette Life was founded in 1905 as a mutual insurance company.

Lafayette has strong financial ratings, including:

  • A.M. Best rating A+
  • S&P rating AA-
  • Comdex ranking 95

For more, please visit our Lafayette Life review.


massmutual logoMassMutual and Whole Life Insurance are synonymous. The company was founded in 1851, so as of 2023, MassMutual has been around for 172 years.

Massmutual practices non-direct recognition and has historically paid out one of the highest dividend payments in the industry.

In 2018, MassMutual launched a digital initiative with LifeScore 360. It allows a significant reductions in the application process and a substantial improvement in the ability to deliver rapid assessment of individual life insurance risk relative to current industry best practices.

What this means for you is that MassMutual provides accelerated underwriting, allowing some clients to bypass having to take a medical exam.

MassMutual financial ratings:

  • A.M. Best rating A++
  • S&P rating AA+
  • Comdex ranking 98

For more, please visit our MassMutual review.

Mutual of Omaha

mutual of omaha whole life insuranceHeadquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Mutual of Omaha (MOO) has been around since 1909.

Mutual of Omaha is one of the few mutual insurance companies that does not offer participating whole life.

Rather, the company’s whole life policies are non-participating, which means they do not provide an annual dividend payment to policyholders.

Mutual of Omaha has strong ratings, including:

  • A.M. Best rating A+
  • S&P rating A+
  • Comdex ranking 90

For more, please visit our Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance review.

Mutual Trust Life

mutual trust whole life insuranceMutual Trust Life Insurance, aka MTL Insurance Company, aka Mutual Trust Financial Group, aka “The Whole Life Company”®, was founded in 1904 as a mutual insurance company.

Covenant II is MTL’s premier participating whole life insurance policy, designed for permanent coverage with maximum cash value accumulation and growth.

Mutual Trust Life’s Financial Ratings:

  • A.M. Best rating A
  • Comdex ranking 78

For more, please visit our Mutual Trust Life review.

New York Life

Custom Designed Whole Life InsuranceFounded in 1854, New York Life is the largest mutual insurance company in the United States.

They rank number 61 on the Forbes 100 list and are A++ rated by A.M. Best.

In 2023, New York Life expects to pay participating policyholders a dividend payout of $2 billion, marking the 169th consecutive year the company has paid policy owners a dividend, dating back to 1854.

New York Life’s impressive financial ratings include:

  • A.M. Best rating A++
  • S&P rating AA+
  • Comdex ranking 100

For more, please visit our New York Life review.

Northwestern Mutual

northwestern mutual whole life insuranceNorthwestern Mutual is a powerhouse, typically writing and placing in force the most whole life insurance policies in the United States.

Founded in 1857, Northwestern Mutual is the highest rated life insurance carrier.

Northwestern Mutual’s has assets of over $265 billion and over $1.8 trillion worth of life insurance in force.

Northwestern Mutual’s Financial Ratings Include:

  • A.M. Best rating A++
  • S&P rating AA+
  • Comdex ranking 100

For more, please visit our Northwestern Mutual review.

Ohio National

Review of Ohio National Life InsuranceOhio National Life Insurance Company is a non-direct recognition company offering participating whole life insurance.

Founded 110 years ago, Ohio National is a top whole life insurance company, having paid dividends to its policyholders of participating whole life insurance for 93 straight years.

Please note, Ohio National has undergone demutualization. As a result, we no longer recommend it as one of our top whole life insurance companies.

The Financial Ratings of Ohio National include:

  • A.M. Best rating A
  • S&P rating A-
  • Comdex ranking 74

For more, please visit our Ohio National review.

Penn Mutual

penn mutual logoPenn Mutual is an innovator in the world of whole life insurance, offering accelerated underwriting on policies up to $2,500,000 in coverage.

Penn Mutual has been in business since 1847, making the company 176 years old as of 2023.

For 2023, Penn Mutual is set to payout $163 million to eligible policyholders, with a dividend rate of 5.75%.

Penn Mutual’s strong financial ratings include:

  • A.M. Best rating A+
  • S&P rating A+
  • Comdex ranking 93

For more, please visit our Penn Mutual review.

SBLI – Savings Bank Life Insurance

SBLI life insurance reviewSavings Bank Life Insurance, AKA SBLI, AKA The No Nonsense Life Insurance Company has been in business since 1907.

SBLI is a mutual insurance company that offers direct recognition whole life insurance.

SBLI’s financial ratings include:

  • A.M. Best rating A
  • S&P rating A-
  • Comdex ranking 76

For more, please visit our Savings Bank Life review.

Security Mutual Life

Security Mutual whole Life Insurance Security Mutual Life Insurance Company is a non-direct recognition carrier that offers dividend paying whole life insurance.

This mutual insurer has been around since 1866.

The company offers an enhanced paid-up additions rider which allows you to pay additional premium into your policy to purchase additional paid-up life insurance, which increases your death benefit and cash value.

The financial ratings of Security Mutual are:

  • A.M. Best rating A-
  • Comdex ranking N/A

For more, please visit our Security Mutual Life review.

State Farm

state farm whole life insuranceState Farm has been around for almost 100 years and is a mutual insurance company that offers ordinary whole life, limited pay whole life and single premium whole life insurance.

State Farm also offers Final Expense whole life insurance, which is a guaranteed acceptance policy.

State Farm’s strong financial ratings include:

  • A.M. Best rating A++
  • S&P rating AA
  • Comdex ranking 98

For more, please visit our State Farm Whole Life Insurance Review.


thrivent whole life insuranceThrivent Financial For Lutherans offers participating whole life insurance. The company is a not-for-profit membership organization of Christians that has been around for over 100 years.

Once only catering to Lutherans, Thrivent offers membership to all Christians as of 2013. The company boasts strong financial ratings and has over 134 billion in assets under management.

Ratings for Thrivent Financial include:

  • A.M. Best rating A++
  • Comdex ranking 99

Whole Life Insurance Benefits

The most important aspect to whole life insurance is the guarantees that it offers: guaranteed fixed premiums, guaranteed cash value growth, and guaranteed death benefit protection.

And although not guaranteed, participating whole life insurance focused on cash value growth offers annual life insurance dividend payments.

Guaranteed Fixed Premiums

Whole life insurance rates are fixed for the life of the policy. The primary benefit that fixed insurance quotes provide is stability.

With other types of permanent life insurance, the premiums can fluctuate over the policy’s lifetime.

But with whole life policies, the premiums will remain the same, and you can eventually use your cash value growth and dividend to pay your policy’s premium payment.

Guaranteed Cash Value Growth

Whole life insurance illustrations will provide a guaranteed and non-guaranteed illustration of your projected policy performance.

The typical guaranteed cash value growth is roughly 3%, with the non-guaranteed growth coming at at 5%+ of the best cash value whole life insurance companies.

However, thanks to the death benefit, the actual internal rate of return is much higher, particularly in the early years of  the policy.

Guaranteed Death Benefit

Unlike term life insurance that has a definite end date, whole life insurance lasts your entire life.

And with a properly designed policy, your cash value and death benefit will increase each year, so as you age, your death benefit will grow.

The primary advantage to a growing death benefit is that when you do finally pass, your death benefit is close to the largest it has been throughout your lifetime, leaving your beneficiaries with the most income free death benefit possible.

Whole Life Dividends

Dividend payments are unique to whole life insurance policies. Dividends provide a return of premium to policyholders.

You can choose the following dividend options:

  • Purchase paid up additions
  • Pay Premiums
  • Earn interest with the company
  • Cash Out

For those of you interested in growing your cash value, paid-up additions allow you to reinvest your dividend into your policy by using the dividend to purchase paid-up life insurance.

The affect of paid-up additions is two fold:

One, it increases your death benefit protection, allowing you to leave more money to your loved ones.

Two, it increases your cash value, allowing you access to more money in your policy to be used via a withdrawal or life insurance loan.

Whole Life Insurance Dividends Chart

Minnesota Life6.004.755.
National Life Group6.005.755.755.755.755.755.25????
New York Life5.805.906.$1.9 billion
Northwestern Mutual5.855.605.605.605.455.004.905.
Ohio National6.
Penn Mutual6.346.346.346.346.346.346.346.106.105.755.75

Different Types of Whole Life Insurance Policies

The two primary types of whole life policies are participating vs non participating policies.

Participating vs Non-Participating

What matters is that participating whole life pays an annual dividend and non-participating policies do not.

Ideally, you would want to choose a participating whole life policy, as they tend to provide greater cash value growth long term.

Among participating policies, there are also companies that practice direct recognition vs non-direct recognition.

Direct vs Non-Direct

Economics requires that policy loans, along with other factors in the economic environment, can have a negative impact on the dividend rates offered by a life insurance company.

This impact, when applied to a whole life insurance policy is called a “crediting adjustment” and there are two ways this adjustment is applied.

These two ways are either Direct Recognition, which passes the adjustment only to the policy holders who have outstanding loans and Non-Direct Recognition, which passes the adjustment to ALL of the policy holders, regardless of outstanding loans.

This crediting adjustment for direct recognition companies may result in a decrease (although this is not always the case) in the dividend rate for those who hold policy loans.

Non-direct recognition insurance companies will not show an adjustment to the dividend rates; however, the dividend rates in total may be lower and it is important to consider this factor.

Limited Pay Whole Life Insurance Policies

Whole life companies also offer different ways to design the policy, allowing you to choose from whole life to age 121, whole life to age 65 or limited pay life insurance, allowing you to choose specific periods of time, such as 7-Pay, 10-Pay, 15-Pay and 20-Pay life insurance.

You can choose a limited pay life insurance policy or a policy where premiums are due for your entire life.

A benefit of limited pay policies is that the premiums are no longer due once the limited pay timeline has passed.

But you should be aware that the best cash value whole life insurance policies are not always limited pay policies.

Therefore, if cash value growth is of utmost importance to you, you may want to consider an alternative, such as a policy designed for early cash value growth via paid-up additions that allows you to continue to add money down the road in the form of lifetime premium payments.

Whole Life Insurance Loans vs Withdrawals

You can access your whole life insurance policy’s cash value via a life insurance loan or a withdrawal.

Life insurance loans allow you to borrow from the insurance company using your cash value as collateral.

Loans are income tax free and provide a great way for you to access your money.

Alternatively, withdrawals may be tax free, but only up to your basis in the whole life policy.


The “best whole life insurance companies” is an ever changing landscape. Competition helps foster an environment of ever improving whole life cash value growth and performance.

If you are interested in finding out more about the best whole life insurance policy for you, based on your unique needs, goals and objectives, you can explore other articles on our site.

Alternatively, our experts are here for you and will provide you with a complimentary strategy session to help you determine if whole life is the best option for you.

4 comments… add one
  • KENDRA Gray October 26, 2020, 8:50 pm


  • Manuel September 11, 2021, 7:16 pm

    I’m interested in a life insurance ( IUL) maximizing benefits to me, with a very inexpensive commission to seller of policy,. Also I would like to move any funds I have in a typical bank account or savings account and let it build compound interest. Can you help me?

    • Insurance&Estates September 13, 2021, 8:42 pm

      Hello Manuel, I recommend that you connect with our IUL expert Jason Herring by emailing him to request a call at jason@insuranceandestates.com.

      Best, Steve Gibbs, for I&E

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