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Top 25 Highest Rated Insurance Companies in 2021

highest rated insurance companies

There are four ratings agencies you need to be aware of when you are evaluating the best life insurance companies in terms of overall financial health.

Understanding the life insurance company ratings will help you make the tough decision on which one of the many life insurance companies available is going to be the right fit for you.

The ability of the company you choose to meet financial obligations and pay claims should be a vital ingredient that goes into your final decision making process.

When evaluating a life insurance company’s financial strength, you will notice the financial ratings from the different ratings agencies vary.

Be aware that an A+ from one rating agency is not necessarily on par with another ratings agencies A+. That is why we are providing the following life insurance company ratings overview, so we can help you recognize who the strongest rated companies are.

Each of the ratings agencies, A.M. Best, Moody’s, Fitch and Standard and Poor’s are a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (NRSRO).

The SEC allows NRSROs to offer ratings to insurers that demonstrate the strength of the various insurance companies reserves. These ratings agencies have a high standard to live up to, which should give you some peace of mind about your final decision.

Top 25 Highest Rated Life Insurance Companies

The top 25 top rated companies below are chosen by us based on the company’s A.M. Best rating. We also listed the S&P rating, Moody’s rating and Fitch rating and COMDEX ranking of each company, where applicable. and reflect many of the companies that we write policies for.

What you won’t find on this list is some of the top rated companies that do not sell individual life insurance, or are lesser known captive companies.

If a particular rating agency has not given a rating to a carrier below we left that area blank.

To the best of our knowledge, all ratings are current as of January 2021.

CompanyA.M. Best S&PMoody's FitchCOMDEX Ranking
Northwestern MutualA++AA+AaaAAA100
New York LifeA++AA+AaaAAA100
Thrivent LifeA++AA+99
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
MetLifeA+AA-Aa3AA-95
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
AmeritasAA+83
American GeneralAA+A2A+82

About Comdex Ranking

The Comdex rating for life insurance companies is brought to you by EbixExchange.

Rather than try and decipher the different financial ratings, EbixExchange decided to create a composite index, which takes the average percentile of the different life insurance company’s financial strength ratings assigned by the different rating services, A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch.

A company needs to have at least two ratings form the major ratings agencies in order to have a Comdex rating or ranking.

The rankings are on a scale of 1 – 100, and reflect the company’s ranking in relation to other companies that have also been ranked.

The closer the Comdex ranking is to 100, the higher that company ranked in relation to its peers.

Rating Services Criteria Used

The top 4 best credit ratings agencies all have different criteria for arriving at the different ratings that they offer. However, some of the main areas of interest the agencies consider are:

  • The ability of the insurance company to pay existing claims
  • How well the company is capitalized
  • How leveraged the company’s assets are
  • What investments and risks has the insurer taken on
  • The type of corporate governance and business structure
  • How liquid are the company’s assets
  • If the company has proper risk mitigation in place

These are some ideas on what a different ratings agency might be considering when determining the financial viability of an insurance company.

The ratings agencies take the totality of the information and break it down into grades. Each ratings agency has different methodologies and grading scales listed below.

For more on the top rated companies we represent see our articles featuring our favorite:

About A.M. Best Company

Alfred M. Best started the A.M. Best Company in 1899. Part of his goal was to provide financial stability reports on insurance companies.

Today, Best’s Credit Ratings are the gold standard when it comes to evaluating insurance provider’s financial strength and credit quality.

A.M. Best Company has 15 rating categories, including
  • AAA, Exceptional
  • AA, Superior (including AA+, AA-)
  • A, Excellent (including A+, A-)
  • BBB, Good (including BBB+, BBB-)
  • BB, Fair (including BB+, BB-)
  • B, Marginal (including B+, B-)
  • CCC, Weak (including CCC+, CCC-)
  • CC, Very Weak
  • C, Poor

For more on A.M. Best Company, visit the website here.

About Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings

For over 150 years, Standard and Poor’s ratings have been used to help determine the financial viability of the insurer, particularly regarding its ability to pay all claims under existing contracts, i.e. policies.

S&P Global Ratings is the self proclaimed world’s leading provider of credit ratings and has more than one million credit ratings outstanding.

Standard and Poor’s has 21 rating categories, including:
  • AAA, Extremely Strong
  • AA, Very Strong
  • A, Strong
  • BBB, Good
  • BB, Marginal
  • B, Weak
  • CCC, Very Weak
  • CC, Extremely Weak
  • R, Regulatory Supervision
  • NR, Not Rated

In addition to the letter grade provided, plus or minus signs may also follow the ratings. These signs provide additional rating categories within the larger framework of the AA to CCC ratings.

For more on Standard and Poor’s, visit the website here.

About Fitch Ratings

Founded by John Knowles Fitch in 1914, Fitch Ratings is a credit ratings agency, offering financial rating services to companies in over 30 countries.

Fitch ratings include 21 categories, including:
  • AAA, Exceptionally Strong
  • AA+
  • AA, Very Strong
  • AA-
  • A+
  • A, Strong
  • A-
  • BBB+
  • BBB, Good
  • BBB-
  • BB+
  • BB, Moderately Weak
  • BB-
  • B+
  • B, Weak
  • B-
  • CCC, Very Weak
  • CC, Extremely Weak
  • C, Distressed
  • RD, Restricted Default
  • D, Default

For more on FitchRatings, visit the website here.

About Moody’s Investor Service

Founded by John Moody over 100 years ago, Moody’s Investor Service is a part of Moody’s Corporation. Moody’s Investor Service provides credit ratings, research and risk analysis in over 41 countries.

Moody’s has 21 rating categories, including:
  • Aaa
  • Aa
  • A
  • Baa
  • Ba
  • B
  • Caa
  • Ca
  • C

In addition, Moody’s uses either a 1, 2 or 3 to modify the rating. With a modifier of 1 representing a higher rank; a 2 representing a mid-range ranking; and a 3 representing a ranking in the lower end of that particular category.

For example, in addition to the categories above, further enhancement of the ratings for the top level “A” designation would look like this:

  • Aaa – Highest Rating
  • Aa1 – High-Grade
  • Aa2 – High-Grade
  • Aa3 – High-Grade
  • A1 – Upper-Medium Grade
  • A2 – Upper-Medium Grade
  • A3- Upper-Medium Grade
  • Baa1 – Medium Grade
  • Baa2 – Medium Grade
  • Baa3 – Medium Grade
  • Etc…

For more on Moody’s Investor Services, visit the website here.

Conclusion

Since we place a lot of our clients with permanent life insurance we believe it is essential that we place our clients only into companies that provide A, Excellent financial strength and above.

The future financial strength of the company you choose will provide stability and peace of mind in an otherwise unstable world.

13 comments… add one
  • Trudy Fearon December 12, 2018, 7:57 am

    If Ohio National were currently rated, would it still be in the top 25? This data is old (March 2018). With what is transpiring now with Ohio National, it is doubtful they would be listed in the top 25.

  • Victor Kizushi March 22, 2019, 10:55 am

    Hi, Is Banner Life/Legal General America not A+ (according to A.M Best)?

    • Insurance&Estates March 23, 2019, 6:46 am

      Yes, Banner should be on the list with a 94 Comdex ranking.

  • best investigator September 23, 2019, 11:18 am

    Blogging is not my day job definately. Im trying to promote my
    business by attempting to write about it. But crap could it be ever
    difficult. I do admire your content, and I had formed to comment to
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    give you kuddos on wonderful content and information.

  • Kevin P Donovan December 30, 2019, 12:05 pm

    Being a Licensed agent with NYLife I like to educate my clients on another great reason to choose us. You can’t buy a 4 star rating, either you have it or you don’t. It’s akin to a good credit score.
    At NYLife we have been around since 1845. We are a mutual company and the largest mutual life insurance company in the USA.
    I am very proud that we have the highest rating that a company can get!

    Kevin P Donovan

    • Insurance&Estates December 31, 2019, 11:15 am

      Hello Kevin, thanks for commenting. New York Life is certainly a top company.

      Best,

      Steve Gibbs for I&E

  • Dan G Bennett November 7, 2020, 8:23 am

    Can you give me the ratings for Liberty Mutual Inc. Co.

    • Insurance&Estates November 13, 2020, 8:11 am

      Dan,

      As of this reply, the ratings are as follows:

      A.M. Best Co. – ‘A’
      Moody’s – ‘A2’
      Standard & Poor’s – ‘A’

      Please see the company’s website for information on Liberty Mutual’s ratings.

      Sincerely,

      I&E

  • Debbie February 18, 2021, 4:36 pm

    What do you know about Sentinel life Insurance? I know the ratings are not solid, but they have been in business since 1948. Is it worth the risk?

    • Insurance&Estates February 19, 2021, 10:23 am

      Hello Debbie, I’m not familiar with that carrier; however, my short answer is there would be no reason to go with a sub par company when there are many top rated carriers to consider.

      Best, Steve Gibbs for I&E

  • Mark May 15, 2021, 2:10 pm

    Any info on the Ohio state life insurance company? Can’t find anything.

    • Insurance&Estates May 18, 2021, 1:43 pm

      Hello Mark, we have articles on both Ohio National and State Life; however, from your question I’m not clear what you’re looking for…

      Word to the wise, Ohio National, a historic great mutual life company recently de-mutualized. Strange times.

      Best, Steve Gibbs for I&E

  • Carlton Crabbe July 13, 2021, 7:45 am

    It would be great to add the largest and strongest life insurance companies outside North America as well, and list those by financial strength rating.

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