Company Names (and their Variants) - Many insurance companies do business under different names in different states. In addition, many well known companies sell life insurance under a different company name consumers may not be familiar with. For example, Prudential sells life insurance (in most states) through its life insurance subsidiary, "Pruco Life Insurance Company" and AIG sells life insurance (in most states) through its subsidiary, "American General Life Insurance". When listing companies above, we have chosen to use the more well known "parent company's" name in all cases except Banner Life (owned by Legal & General), John Hancock (owned by Manulife), Minnesota Life (owned by Symetra). All A.M. Best ratings, Comdex ratings, Service scores, and Assets listed are for the "Parent" company unless otherwise noted. All pricing came from CA. See "Pricing" below for the full list of companies' legal names in CA. Best life insurance companies.
Financial Ratings - Rates above have been updated as of August 1, 2017 and were collected from the life insurance companies' statutory annual statements. A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating opinion addresses the relative ability of an insurer to meet its ongoing claims obligations. It is not a warranty of a company's financial strength or ability to pay its obligations to policyholders. For more information visit: http://www.ambest.com/home/ratings.aspx
Comdex score is derived from an average of the 4 major rating agencies: A.M. Best, Fitch, S&P, and Moody's. Similar to above, it may indicate a company's ability to meet its ongoing claims obligations but is not a warranty. Comdex scores sourced from: www.greatplainsannuity.com/pdf/financial_ratings.pdf
Service - Service scores come from J.D. Power's "2016 U.S. Life Insurance Study", which was based on responses from 6,455 individual life insurance customers. Overall 22 companies were awarded a score of up to 1,000 points. Some companies (like USAA and Minnesota Life) were included in their study but were not award eligible due to small market share and/or too small of a sample size. For various reasons, some companies from the J.D. Power's study were not represented in our "Service" section above, like State Farm or MetLife. For more details, see J.D. Power's online press release at: http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/jd-power-2016-us-life-insurance-study
Average Pricing - For the most accurate depiction of the companies' overall pricing, we opted not so show a snapshot of a single age, amount and term length, as this would not represent any of the above companies' pricing overall. Instead, all prices above represent an average of multiple quotes at varying ages, amounts, and term lengths. They are taken from CA for a male, non tobacco user in preferred plus health. Not an offer for insurance. May not be available in all states. Prices above are averages of 6 term lengths and amounts (last updated on Aug 1, 2017) for the following:
10 year term - $250,000, 10 year term - $500,000, 10 year term - $1 million, 20 year term - $250,000, 20 year term - $500,000, 20 year term - $1 million
The individual quotes that made up our "average prices" in our comparison tool can be found and downloaded in this Excel sheet.
For a video explanation of how we averaged the premiums to determine the average price for each age group, and each company's overall price rating, click here.
For each age category, we have approximated the average price by using the aforementioned 6 quote amounts and types, at the following ages: 25 years old for ages 20 to 29, 35 years old for ages 30 to 39, 45 years old for 40 to 49, 55 years old for 50 to 59, 65 years old for 60 to 69, and 75 years old for 70 to 79.
CA companies and product names of term policies used for pricing above are as follows (In parentheses indicates abbreviated name in chart above and whenever more than one term product was available from a single company, we selected the lowest priced product with guaranteed level premiums throughout the term): Protective Life Insurance Company (Protective) - Classic Choice Term 10 & 20, American General Life Insurance Company (AIG) - Select-a-Term 10 & 20 Year, United of Omaha Life Insurance Company (Mutual of Omaha) - Term Life Answers 10 & 20, Pacific Life Insurance Company (Pacific Life) - PL Promise Term 10 & 20, Midland National Life Insurance Company (Midland National) - Premier CS7 - 10 & 20 Year Term, North American Co for Life and Health (North American) - ADDvantage 10 & 20, Principal National Life Insurance Co (Principal), Banner Life Insurance Company (Banner Life) - OPTerm 10 & 20, Savings Bank Life Insurance Co of MA (Savings Bank Life) - T-10 & T-20, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance (Mass Mutual) - Vantage Term 10 & 20, Minnesota Life Insurance Company (Minnesota Life) - Advantage Elite Select 10 & 20 Year, Transamerica Life Insurance Company (Transamerica) - Trendsetter Super 10 & 20, TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company (TIAA-CREF) - 10 & 20 Year Level Term, Lincoln National Life Insurance Company (Lincoln Financial) - TermAccel (R) Level Term 10 & 20 for $250,000 and $500,000 amounts, LifeElement (R) Level Term 10 & 20 for $1,000,000, John Hancock Life Insurance Company USA (John Hancock) - Term 10 & 20, New York Life Insurance Company (New York Life) - 10 & 20 Year Level Term (10LCT & 20LCT), Guardian Life Insurance Co of America (Guardian) - Level Term Gold 10 & 20, Pruco Life Insurance Company (Prudential) - Term Essential 10 & 20, Farmers New World Life Insurance Company (Farmers) - Value Term 10 & 20 Year, Nationwide Life and Annuity Insurance Co (Nationwide) - YourLife GLT 10 & 20 Year Term, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance (Northwestern Mutual) - TT Level Term 10 & 20.
"Get a Quote"Button - We do not offer online quotes for the following companies listed in our comparison tool: New York Life, Midland National, Mass Mutual, Farmers, Pacific Life, Guardian, TIAA-CREF, or Northwestern Mutual. We ARE able to provide quotes for 3 of these: Mass Mutual, Nationwide, and Pacific Life if you call us directly at 877-443-9467.
Why #1 Overall May NOT Be Best for YOU!
The answer for a 35 year old is completely different than for a 65 year old.
We asked 30,000 people what they wanted, and here were the results…
We recently ran a survey on our site, asking everyone who visited to share: #1 – their age #2 – what was most important to them about life insurance or their biggest concern We categorized our respondents into age groups and here’s what we found:
20 to 49 Years Old:
Among 20 to 49 years old, after price, wanting coverage “Quick & Easy” was the number ONE thing our younger respondents said.
50 and Over:
Over age 50, we discovered that “Quick and Easy” was no longer an issue. We found that for our respondents, they didn’t care about that. Instead, their “Age and Health” was their #1 concern. If you’re over age 50 and share those same concerns, be sure to visit our section here on the best companies with health issues. And rest assured, most of the companies we do business offer excellent rates up to age 80 (and some beyond that), so age shouldn’t be a factor.
In the case of seniors ages 60 and over, one of the carriers we like is Lincoln.
Perhaps you’ve been told you can’t qualify for life insurance due to a tough medical condition.
… but 99% of the time, all that means is you used the wrong agent.
Here’s a list of some of the medical issues an experienced, independent agent should have no trouble getting covered:
When it comes to selecting the best company with a health issue, the name of the game is applying to the company who will:
… because best rating equals best price!
Introducing the Special Case Roadshow:
One of our tricks to getting tough cases approved is the “Special Case Roadshow.”
In essence, we put our clients’ case out to bid to dozens of companies, and make them give us a tentative offer before we ever spend a minute filling out an application.
Our special cases get approved more often (and usually at the rating quoted) this way.
Featured Company for Pre-Existing Conditions:
At Huntley Wealth, we’ve seen it all.
While there are many companies who we frequently take high risk cases to, (like Banner, Protective, American General, and in severe cases, Gerber)…
There’s one company who stands head and shoulders above the rest for health impairments.
Prudential, doing business in most states as “Pruco Life”, was established in Newark, New Jersey in 1875 and is also known as “The Rock”, and if it weren’t for its pricing (which isn’t always the lowest), it would definitely be #1 on our top 10 life insurance company list of 2017. It is a Fortune Global 500 and Fortune 500 Company and operates in 48 states.
Huntdex Score 26 out of 30
Prudential is also highly renowned when it comes to competitive pricing, but its products tend to be a bit more expensive. Prudential also has one of the most detailed online quote tools in the market and can also provide quotes for Universal Life insurance, which is rarely found in quote tools provided by competitors.
If you compare their “best” rates to other insurance companies’ best rates, this is where they falter.
But, if you understand just how good their underwriting is, and how lenient they are, you’d know that their pricing score of 7 isn’t quite fair, since they frequently approve applicants at better ratings than the next company. In other words, if they approve an applicant at “preferred best” where Banner might only approve them at “preferred”, then Prudential’s rates are just as good as the top priced companies, and in many cases better!
Prudential also has been bestowed by A.M. Best with an A+ financial rating, with a stable outlook. As of 2016 the company has over 3.7 trillion dollars of life insurance in force with over $766 billion in assets and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange as a publicly traded company. In a recent affirmation of their A.M. Best rating, they were said to have a:
highly diversified business and earnings profile
strong market positions in its core lines
considerable financial flexibility
The underwriting policies of Prudential also make it one of the most lenient companies in the business.
In fact they are the ONLY company who receives a 10 in this category!
They are also known to offer life insurance at a slight sub-standard rating to applicants with recent DUI’s, when most other companies will decline them.
On a personal note, I recently was able to help an applicant with Hepatitis C AND hemophilia get approved by Prudential, when all else declined him.
It is also one of the best go-to companies when it comes to those who travel outside the U.S. and for non-resident citizens, such as permanent residents, who need life insurance.
They truly deserve their 10 score for underwriting!
One such instance is if one of your parents or siblings (brother/sister) ever had:
The problem is you could be penalized and forced to pay 25% to 50% more depending on someone’s ELSE’s health!
They ALL ask about your family on their application in some fashion.
The Trick is Finding the “Company Guidelines” That Fit Your Situation
Each company publishes their “underwriting guidelines.”
Here’s a sample family history guideline from Protective Life, one of our top rated life insurance companies:
So essentially company guidelines simply state what health rating they’ll approve you at based on things like:
blood pressure & cholesterol levels
If you have a father, mother, brother or sister who has had (or died from) a medical condition, make sure to speak to a knowledgeable independent agent. They can shop the different “underwriting guides” to see where you might be able to slip in best.
Banner Life – A Godsend if Your Parent Had Cancer
Take the situation where your mother had breast cancer.
If you were to apply to Protective, you wouldn’t be able to qualify for their top 2 best rate classes. (I showed their guidelines above — and a parent’s death due to cancer is not allowed).
Banner, on the other hand, doesn’t penalize you for a parental death due to cancer, so you could feasibly still qualify for their best rate.
When it comes to smoking and life insurance it all depends on the type of tobacco:
If you’re an every day cigarette smoker, there’s no getting around it.
You WILL have to pay smoker rates, and they’re on average 2-3x as high as non smoker rates.
The low price leaders here are usually: Transamerica, American General, and Assurity
If you smoke them every day, you’ll have to pay smoker rates with every company in the U.S.
They’ll offer you their 3rd best non-tobacco rating even if you smoke cigars every day!
There are a handful of companies that now allow up to 1 to 2 cigars per month without charging you their tobacco rates.
A few of them are Minnesota Life, AIG, and Nationwide.
Just be sure you don’t go to your auto insurance agent or some other agent who can only show you quotes from 1 company, and you should be fine with occasional cigar use.
E-Cigarettes, Vaping, Chewing Tobacco, Pipe Smoking:
They’ll consider you for their 3rd best non tobacco rating for any of these.
Social / Occasional Cigarette Smoker:
Just about every company in the U.S. will charge you tobacco rates EVEN if you admit to having a cigarette once or twice per year. We do have access to one company who will allow you to smoke up to 24 cigarettes per year though, and still give you their 2nd best NON-tobacco rating. Call us for details at 877-443-9467.
Banner is best here. Most companies make you wait 5 years before offering best class non-tobacco rates. For Banner, it’s only 36 months (3 years).
A few other companies who allow best class after 3 years are Minnesota Life, Mutual of Omaha and North American.
If you’ve only quit for 1 year, many companies will offer you their “standard” rate, which should still be a big savings over any tobacco rating you may have had before. But again Banner leads the way here, as they’ll consider you for their “standard plus” rate, their 3rd best rate after quitting for just 1 year!
Companies have eased up a lot on pot smoking lately.
Depending on how often you smoke, you can now get non-tobacco rates from companies like: Aviva, American General, and Prudential.
You’re actually more likely to get NON tobacco rates if you’re smoking pot with an RX.
What do all these cases have in common? You really ought to talk to an independent agent about your smoking habits so they can find you the best company for your situation.
Franklin life insurance
The Key to Low Rates with High Cholesterol
As you can see, American General allows for what some might consider pretty high cholesterol (290) in their column on the left, and that’s in the BEST HEALTH CLASS THEY OFFER.
They’ll do this if your ratio of total to good cholesterol (HDL) is lower than 4.5.
First, find out your total cholesterol and your HDL (your good cholesterol).
Next, calculate your cholesterol ratio.
When it comes to life insurance with diabetes, there are 2 key considerations:
Best Rates for Diabetics
Our favorite carrier for diabetics is Banner Life Insurance.
They routinely approve our clients at a “standard” to slightly substandard rating.
If you’re diabetic, “standard” would be a great approval because that’s the rating for someone with an average life expectancy!
Speed (No Exam Companies that Accept Diabetics)
There are 2 very strong companies when it comes to getting lightning fast approvals with companies who are diabetic friendly.
Phoenix Life – They accept type 1 and type 2 diabetes and have a feature where if you ever go into renal failure, you can get to your money while you’re still alive.
American National – They’ll consider diabetics as long as their A1C is under 10.0 and type 1 diabetics if A1C is under 8.5. Both pretty easy numbers to hit for controlled diabetics.
Life insurance with no exam and a “simplified issue process” is the fastest way to buy life insurance.
Simplified issue means not only is there no medical exam, but also they don’t request your medical records.
In others, it only takes 1-2 days.
Compare that to the “fully underwritten” process, which can take several weeks.
Is there really ONE answer to this question, “who’s the best term life insurance company?”
We argue there’s a clear winner…
To start, when you’re looking for a good term policy, you want a policy with guaranteed level premiums for up to 30 years, and good conversion options in case your needs change and you require a policy for the rest of your life.
The company we’ve selected has terms ranging from 10 to 30 years (many companies only offer 10 and 20 year term) and offers conversion to a competitively priced guaranteed universal life policy (some companies, like Primerica, don’t offer conversion). On top of that you want a strong company and good pricing.
In selecting our #1 recommended term provider, we used the following criteria:
2. Best financial strength
3. Most lenient in underwriting (accepting health issues)
The clear winner is Banner Life Insurance Company who offers OPTerm 10, 15, 20, and 30. If you’ve never heard of Banner, that’s ok.
I hadn’t either when I first started seeing them among the best priced companies in quote results across all ages and amounts.
As it turns out, they are the life insurance arm of Legal & General, one of the largest insurance and asset management companies in the world. They were founded in 1836 and have over 10 million customers worldwide.
Banner’s OPTerm consistently shows up as one of our top 3 priced term policies for 10 & 20 years, at any age and any amount.
They aren’t teaser rates. Our clients routinely qualify for their “preferred plus” health category (their best health class).
There are many companies who may have solid pricing in their best class but make it nearly impossible to qualify for that class. That brings us to the discussion of underwriting (getting approved and at what rating).
Banner Underwriting (Lenient Approvals):
Banner shines in so many areas when it comes to qualifying for life insurance. Here are a few:
Death of a family member due to cancer – most companies penalize you 2 or 3 health classes (which could cost you 50% to 75% more) if you had a parent die or cancer prior to age 60 or 65. Banner doesn’t even ask if your parents ever had cancer.
Cigarette smokers – they’ll approve someone who quit for their best rate just 3 years after quitting – most companies wait 5 years!
Sleep apnea and Diabetes II – they’ll go as low as Standard Plus, their 3rd best rating in a best case scenario, where most companies offer their 4th best rating (standard) which costs 25% more.
In fact I’ve seen them offer our clients their best rating in some cases where our clients have had:
– History of Anxiety or depression
And best of all, even if you have a more serious condition…
(Serious conditions are things like Hepatitis C, Diabetes I, atrial fibrillation, or coronary artery disease)
Our friend and associate, Scott Johnson from loves Banner too:
… they often times have the best rates for these cases too. And that’s because of a unique way they price their “substandard” cases. Basically all companies add extra premium to cases where the individual is riskier than a standard risk (standard is someone with an average life expectancy).
What most companies do is add “tables” on top of their standard pricing, with each table costing 25% more than their standard rate. So Standard Table 2 would cost 50% more than their standard rate.
Banner adds tables too, but they do it on top of their Standard PLUS rating which is about 30%-40% cheaper than most companies’ standard ratings to begin with. In the end, they almost always win the price war when it comes to tougher cases.
Banner holds an A+ financial rating with A.M. Best, which means their ability to meet ongoing claims obligations is “excellent” in the opinion of A.M. Best.
There are only a handful of companies with an a better rating of A++, but their pricing is so high it disqualifies them from being our #1 term company.
However, of the A+ rated companies, Banner has the highest Comdex score, which is an average of the top rating agencies, A.M. Best, Fitch, Moody’s, and S&P.
Whole life insurance offers guaranteed lifetime coverage, with the added bonus of accumulating “cash value”, which may be accessed as a tax free loan.
There are a few good uses for whole life insurance. Determining the best company will depend on how you’re using it.
3 Reasons to Buy:
Many people buy small $10,000 to $20,000 policies to cover their funeral, burial, and other final expenses that may occur upon death.
Many of these policies can be purchased without a medical exam, and are typically forms of whole life insurance. A couple good companies for this type of coverage are Mutual of Omaha and Phoenix Life.
We’ve devoted an entire section in this article to final expense, so if this is the type of coverage you’re looking for, visit our best companies for final expense section.
One type of coverage that’s also built on a whole life structure is “guaranteed issue” or “graded death benefit” whole life.
We only use these policies where severe medical conditions prevent us from buying more traditional term, universal life, or whole life plans.
These policies approve just about anyone, but limit the payout during the first 2 years (typically) to some percentage of the total death benefit, such as 30% in the first year, and 60% in the second year (that’s an example of a graded policy) or in the case of guaranteed issue policies, they typically return only the premiums plus 10% during the first two years.
These are NOT what people think about when they hear the words “whole life insurance,” so let’s move on.
#3 Cash Value Build Up and Tax Free Access to Cash
At Huntley Wealth, we rarely sell whole life for “cash accumulation” or as an “investment.”
Our position here is that many agents position whole life as something everyone should have, and due to giant commissions on some of these policies, they’ll push you to see it their way.
That said, we believe whole life insurance is an excellent choice for the right person.
Who’s a Good Fit for Whole Life?
Here are some people who might be a good fit.
A savvy investor – you’re ok with low returns in exchange for guaranteed interest in a safe environment
You can easily afford the premiums long term
or in several business life insurance situations, such as executive compensation
Of course, you should also have an actual need for life insurance coverage.
If you’re looking for affordable lifetime coverage, look no further than universal life insurance.
At Huntley Wealth, we’re not big fans of using life insurance policies as investment vehicles, so we don’t get wrapped up in comparing universal life to your 401K or IRA, or talk about variable universal life or equity indexed UL either.
The cheapest way to guarantee level premiums to ages 90, 95, or 100.
Traditional Universal Life vs. Guaranteed Universal Life
When you pay a universal life premium, some goes toward paying your cost of insurance and the rest builds in a cash value account.
That means traditional universal life insurance policies may not provide lifetime coverage.
… even if you pay your premium on time, every time.
That’s because as you get older, if insurance costs rise, or the cash value component of your UL policy doesn’t perform as it was expected to, you could run out of cash.
That means the company would send you a letter asking for more premium or your policy could lapse.
The Secret is the “No Lapse Guarantee”
The trick is to ONLY buy a universal life policy with a “no lapse guarantee” rider, or some companies call it a “guaranteed no lapse” rider, or “coverage protection guarantee.”
Essentially this says that as long as you pay your premiums on time, it doesn’t matter what the cash value is in your policy…
Your policy will remain in force with no additional premiums needed.
Even if the cash value is zero.
We call this “guaranteed universal life.”
Best Guaranteed Universal Life Companies
The top 5 companies who consistently have the best rates for guaranteed universal life are:
Sample UL Rates
Here are sample rates for a 40 year old male. Premiums are annual. Premiums are guaranteed to stay level/fixed until the age specified below.
Final expense policies are quick and easy to purchase.
They don’t require an exam, and are a great choice for seniors over age 65 who need a small policy (typically $50,000 or less).
$40,000 of Final Expense Coverage (Up to Age 85)
Our #1 recommended company is Mutual of Omaha for Final Expense life insurance.
Their plan, the “Living Promise”, provides a level death benefit which is immediately available upon death (No 2 year waiting period).
They allow up to $40,000 of coverage and provide coverage *up to age 85.
Here’s the brutal truth about the top 10 best “rated” life insurance companies:
“Financial Ratings” are deceptive.
Should you pay double or triple for a highly rated company? Consider the following:
Insurance for Insurance Companies
Did you know every state has a “state guarantee association” that provides millions in aid to a struggling life insurance company to avoid it going belly up?
Even more impressive, is if the company does become insolvent, the state guarantee association (*in most states) steps in and provides up to $300,000 of life insurance benefits per individual policy.
In other words, there is little to worry about when selecting an A rated company (see our top picks) with an excellent price, and in most cases, there is no reason to pay double or triple for a company like Northwestern Mutual or New York Life simply because they have a solid financial reputation.
Second, best rating does NOT equal lowest price, best service, or most lenient on health issues.
The company is financially strong.
So when you look at the highest rated life insurance companies list for 2017 below, it’s important you keep two things in mind:
At Huntley Wealth we use over 40 different life insurance companies to pinpoint the most suitable policy based on your age, health and many other underwriting criteria.
All the insurers we use, have their own strengths geared towards individual needs and circumstances as each person has unique insurance needs.
To help you make a good decision for your family, we are offering our top 10 picks for life insurers with corresponding reasoning based on the following criteria so that you can target the best life insurance policy in 2017:
• Underwriting Leniency
The above listed criteria will vary, as each company has its own particular points where they shine.
A higher ranked company may provide policies which are slightly more expensive than a lower ranked company, but may excel when it comes to its underwriting guidelines for health issues for example.
Besides these 10, only 2 others currently hold A++ ratings by A.M. Best.
Knights of Columbus also has an A++ rating but with a “negative” outlook, so it didn’t make the list. General Re Life Corp also has A++ but is re-insurance company rather than an insurance company selling to consumers, so I didn’t add that one either.
After removing the subsidiaries, that leaves us with only 10 life insurance companies.
I would be very careful dealing with Mass Mutual, NY Life, Northwestern Mutual, or State Farm.
While these insurance giants are well known, and A++ rated, they are also typically among the most expensive and not very forgiving when it comes to health concerns!
You’d do much better choosing from our top 10 company list below.
Our Top Life Insurance Company Picks – “Huntdex” Score
At Huntley Wealth, we realize you can’t just judge an insurance company by their A.M. Best, Comdex, or S&P rating.
Perhaps even more important is their:
Pricing (who has the lowest rates across the board?)
Underwriting Leniency (how forgiving are they of health concerns?)
We’ve ranked our top 10 life insurance companies by assigning them a score of 1-10, with 10 being the best, in the categories of pricing, financial strength, and underwriting leniency. We’ve combined the 3 giving each one equal weight to come up with their Huntdex score.
Here is our selection of 2017’s Top 10 Life Insurance Companies:
Banner Life Insurance: 27
Prudential Life Insurance: 26
Protective Life Insurance: 26
Transamerica Life Insurance: 24
What follows is a breakdown of how each company above scored in the areas of ratings, pricing, and underwriting leniency, the 3 factors we weighed to arrive at the Huntdex Score.
More About Our Top Companies
Banner is our most recommended company. They began in the United Kingdom in 1836 and is owned by Legal and General. The company operates in 49 states under the name “William Penn” in the state of New York.
Banner has been given an A+ financial rating by A.M. Best, with a “stable” outlook. This means that Banner is an exceptional and financially stable company. They currently rank 8th among the U.S. term life marketplace, as measured by term life annualized new business premiums for 2015. You can feel very confident that the company will meet all its financial obligations when it comes to paying out claims.
Underwriting Leniency – 9
Banner is a remarkable company when it comes to approving individuals with health issues, that many other insurers won’t consider. Not only is the company one of the most lenient, it also provides some the most competitive rates for those with certain health issues.
On several occasions we’ve gotten a standard rating from Banner for diabetics when other companies were quoting a 50% to 100% higher rate. They’ve come through for us in some special epilepsy cases, where we’ve seen them approve at preferred rates where others would price the risk twice as high or even decline.
One of our favorite uses for Banner life is when an applicant’s parent has been diagnosed with (or died from) cancer. 99% of companies penalize you for that. However, Banner only reduces your rate for family history if your parents had heart disease, such as coronary artery disease (CAD), NOT cancer.
They’re definitely our all-around #1 favorite.
2. Prudential Life Insurance
We featured Prudential above as our top carrier for insuring people with pre-existing conditions. Please see that review here.
Protective Life Insurance was founded in 1907 and is based in Birmingham, Alabama. The company operates in all 50 states. Protective was featured in 2012 in the Forbes Global 2000 and Fortune 1000 lists.
Protective is exceptionally competitive when it comes to pricing and has some of the least expensive products for those who are 50 years of age or older . It also has one the best prices when it comes to Guaranteed Universal Life, and can lock in prices up to age 90.
Protective has also been granted a superior rating of A+ by A.M. Best, due to the company’s overall and solid financial strength. The company currently has over $357 billion in life insurance and has over $70 billion in assets.
Protective has some of the most lenient underwriting policies when it comes to seniors, moving violations, smokers and stay-at-home spouses. Additionally, the company is considered to be the number 1 option when it comes to individuals who have a history of heart disease, and is very liberal when it comes to cholesterol levels.
Transamerica was originally founded in 1928 and is based in Cedar Rapids in Iowa. The company has grown to become one of the top ranked life insurers in the U.S. and is part of the AEGON group of companies, which is considered to be one of the largest insurance organizations globally.
Pricing – 8
Transamerica is exceptionally competitive when it comes to pricing and has some of the least expensive products for those who are 71 years of age or older . The rates for Term insurance are also considered very competitive.
A.M. Best has also provided Transamerica with a superior rating of A+ which makes it a solid and financially stable company. Transamerica presently has as much as 3% of the total market share for life insurance, which means for every 100 policies sold, 3 people will have purchased their insurance through this established and solid company. As of 2013, they have $1.133 billion dollars of life insurance in force.
While all companies in our top 10 list of best insurance carriers hold an “A” rating by A.M. Best, we’ve assigned an “8” to Transamerica for financial strength since their current outlook with A.M. Best is listed as “negative.” That means they could possibly drop to an “A” rating soon.
Transamerica has some of the most highly regarded underwriting policies as they apply to seniors, and has very liberal guidelines for those who are ages 71 and older. It also very lenient when it comes to those with certain health issues such as high cholesterol, hepatitis C and schizophrenia.
American General was founded in 1919 and is the life insurance division of AIG or American International Group. American General is considered to be one of the world’s largest insurance companies and has over 88 million customers.
American General has very competitive rates and is our company of choicewhen it comes to particular health issues, as the company is much less strict especially when it comes to approving Term life insurance policies.
In a recent case, we took an individual to American General with a pacemaker. He got a slightly substandard approval from AG, same as what he would have gotten with most of our carriers, but since American General’s “special case” pricing is so low, they blew away the rates at the other companies!
American General has been rated by A.M. Best as having an “A” rating (excellent) which means that the company is very financially secure and has the ability to honor all its claims. For a short time, A.M. Best was reviewing American General considering a lower rating, but they recently affirmed the “A” rating and removed the review of negative implications.
American General has some of the most lenient underwriting requirements for those between the ages of 18 – 66. It is also very liberal when it comes to cigar smokers, and is flexible with those who have certain health issues, in particular those who have Type 2 diabetes. It is also one of the go-to companies when it comes to providing policies for private pilots and foreign travelers.
VOYA was formerly known as ING, but separated from its parent company ING Group and re-branded itself as VOYA in 2014 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
VOYA also has very competitive rates, particularly when it comes to certain Term policies. VOYA isn’t always the most competitive when it comes to pricing, but it is still so close to its competitors that we had to include the company in our top picks.
VOYA also has a very solid financial base, as the company has been given an A rating by A.M. Best, which means that it is financially sound and reliable.
VOYA is one of the very few companies that do not ask applicants if they have a family history of cancer, which can impact your rating. VOYA also has very lenient underwriting policies when it comes to those with blood pressure issues, especially for older applicants age 61 and up. It is also more liberal for those who have higher cholesterol levels.
However, it’s not quite as good at underwriting as Banner or Prudential, which is why we give them a 7.
SBLI was founded in 1907 and is presently located in Woburn, MA. The company operates in all sates, with the exclusion of New York and Montana. Although the products they offer vary from region to region, the majority of its products are available in all states in which they operate.
SBLI has some of the most affordable term rates available and provides term products for up to 30 years, with its strongest product being the guaranteed level term policy. They rank consistently in the top ten for the most affordable term products and often in the top 5.
SBLI is a very financially stable company and has been rated by A.M. Best has having a Superior A+ rating.
Although SBLI is excellent when it comes to providing lower rates, they are more stringent when it comes to certain health issues, such as for those who have diabetes. They can also be somewhat strict with their underwriting policies on many other heath issues, so it can be difficult to get their top rates, which are why they rank a little lower on our top 10 list.
SAGICOR began as SAGICOR Financial Corporation in 1840. It provides both insurance and annuity products in over 22 countries. It operates as a publicly traded company and currently has assets of over $5.78 billion and operates in 45 states including the District of Columbia.
Pricing – 7
SAGICOR has some most affordable term rates available and provides term products for up to 30 years with its strongest product being the guaranteed level term policy.
Financial Ratings – 7
SAGICOR is a solid company, but is not rated as high as other competitors, because it was ranked A- by A.M. Best. Don’t be dismayed, this is still considered a solid rating and the company is very finically sound.
Underwriting Leniency – 7
One of the main products that we prefer, and for which SAGICOR excels above the rest, are their Non-Medical Life insurance policies. This is our go to company for many clients who prefer a non-medical life insurance policy. Their underwriters are easy to work with and they excel for those with specific needs.
MetLife or Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. can trace its origins back to 1863 and is firmly established throughout the world, serving approximately 100 million clients. A review of it assets in 2014 shows that it has nearly $475 billion worth of assets and is very established and one of the most recognized names in the life insurance industry.
MetLife prices are somewhat higher than many of the other top 10 competitors on our list. This is why we ranked it lower, as their products tend to cost more.
MetLife has an especially strong financial footing and stellar position when it comes to financial ratings as it has been given a superior rating by A.M. Best of A++ so you know there are no issues with this company.
The good thing about MetLife is their underwriting is relatively lenient which is one of the main reasons we like this company. It is much more flexible than many other insurers when it comes to its underwriting policies for a variety of health issues.
Principal was founded over 135 years ago and has an established reputation in the insurance industry. The company provides their service in over 18 countries and its parent company (Principal Financial Group) is listed as a Fortune 500 company.
We especially like Principal for No-Medical exam life insurance policies as they provide some of the lowest quotes in the industry. Prices tend to be not much higher than what they charge for policies which do require an exam. That being said, they are bit pricier than other companies for policies which do require an exam.
Being part of a Fortune 500 company you can rest comfortably assured that Principal has a very solid financial footing and has been rated by A.M. Best as having an A+ or Excellent rating.
Principal provides great rates and relatively easy guidelines for healthy individuals but they can be a bit stricter than other companies when it comes to underwriting policies for those who have health issues. It is also one of the very few companies which can provide up to $1 million for a No-Medical exam policy, and has very fast turnaround period when it comes to processing an application.
When we sought out to find the best overall priced life insurance company, we decided it wasn’t fair to select companies based on their 10 year term life insurance policies only, or their 20 year only.
We didn’t think it was fair to single out a particular age or amount either.
Companies can easily place themselves as the #1 priced carrier for a particular amount, age, and term length, but then they might be the 5th or 10th or 20th best for pricing at other amounts, ages, and term lengths.
That’s why we took the following into consideration to come up with our overall list of the best priced companies overall:
Term Lengths – We used rates from 10 year and 20 year term for all of the above
The Overall Best Priced Companies Considering All These Factors
Here are the rankings from 1 to 21. Please understand some companies we represent are not present, and we are not contracted with all companies on the list. (See more…)
What most people do is respond to a flyer in the mail from their bank offering them a policy that will pay off their mortgage balance if they die.
One of the big problems is the benefit shrinks as the mortgage shrinks.
That would be fine if it was cheaper than a policy with a fixed death benefit, but usually, that’s not the case.
Mortgage Life Insurance Ripoff Example
In other words, a mortgage life insurance policy that starts off at $500,000, and the next year goes to $498K, then the next year goes to $496K, and so on, typically costs more than a 30 year term for $500,000.
Did you know you save even more money by purchasing a policy with:
a 20 year term (with declining death benefit thereafter)
and a higher death benefit than your mortgage
Protective has a term plan called Custom Choice UL which allows you to buy more coverage than your mortgage for 20 years.
Since it’s a 20 year term, it’s cheaper than the 30 year term.
You just add about 30% to your mortgage and that’s the amount you need.
According to the American Council of Life Insurers, life insurance companies paid out $68 Billion dollars in life insurance benefits in 2014.
However, approximately 5,000 death claims are contested or denied every year.
This is a difficult question to answer with statistics.
Claim Settlement Ratios by Company
In the United States, companies are not required to publish their “pay out” rate.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we knew the % of time each company paid out, like the following chart?
What you see above is the “Claims Settlement Ratios” of some of the top life insurance companies in India.
(This is required of Indian insurance companies.)
Overall, life insurance companies pay out 97% of the time in India.
… and I have reason to believe it’s approximately the same in the U.S., as they have similar “fine print” in their contracts such as a 2 year contestability period and suicide clause.
Unfortunately, in the U.S., only a handful of companies post the amount they pay out. (For most it’s millions, or even billions per year)
So with no clear number to point to, the only time we tend to hear about a company not paying out is when it makes the news.
For example, here are a few I’ve read about recently:
My Favorite Company for Payouts
One company I don’t ever see in the news for contested or failed payouts is Transamerica.
A friend and associate of ours also recently shared this story about a client of his who was in his mid-late 30s, when he purchased 3 Transamerica life insurance policies within 2 years, which meant all of the policies were still in their contestability period.
The story that I was told is, one day he is biking & a driver hit him. I don’t know much in detail, but he died because of that accident.
My associate shared with me that he was also diagnosed with depression, so that might cause for the policy to not pay out. (Sometimes, during an insurance investigation, if the company finds out the applicant lied on his/her application to be approved for coverage, their claim can be denied.)
However, after investigation, Transamerica still paid to his family $2M…plus interest!
Here’s the letter they sent his spouse:
Many life insurance companies go above and beyond in the community.
A few who we’ll give honorable mention to:
But our favorite two charitable companies are Mass Mutual and Foresters.
Not only is Foresters one of our go-to no exam companies, with a quick and easy process for buying life insurance, but they also have one of the most unique charitable arrangements we’ve seen.
For every death benefit they pay out, 1% of the death benefit goes to the charity of the policyholder’s choosing.
The cool thing is the gift is made in the name of the deceased, meaning his/her estate may be able to use the gift as a tax deduction.
Besides this, Foresters spends millions per year in scholarships and community initiatives.
Mass Mutual (You Won’t Believe What They Do)
Mass Mutual does so many things right…
Besides being one of only a handful of A++ rated companies in the U.S. (as rated by A.M. Best), they also founded one of our favorite term life insurance companies, Haven Life, who offers lightning fast approvals without an exam.
When it comes to charity, they do something you’ve likely never seen before.
Mass Mutual offers the program to individuals between the ages of 19 to 42 with a household income of $10,000 to $40,000 where they provide free 10 year term policies for $50,000, issued and paid for by Mass Mutual.
Mass Mutual has issued more than 13,600 of these policies since 2002 with close to a billion in death benefits.
The Huntley Wealth Care Scholarship
We are by no means as big as Foresters or Mass Mutual, but we at Huntley Wealth are giving back through our Huntley Wealth Care Scholarship.
This scholarship is for students in college (or entering college) who have lost a parent who was uninsured (or underinsured).
Through the Fall of 2017, so far three students have won the scholarship, winning a total of $4,000.