Life Insurance: Ratings of Sources
Total of 12 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
Strongest and Weakest Lists
by Editors of Weiss Ratings
Our AssessmentWeiss Ratings is one of five agencies that rate life insurance companies' financial health. It earns a small nod over the others as an independent analysis reports that Weiss's ratings are the most stringent. Weiss posts a list of the financially weakest (ratings of D+ or lower) and strongest (B+ or higher) life insurers. Strong well-known companies include State Farm, Massachusetts Mutual, Northwestern Mutual, and American Family. Conseco and its Colonial Penn subsidiary make the weak list. You need to register to see the lists, but that's free.
Consumer Information Source
by Editors of National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Our AssessmentThe National Association of Insurance Commissioners collects the complaints people file with their state insurance offices into this searchable online database. You can look up a life insurance company you're considering to find out whether it gets a lot of complaints for its size, and you can get the company's financial profile.
Check Out a Business or Charity
by Editors of the Better Business Bureau
Our AssessmentThe Better Business Bureau grades companies based on how they handle customer complaints. Local BBBs award their own grades, and a given company may get an A in one state and a C in another -- which reflects real-life variations in customer service, according to other experts. Several of the companies that earn top ratings from our other sources also earn the BBB's highest A+ rating at their headquarters location. There are no lists of best or worst life insurance companies, however; instead you have to search for each individually.
Standing the Test of Time
by Editors of Best's Review magazine
Our AssessmentA.M. Best is a ratings agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from A++ to D, based on financial strength (although those grades are lenient, according to a May 2009 ConsumerReports.org analysis). This report names 14 life/health insurers that have maintained an A.M. Best rating of A or higher for 75 years and 23 that have done it for 50 years. Of those, nine hold A.M. Best's highest rating, including major carriers State Farm, Northwestern Mutual, Massachusetts Mutual and New York Life.
Insurance Financial Strength Ratings
by Editors of Moody's
Our AssessmentMoody's is another agency that rates insurance companies' financial strength. This lengthy list includes the latest ratings for many insurers, but only three U.S. life insurers achieve Moody's highest rating of Aaa: New York Life, Northwestern Mutual and TIAA-CREF. Like most rating sites, free registration is required.
by Editors of Fitch Ratings
Our AssessmentAnother ratings agency, Fitch Ratings, comes up with the same results as Moody's: New York Life, Northwestern Mutual and TIAA-CREF all earn Fitch's highest financial stability rating of AAA. This sortable list makes it easy to see which companies rate highest or lowest, but free registration is required first.
Insurance Rating List: Life
by Editors of Standard & Poor's
Our AssessmentUnlike the other ratings agencies, Standard & Poor's doesn't put out a list of the most financially secure insurance companies or allow you to sort its ratings list to find them. It does rate most insurance companies, but you have to look them up individually once you've created a free account. Most of the insurers that get good ratings from other sources earn an AA or AA+ rating here, but New York Life, Northwestern Mutual and TIAA-CREF do earn S&P's highest rating of AAA for financial strength.
The Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America
by American Association for Justice
Our AssessmentThis trial lawyers' group (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) names America's 10 worst insurance companies based on "thousands of court documents, SEC and FBI records, state insurance department investigations and complaints, news accounts from across the country, and the testimony and depositions of former insurance agents and adjusters." Although the report isn't dated, it cites sources from as late as June 2008. The anecdotes about insurance companies' are compelling, but this report doesn't name any good companies. Eight life insurers make the list of worst companies: Allstate, Unum, AIG, State Farm, Conseco, Farmers, Torchmark and Liberty Mutual. Inclusion in the article is based on all categories of insurance, including life insurance, but it also includes homeowners and auto insurance.
Insurance Company Reviews
by Contributors to FreeAdvice.com
Our AssessmentThis website collects customer reviews on many insurance companies. Some big companies get hundreds of reviews. The website creates charts for each company, so it's easy to see what proportion of customers is pleased (or not pleased) with it. Although people who post here are usually people who have something to complain about, it's useful to see whether any patterns emerge.
by Contributors to ConsumerAffairs.com
Our AssessmentConsumer complaints are neatly sorted by life insurance company here. Lawyers review the complaints and contact the complainant if they think the case has merit (posters can opt out of this) -- and the site's ties to lawyers have earned it some criticism of its own. Thirteen companies have received complaints, including well-known names like AARP, AIG, Allstate, Amica, Hartford, John Hancock, Met Life, Prudential and Travelers.
Health and Life Insurance Complaints
by Contributors to ComplaintsBoard.com
Our AssessmentThis consumer-complaint website doesn't sort the complaints for you -- you have to search by company, so it's most helpful if you already have a specific life insurance company in mind. As with all such sites, the complaints haven't been verified, though patterns do emerge: The top-rated company in other reviews, Northwestern Mutual, gets almost no complaints, but we found plenty of complaints here for Conseco, which gets low reviews elsewhere.
FBIC Ranking 100
by Editors of Fight Bad-Faith Insurance Companies
Our AssessmentThis website doesn't give a street address or identify who runs it, apart from a statement saying it was formed by a "cross section" of individuals who "have or had legitimate claims that were denied by bad faith insurers." It ranks 50 Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame insurance companies -- based, it says, on state department of insurance complaint ratios, customer surveys, court information and "exclusive and proprietary" information. Two of the site's top-rated companies -- Allianz and Amica -- sell life insurance.