Ben Todd | Jun 2, 2017 | 1
Biggest Life Insurance Companies
When we talk about big, we mean big…the life insurance companies reviewed in this article are frighteningly big. They have billions upon billions in assets and they have enough quarterly net profit to build a spaceship to Mars to transport old people over there for a float around the red planet. These are massive companies that serve people in the USA, that have millions of customers, and that pay out millions in life insurance pay outs every month. Here is our review of the biggest life insurance companies.
Life Insurance Scores And What They Mean
When you read articles such as this one about the biggest life insurance companies, you often see things about life insurance scores. This are scores given to life insurance companies by ratings companies.
- They are similar to Michelin Stars ratings for restaurants
- Similar to credit scores that people have
- A bit like Rotten Tomatoes* and IMDb scores for movies
*For the record, if a movie is made outside of the USA, especially in Australia, New Zealand or the Middle East, the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes are artificially increased. That is except for Warner Bros movies which are ranked without being altered. I know so because I and my former consultancy colleagues helped write the aggregate ranking system.
Certain companies take the time to rank or score life insurance companies. A very similar thing happens with your credit score. There are companies such as Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, that give you a credit score, and there are companies that give life insurance companies a score. The companies that are popular for rating life insurance companies are:
- A.M. Best
- Standard & Poor’s
Credit card companies will often look at your credit score before deciding if they should issue you with a card. The four companies listed above allow you to look at an insurance company’s score before deciding to buy life insurance. The only problem is that each company seems to rank in a different way. They all use letters and such, but each seems to mean a different thing. To give you an idea of how it works, here is an image that explains their scoring system.
In this article, you will see the scores that these four ranking companies have given to the life insurance companies we have reviewed. I have mentioned the ranking scores of each life insurance company because most other articles have done the same. However, I would like you to make your own decision as to which you choose. Make your decision based on your own experience, knowledge and comparative shopping skills.
Comparing Life Insurance Ratings To Movie Ratings
Use your own knowledge and expertise when picking which life insurance company to choose. Allow me to compare the process to the process of picking a movie to watch.
I see on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb that the movie “Boss Baby” has great reviews. However, under further investigation I see that it stars the washed up actress Lisa Kudrow. It also stars Alec Baldwin, who is the dull witted publicity hog who has not done a good movie since Glen Gary Glen Ross (damn, that was a good movie). I watched the trailer for Boss Baby and saw that the entire movie is based on a joke that Family Guy have been doing for years with their criminally insane-but-genius baby called Stewie.
Despite the fact that two of the most popular movie-rating websites says that Boss Baby is a good movie, I had figured that it was probably a steamy pile of horse dung. After seeing a few scenes from Boss Baby as my nephew watched it last week, I can confirm that Boss Baby sucks. The review ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb says it doesn’t, but it really does suck.
Where Am I Going With This Mishegoss?
My point is that scores are only a small part of your decision making process. If you see a high score, don’t immediately assume it is the best. In addition, if you see a low score, try to figure out why a score has been given and do not take what you see at face value.
In addition, a little earlier in this article I added a picture of a baby, and mentioned the word “Baby” a few times too. I did this because life insurance companies love adding pictures and mentions of babies into their marketing. It makes you think of life and death and what you are leaving behind for your kids, so they ram kids and babies down your throat with the hopes you will buy their life insurance.
Not to push the point, but nobody is buying life insurance for kids. There are kids on diaper adverts because babies wear them, but nobody is buying life insurance for their toddlers. Yet, each life insurance company listed on this article has kids and babies on its website. They do it because it manipulates you into buying something such as life insurance. Take a look at the screenshots we have added to this article and play a game of “Spot the baby or toddler.”
The Biggest Life Insurance Companies
Our list of the biggest life insurance companies is written with the aim of finding the biggest and the best life insurance companies. For that reason, be aware that we have missed out quite a few of the largest life insurance companies because we didn’t consider them to be among the best life insurance companies. Additionally, we have only focused on large life insurance companies, so there is a chance you may find a smaller life insurance company that suits your requirements more fully than the life insurance companies we have mentioned here.
- A++ from A.M. Best
- AA+ from Standard & Poor’s
- Aa2 from Moody’s
- AA+ from Fitch
The Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) is a very large life insurance company that has seen a lot of growth over the last few years. Their total adjusted capital has grown to $17 billion, which is the highest the company has ever seen. MassMutual maintains a 3.82% market share in the USA. The company has over five million clients.
MassMutual offers whole life insurance, term life insurance, guaranteed acceptance life insurance, universal life insurance and variable universal life insurance. There is plenty of choice if you choose MassMutual. There is a life insurance calculator you may use on their website, and there is a section for businesses and professionals too.
MassMutual is a very big company and it is getting bigger. In 2017, the company hired 4000 more staff members and it is still growing. It may one day be the biggest life insurance provider in the USA. Their customer service is attentive, but not always the most reliable. You can exploit the fact that their customer support staff are attentive and keen by ringing up again if you do not get the answer or solution you want and trying another staff member to see if his or she will come through for you.
I saw a bunch of fake reviews for MassMutual on a website called “pissedconsumer.com.” I know a fake when I see reviews because I wrote hundreds during my early writing years. Quite why this website has a grudge against MassMutual is unclear, but you shouldn’t believe everything you read. I have added a link to the Better Business Bureau at the end of MassMutual’s review so that you may see a few legitimate (mostly legitimate) user reviews.
More Riders Than A Clint Eastwood Movie
Clint Eastwood is a great actor who became famous for his vigilante roles in western movies. A life insurance rider is what we call an optional provision. An optional provision allows a buyer to tailor a standard policy. People add policy riders to tailor a policy for their own needs. Riders are good things because they give the consumer more control and they give insurance companies less opportunity to give their customers the shaft.
MassMutual has a nice selection of riders that you may add onto your policy. They will charge you extra for them, but these riders give you extra protection and extra benefits. The key is to pick the ones that suit you the best. For example, if you are a keen motorcyclist, or if you genuinely believe that Pitbulls like having their eyes poked, then you may like to add a sudden-death rider that pays out extra money if you die from a life-ending accident.
Another example is if cancer seems to run in your family, you may like to take out a terminal illness rider that allows you early access to your death benefit in order to offset your end-of-life healthcare costs.
Just be careful when you sign up for life insurance and its riders because the wording alone is enough to make my butt cheeks clench. For example, take the last example I gave you with, “ …allows you early access to your death benefit in order to offset your end-of-life healthcare costs.”
Two things would hit me right away about the wording. It suggests that if I am diagnosed with a typically killer disease such as cancer, but I am not diagnosed as terminal, then I may not use my life insurance policy to help pay for the medical expenses. Secondly, if they do allow me to use the money for my medical expenses and I do not die, then it suggests I would forfeit the money I still have left in the policy that I paid in. All of this is just conjecture at this stage because I would have to read the small print of each policy to learn the truth. All I am saying is that you should be careful and make sure you fully understand each policy and each rider before you sign up for it.
They are not a terrible company, but you may want to look at their complaints from the MassMutual insurance company – Better Business Bureau page.
- A+ from A.M. Best
- AA- from Standard & Poor’s
- A1 from Moody’s
- A+ from Fitch
The Lincoln Financial Group is a very large life insurance company and it currently holds a 4.98% share of the US life insurance market. On average, the company has total assets of around $226, and they have a net income of $467 million per quarter.
The company offers variable universal life insurance, term life insurance and universal life insurance. On the Lincoln Financial Group website, you are able to find a chart that allows you to compare the three types of insurance that they offer. They also have a tool you may use to calculate how much cover you should have.
If you use the life insurance calculator, you have to enter a series of figures showing how much you earn, how much you need right now, your long-term income needs and so forth. It is not the sort of calculator that you can use with figures off the top of your head. Before you even consider life insurance, you may wish to get your accounts in order and go through the calculator’s questions one by one. Even if you do not choose the Lincoln Financial Group for your life insurance, you should probably go through the budgeting exercise because you are going to need these figures when you do choose your life insurance company.
Lincoln Financial Group Doesn’t Explain Itself Very Well
The website asks you to choose the life insurance policy that suits you the best, but they do not explain themselves very well on the website. For example, there is a line that says, “Guaranteed income tax-free death benefit.” Most people may understand what a tax free benefit is, but being worded as a guaranteed benefit makes no sense to a novice because why wouldn’t it be guaranteed with a life insurance policy? In addition, the word “income” also makes things confusing.
Maybe I have not made my point, so allow me to try again. Here are a few lines from the Lincoln Financial Group website that I find are confusing for the sake of being confusing, or are difficult to understand for people who are not in the life insurance business.
- “Highly competitive rates for people ages 50 and under with face amounts of $500,000 or less”
- Opportunity for no lab work if you qualify
- Cash value growth potential based on the performance of your policy’s allocations
Should You Consider The Lincoln Financial Group?
In my opinion only, I think you should consider them if you are not looking to sit back and let the group handle everything. If you want to get the most out of this company, and/or if you want a happy ending, then you need to be very hands on. You need to keep abreast of current developments, and you need to log into your account every month or two to check to see if all is going well. For example, you need to check to see if your premium has gone up.
If you need to contact the customer service department, then you are going to have a rough time because they are crap. If you have a problem or an issue that needs resolving, then you need to hound them and keep going until you get what you want. They are not a terrible company, but you may want to look at their complaints from the Lincoln Financial Group – Better Business Bureau page.
I am not saying that the Lincoln Financial Group is a bad option for your life insurance needs. In fact, with such a large share of the life insurance market, it is astounding that they have as few as 63 complaints on the Better Business Bureau.
- A from A.M. Best
- A+ from Standard & Poor’s
- A3 from Moody’s
- A+ from Fitch
Metlife holds a whopping 5.26% of the market share, and it has an excellent financial standing. It is also a globally competitive business that offers three forms of life insurance coverage. Metlife offers term life insurance, whole life insurance and universal life insurance. Some of their policies will cover you up to the age of 95 years old. When dealing with life insurance only, Metlife is the biggest insurer in the USA.
The company has well over 730 billion dollars in assets, and they employ over 60,000 people. It is still a big company, but it has lost a lot of ground to MassMutual (and others) because of its actions during the last 10 years. It was one of those companies that took advantage of the FHA insurance program when giving out mortgages and then it left the US taxpayers with the bill when the mortgages defaulted. Also, in 2014 Metlife had to pay out $23 million in fines because they had been junk faxing people. I didn’t even know junk faxes were a thing.
As you can see by the image above, Metlife does a better job of explaining itself than companies such as Lincoln Financial Group.
Why Does Metlife Have So Many Negative Reviews
It is often difficult to find any form of review about a life insurance company, but there are quite a few negative reviews about Metlife on the Internet and on the Better Business Bureau website (see the image and link further down the page). There are two reasons why Metlife seems to have a disproportionately high number of negative reviews.
Oddly enough, it is not because the company is a bad one. I am not saying it is perfect, and the way the company has shafted the tax payer is disgraceful, but these are not the reasons why the company has a disproportionately high number of negative reviews.
The first reason for the disproportionately high number of negative reviews is because the company also offers dental insurance, disability insurance, auto insurance, and so on. The second reason is because MetLife is the biggest life insurance company in the country, which means it has a higher number of customers. Even if their number of complaints is a fraction of a percent, it still represents a lot of people.
Metlife Is A Pricey Company
Metlife is not a discount life insurance company. If you want a policy with Metlife, then be prepared to pay a little more than you would with its competition. They justify their slightly higher fees with arguments that they are a financially strong company that is less likely to go out of business and/or mismanage in a way that damages its customers. Personally, I only find that to be a good argument when the Democrats are in power because I know they will hand out taxpayer money to Metlife again if it gets in trouble. If a Republican were in power, he or she may not be so eager to hand over tax payer money, which would be great for the tax payer and the country–but not so great for Metlife customers. Ironically, their customer’s shock at finding out their policy is worthless would probably kill them.
I have noticed that Metlife life insurance seems to benefit people in the military because they seem to get the best deals. You may also get a good deal if you have type one or two diabetes, if you have high blood pressure, and if you are slightly overweight. I don’t really care for their policies for marijuana users, but I doubt it will last a long time for two reasons. The first reason is that most marijuana users think that smoking it will cure all diseases, so why bother with health and life insurance if you are going to live forever. The second reason is because pot heads are notorious for forgetting to pay their premiums, so Metlife’s marijuana smoker’s insurance probably won’t be around for very long.
They are not a terrible company, but you may want to look at their complaints from the Metlife – Better Business Bureau page.
Conclusion – Can You Trust User Reviews With Life Insurance Companies
When searching for car insurance, home insurance, health insurance, and things of that nature, you can often go online and look for user reviews. You can see what other people have written about the company and what other people think about the insurance company. However, you don’t find as many user reviews about life insurance companies because usually it is the person who died who took out the policy. I do recommend that you take a good hard look for user reviews prior to making your decision. I also suggest that you read articles such as this one, and that you fully explore the company’s website. If the website doesn’t make you feel more comfortable about taking out a policy with that company, such as if it has confusing text and explanations, then return the life insurance company to your short list and keep looking for alternatives.