Largest Life Insurance Companies

    The Largest Life Insurance Companies: 8 Insurers You Can Trust

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    When looking for a life insurance company, you want to find one that you can really trust! After all, when you pass on, you will depend on them to keep your spouse, children, or parents financially stable in your absence. It just makes sense to look for the top performers in the life insurance business – often, these are the biggest largest insurance companies. 

    Keep reading for an overview of the 8 largest life insurance companies in 2021. This list of the largest life insurance companies is based on a report by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which takes into account a company’s market share, how much they’ve made on written life insurance premiums, and their financial strength ratings.

    1. Northwestern Mutual

    Life insurance market share: 6.48%

    Direct premiums written: $11,278,801,822

    A.M Best rating: A++

    BBB Rating: A+

    Company Overview: Northwestern Mutual was established in 1859 in the state of Wisconsin. Today, the mutual company stands as one of the largest life insurance companies in the US, with over 4.5 million clients. The company expects to pay $6.2 billion in dividends in 2021.

    Northwestern Mutual offers whole, term, and universal life insurance, along with disability insurance, long-term care insurance policies, and annuities.


    • Northwestern Mutual has excellent financial strength, with an A++ rating from A.M. Best and similar ratings from Fitch, Moody’s, and S&P.


    • Customers can’t apply to Northwestern Mutual online. To apply, you must contact the insurer directly.
    • Unlike some of the other life insurance companies on this list, Northwestern Mutual does not offer guaranteed issue or final expense insurance, meaning that medical exams are required for all policies.

    2. New York Life

    Market share: 6.35%

    Direct premiums written: $11,053,776,227

    A.M Best rating: A++

    BBB Rating: A+

    Company Overview: New York Life is a 175-year old mutual life insurance company that offers term, whole universal, and variable universal insurance, along with long-term care insurance, investment options, asset management services, and retirement plan services. 

    By 2019, New York Life was known as the #1 mutual life insurance company in the United States and one of the largest life insurance companies in the country.


    • New York Life assigns applicants to a financial service professional who can offer a personalized solution to their finance needs.
    • They offer long-term care insurance products through the accelerated death benefit rider option, which allows policyholders to access a portion of their death benefits to cover care for certain chronic conditions.


    • New York Life is one of those life insurance companies that does not offer quotes or online applications for any of their policies.
    • Medical exams are required for all New York Life policies.
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    3. MetLife

    Market share: 6.19%

    Direct written premiums: $10,767,180,668

    A.M Best rating: A+ 

    BBB rating: A-

    Company Overview: MetLife was established in 1868 with the goal of “providing working-class Americans with financial protection”. The global life insurance company now has 49,000 employees in over 40 countries and stands as one of the largest life insurance companies in the United States. MetLife offers health, life, home, legal, auto, and even pet insurance.

    When it comes to life insurance, MetLife offers group term, group variable universal, group universal, and accidental death and dismemberment policies.


    • MetLife’s policies are usually guaranteed issue, meaning that medical exams are not required.
    • MetLife offers a variety of riders that can enhance policies further.


    • This life insurance company only offers group insurance.

    4. Lincoln Financial

    Market share: 5.54%

    Direct written premiums: $9,651,117,072

    A.M Best Rating: A+

    BBB Rating: A+

    Company Overview: Named after former US president Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Financial Group was established in 1905. With a promise to uphold the virtues of the formidable leader, the financial and life insurance company has come to be known as one of the best life insurance providers in the United States. It reached $100 billion of life insurance in force by 1983, stamping itself as one of the largest life insurance companies in the United States even before the 21st century.

    The company offers a range of life insurance products, including term, universal, survivorship universal, indexed universal, and variable universal life insurance. 


    • Lincoln has a wide range of universal insurance options – excellent for those looking to build a sizable cash benefit from investments.
    • This is one of the few life insurance companies that can process term life insurance policies in less than a week. At best, applicants can expect to hear back regarding their applications in two days.


    • Unlike most life insurance insurance companies on this list, Lincoln does not provide whole life insurance
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    5. Prudential Financial

    Market share: 5.54%

    Direct written premiums: $9,642,360,389

    A.M Best Rating: A+

    BBB Rating: A

    Company Overview: Ranking 53rd on the Fortune 500 list with $4 trillion of gross life insurance in force globally, Prudential Financial has established itself as one of the most reliable life insurance companies in the United States.

    Prudential offers 11 different types of policies, including three-term, two universal, three indexed universal, and three variable universal life policies.


    • While it’s more common for life insurance premium costs to increase as applicants age, Prudential offers term policies that are cheaper than average for seniors.
    • Prudential also offers an accelerated underwriting program that benefits those who are healthy, are non-smokers, and have no personal or family history or conditions such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease.


    • Prudential does not offer guaranteed issue policies, meaning you have to either qualify for accelerated underwriting or undergo a medical exam to qualify.
    • Premium rates at Prudential are higher-than-average for those in their 20s and 30s.

    6. MassMutual

    Market share: 4.59%

    Direct written premiums: $7,984,470,423

    A.M Best Rating: A++

    BBB Rating: B-

    Company Overview: MassMutual was founded in 1851 with the mission of helping people secure their futures and protect their loved ones. The company supports vulnerable communities and provides free insurance policies to low-income families – all with the goal of helping students pay for their education.

    MassMutual offers the following types of life insurance: whole life insurance, term life insurance, universal life insurance, and variable universal life. 


    • One of the standout features of MassMutual is its Lifebridge Program, which provides free life insurance to low-income families. Very few companies offer this kind of program.
    • MassMutual also provides its policyholders with a mobile app where they can easily manage their policies.


    • Applying for a MassMutual life insurance policy can get confusing, as the website does not provide tools or comprehensive information on policies.
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    7. Transamerica (Aegon)

    Market share: 2.8%

    Direct written premiums: $4,868,457,551

    A.M Best Rating: A

    BBB Rating: A+

    Company Overview: Transamerica was founded in San Francisco in 1904. The company was acquired by one of the biggest life insurance and asset management companies in the world, Aegon, which led it to grow as a life insurance provider. Today, Aegon has more than 29 million customers globally. 

    Transamerica offers a wide array of life insurance products, including two-term life insurance policies, two whole life policies, two universal life policies, and three final expense insurance products that can be used to cover funeral services, cremation, and the like.


    • Transamerica offers final expense insurance, which can be used to plan a funeral, cover outstanding medical bills, pay for debts, and the like.
    • Unlike some of the other companies on this list, Transamerica offers a variety of options, including more than one type of term, whole, and universal life policy.


    • Transamerica does not provide much information on their riders and other add-ons.

    8. John Hancock

    Market share: 2.77%

    Direct written premium: $4,817,849,577

    A.M Best Rating: A+

    BBB Rating: A+

    Company Overview: This Boston-based financial company has been around since 1862 and is named after prominent patriot John Hancock. In 2015, the company became the first life insurance provider in the US to provide a wellness-based rewards program. 

    The Vitality Program is a benefits program that rewards policyholders with discounts on premium payments, fitness tools, and even produces healthier habits.

    John Hancock offers term, universal, indexed universal, variable universal, and final expense insurance. They also offer perks to diabetics looking for life insurance, providing up to 25 percent discounts off their usual policies.


    • John Hancock is unique for its Vitality Program, which incentivizes good health and habits.
    • The company also offers high coverage amounts, with up to $65 million in coverage for some policies.


    • Unlike other life insurers’, the John Hancock website can be confusing, with limited information on their policies.
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    Learn More About Personal Finance Today

    Whether you’re looking for the biggest life insurance companies in the world, trying to understand the life insurance market, or even looking to get into the life insurance business, Wesley Insurance, LLC can help guide you. Our website is a comprehensive resource on finance, with reviews, tools, and comparison articles to help you make better financial decisions. 

    Written By Cameron McDowell
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