Shuman Roy is an entrepreneur, business owner, and musician. He started RoysNoys, LLC in 2013 as a music production and education service company. He also offers small business consulting and advisory services to help businesses get from start-up mode to turn-key operations. Shuman earned his M.B.A from the Stern School of Business in 2001 and has an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College in ...

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Written by Shuman Roy
Content Writer & Entrepreneur Shuman Roy

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jun 3, 2022

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Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider. Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about life insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything life insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by life insurance experts.

There are companies out there, such as A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s, which rate life insurance providers on various financial strengths in order to help consumers make more informed decisions (insurance company ratings).

Each state in our great nation also has a department of insurance that monitors the financial status of life insurance companies and regulates their practices.

If you’re in the market for life insurance, you should look for an organization that’s been around a while, with a proven ability to pay claims to your beneficiaries in the event of your death.

After all, it’s a lot more likely an insurer will pay your claim if they’re still in business…

It’s also not a bad idea to determine how much life insurance you need prior to beginning your search.

Listed below are the top 10 largest writers of life insurance in the United States as of 2017, the latest year available per the III, along with their most current AM Best rating.

Top 10 Life Insurance Companies in the United States

Below, you’ll find the top 10 life insurance providers in the U.S., along with each the companies’ market shares and financial strength ratings, provided by A.M. Best. It’s important to consider financial strength ratings, as you don’t want to invest your money with a company that is not financially secure. Your beneficiaries will be counting on the insurer to pay your death benefits.

1. MetLife – (13.6% market share) – rated A+, Superior
2. Prudential Financial Inc. – (7.4% market share) – rated A+, Superior
3. New York Life Insurance – (5.0% market share) – rated A++, Superior
4. Principal Financial – (4.4% market share) – A+, Superior
5. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. – (3.9% market share) – A++, Superior
6. Jackson National Life Group – (3.5% market share)  – rated A+, Superior
7. American International Group – (3.4% market share) – A, Excellent
8. Transamerica – (3.3% market share) – A+, Superior
9. AXA (3.3% market share) – A, Excellent
10. Lincoln National Corp. – (3.2% market share) – A+, Superior

You may already be familiar with some of the life insurance companies listed above because they advertise a ton. Other popular options include John Hancock, Lincoln Financial, Pacific Life, and Northwestern Mutual.

Or simply as a result of them offering a combination of life, property, casualty, and/or health insurance coverage. You might already be a customer!

Life insurance companies, much like other large corporations, don’t always specialize in just one thing, though they tend to stick to life insurance products and financial services.

In addition to the A.M. Best financial rating, you should check out your potential insurer’s customer satisfaction scores from J.D. Power and the Better Business Bureau.

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What are the different types of life insurance coverage?

There are a few basic types of coverage you can choose when you purchase a life insurance policy.

  • Whole life insurance – A form of permanent coverage that lasts your whole life and pays out when you die. Your life insurance premiums do not increase over time.
  • Term life insurance – Term life policies last for a certain period of time (usually 10, 20, or 30 years) and pay out if you die during that period. Insurance premiums do usually increase over time with this type of policy.
  • Universal life insurance – A permanent life insurance policy that comes with an investment component. Your universal life insurance policy can accrue cash value, but the value is determined by the stock market.

If you have a medical condition you think might preclude you from getting standard life insurance, consider looking into guaranteed issue life insurance policies. These policies do not require a medical exam, but they tend to be more expensive and come with lower death benefits.

The type of life insurance you choose may be determined in part by your budget, so keep in mind that a term life insurance policy is cheaper than whole life insurance. However, many prefer to have the sense of security that comes with permanent insurance.

You can also add riders to your life insurance policy, such as long-term care coverage and child life insurance.

Should you go with the biggest insurance company?

Keep in mind that there are thousands of insurance companies out there to choose from.

Some focus on only one type of insurance or one specific region of the United States, while others offer a wide array of services to customers nationwide.

But it’s not necessary to purchase a life insurance policy from one of the companies listed above to ensure you receive adequate coverage or service. There are a wide variety of life insurers.

As long as the company you choose has strong financial stability ratings, offers affordable premiums, and has the coverage you need, you should be fine.

For the record, the companies near the top of the list haven’t changed for a long time and probably won’t due to their large market share.

Also note that independent insurance agents were responsible for more than half of the policies written in 2018, thanks in part to their ability to compare different plans, coverage, and rates from a variety of companies all at once.

Your best option is to get a life insurance quote from multiple companies and compare them. You can do so by using our comparison tool below.