Looking for the best life insurance companies for 2019? As independent life insurance agents, our job is to find the best life insurance companies available for our clients. Although, the best company can be different for everyone depending on that individual’s unique circumstance.
Unlike captive life insurance agents, who are highly incentivized to sell only one company’s products, our goal is to match you with the right fit for your specific needs.
There are thousands of life insurance companies in the United States. However, we have narrowed down the top companies in order to find you the best deal. The marketplace is always changing, but we are constantly shopping the best companies so you don’t have too.
Best Life Insurance Companies 2019 -Top 3 Companies for No-exam Term Life Insurance
In today’s world, time is at a premium. People just don’t have time to spare and with life insurance it’s no different. As more and more people fell through the cracks of underwriting, the life insurance industry responded by streamlining the application process.
These express issue contracts result in more cases getting approved and more people getting covered without having to take a medical exam or battle with doctor’s offices over releasing medical records. If you qualify for the rates that these companies offer, there is simply no need to take an exam for life insurance ever again.
Ameritas – A.M. Best Rating A (Excellent)
Ameritas is a great life insurance company. Ameritas is based out of Nebraska and has been in operation over 125 years. It has a strong financial strength rating from A.M. Best and as a mutual company is owned by its policyholders, not shareholders like publicly traded insurance companies.
Ameritas’s FLX term life insurance is one of the best non-medical term life insurance contracts on the market today. It is an express issue product that does not require a medical exam or medical records to be purchased. We are seeing approvals on average within 72 hours.
Another strong feature is that Ameritas offers multiple tiers of rates (preferred, standard, and rapid standard) for non-medical underwriting. The preferred category can reduce the rate for qualified applicants in great health compared to competitors that will only offer a standard rate.
Also, the inclusion of a rapid standard rate makes non-medical underwriting available for people with more complex medical histories, which not many insurance companies offer. If we need to, we can call an underwriter directly to discuss complex cases. This is a big advantage in placing difficult cases.
In addition, Ameritas includes living benefits for critical, chronic, and terminal illness within their policy at no additional cost. Ameritas’s FLX term life insurance contract also has a strong conversion feature that allows you to convert the policy into their indexed universal life policy at any point during the level-term period or before age 65, whichever comes first, regardless of your current health. Ameritas offers a 25-year term period as well, which not many insurance companies offer.
While Ameritas’s non-medical underwriting offers many advantages, it does have some limitations. Ameritas will only offer non-medical underwriting up to $300,000 of death benefits, which is below the top limits of other competitors. Additionally, the cutoff age for non-medical underwriting is age 60 with Ameritas where other companies will allow non-medical underwriting for older applicants; although, Ameritas is considering raising the maximum non-medical underwriting age to 70 this year.
# 2 Foresters Life Insurance – A.M. Best Rating A (Excellent)
Foresters Life Insurance is another great life insurance company that has been established over 140 years! Foresters is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and is structured as a fraternal benefits society that is governed by its members. Each policyholder becomes a member with their application for life insurance coverage and is eligible for member benefits, such as scholarship opportunities and discounted legal services. In addition, Foresters is known for their charitable giving, including donating an additional 1% of death benefits to a policy holder’s chosen charity upon their death!
Foresters’s express issue underwriting has been streamlined to waive the exam and medical records for a maximum of $400,000 of death benefits up to age 55 and a maximum of $150,000 from ages 55 to 80. Not many companies will offer non-medical term at those higher ages, but Foresters does.
We are seeing approvals on average between 48-72 hours and their contracts contain living benefits, for critical, chronic, and terminal illness at no additional premium. In addition to the industry standard 10, 15, 20, and 30-year term policies, Foresters provides a 25-year term option as well.
While Foresters does have competitive rates, they only offer one standard rate tier that is pass-fail. That being said, they are willing to take on greater risks than other non-medical companies.
Additionally, Foresters’s term insurance has a conversion option included in the contract, but it doesn’t cover the entire level-term period. The conversion option is available prior to the end of the initial term period less 5 years or age 65, whichever comes first. However, Foresters does allow partial or full conversions to any of their permanent products that they make available.
#3 Phoenix Life – A.M. Best Rating B (Fair)
Phoenix Life has made our short list for top companies for life insurance with non-medical underwriting in 2019. Phoenix has unique features with their underwriting and contract benefits that other companies simply don’t have. Phoenix’s financial strength rating is fair, but less than outstanding. However, Phoenix has been keeping its promises since 1851 and third-party rating agencies have affirmed their financial outlook as stable.
Phoenix Life offers two non-medical underwriting options. The first term life insurance option is an accelerated underwriting that will waive the medical exam for qualified applicants up to $500,000 of death benefits, but the underwriter reserves the right to order medical records.
This option is great for applicants who are looking for higher death benefit amounts with no exam at an affordable rate. Also, by reserving the right to order medical records, Phoenix can assume greater underwriting risk that may not qualify for express issue contracts. We are seeing approvals on average in 2-4 weeks.
Their second term life insurance option is an express issue non-medical underwriting for qualified applicants that waives both the medical exam and medical records up to $400,000 of death benefits. This contract is designed for applicants with great health or minor medical impairments. We are seeing approvals on average within 48-72 hours. Phoenix will start to reduce the death benefits available at higher ages, but still offers limited coverage for applicants into their 70s!
In addition to the ease of underwriting, Phoenix stacks robust benefits into their contracts. Both term insurance contracts offer living benefits for critical, chronic, and terminal illness.
Phoenix offers a built-in unemployment rider as well. If you become unemployed for a period of at least 4 weeks and are receiving state or federal unemployment benefits, this benefit waives six months of premium. This offers valuable protection against lapse due to unpaid premiums when clients need it the most. Phoenix offers a conversion option to permanent coverage, but the option is limited to 5-10 years depending on the term length selected.
Top 7 Term Life Insurance Companies for 2019 with Medical Underwriting
No-exam life insurance is not for everyone. Some people, unfortunately, may not qualify for no-exam life insurance. Others, may want to take the exam in order to secure a better rate.
These companies below have earned a spot in our brokerage by offering top-quality life insurance at affordable rates. All the companies below have been in the industry for over a century and consistently offers affordable prices. Each life insurance company looks at you health and lifestyle differently. However, we are able to secure quality coverage at an affordable price for just about everyone with lineup below.
#1 (Term Life) American National (ANICO) – A.M. Best Rating A (Excellent)
ANICO has been in business since 1905 and offers other lines of insurance outside of life insurance. They have great customer service and allow us direct access to their underwriters to help secure you the best rate. They are an excellent option for anyone with good overall health, but we have seen competitive offers to clients with controlled health impairments, such as type-2 diabetes, mild anxiety or depression and sleep apnea.
One of our favorite features of ANICO’s coverage is their accelerated underwriting. Unlike other carriers, ANICO doesn’t require an third-party health interview and we get access directly to their underwriting team to discuss complex cases that arise.
ANICO will often waive the medical exam as well as medical records for qualified applicants up to $1,000,000 in death benefits! If an applicant is accelerated through underwriting, we are seeing approvals in as little as 7 days without an invasive medical exam.
Acceleration can be difficult to predict though. There are certain health conditions that are a straight knockout for accelerated underwriting from the start. ANICO also factors in a “risk analyzer” that is an algorithmic score comprised of public information gather by data gathers, such as financial information and driving records that can indicate a higher mortality risk and trigger full underwriting. That being said, ANICO is one of the top companies when it comes to accelerated underwriting.
ANICO’s rates are priced great, usually within a few dollars of the lowest company for death benefits over $250,000. For smaller death benefits under $250,000, ANICO doesn’t offer preferred rates, which can be limiting for people in exceptional health. However, while ANICO may not always be the rock-bottom lowest rate, their life insurance is stacked full of value.
In addition to the death benefit, ANICO’s policies include a strong conversion option and living benefits for chronic, critical, and terminal illnesses at no additional cost. The living benefits rider allows a client to accelerate a portion of the death benefit while they are still alive in the event of a chronic, critical, or terminal illness, which can be just as financially devastating as a premature death. ANICO’s conversion option allows you to convert all or part of the term policy to a permanent policy during the entire level-term period up to age 65. Hands down, one of the best.
#2 (Term Life) Protective – A.M. Best Rating A+ (Superior)
Protective is another company that we love doing business with. They have been in business for over 100 years and it shows in their customer service. Protective allows agents direct access to their underwriting team. This access helps move cases through underwriting quickly, and can make a difference in placing complex cases.
Their term insurance is consistently on the top of the charts for best rates. The only flaw in their rates is that they only have two preferred categories (most companies have three), which may make them less competitive in rare scenarios.
In addition to great rates, Protective offers accelerated underwriting up to $1,000,000 that potentially waives the medical exam and medical records for qualified applicants. Protective’s accelerated term underwriting has been streamlined to make the application process as easy as possible for the client and shave weeks off the application process.
It does require a third-party telehealth interview, but the interview can be completed immediately after the initial application. This is a huge advantage compared to other companies that require the interview to be scheduled at a separate time. Protective’s underwriting is fantastic for people in excellent health, but they also have unique underwriting niches that makes them a go-to carrier of ours.
Protective’s term policies have unique features outside of their killer rates that make them stand out above the rest. Most term policies see dramatic annual rate increases once the level-term period is over. Rather than see the rate explode, Protective decreases the death benefit annually. This is a great feature that offers a ton of flexibility.
Protective also has a unique rider called the Income Provider Option that can lower your premiums by up to 25% by taking the death benefit over time in annual installments (instead of a lump sum). This is a game changer that helps families get the coverage they need at prices they can afford.
#3 (Term Life) American General (AIG) – A.M. Best Rating A (Excellent)
AIG is an insurance giant that has been in business since 1919. Even during the financial crisis of 2008, their life insurance division was a crown jewel in their portfolio due to its financial strength. AIG is a core carrier at our agency, due to their rock-bottom low rates and exceptional underwriting. AIG’s rates consistently tops the charts for not only people in excellent health, but for people with substandard health as well.
AIG has a credit-based underwriting system that can bump qualified applicants into their top-tier rate categories, where other companies would just offer standard rates. This is a huge advantage for people with mild and well-documented conditions such as asthma.
In cases that have substandard health impairments, AIG really shines. They price their substandard rates off of a special rate class that can save clients a ton of money. This means that AIG is one of our go-to companies for people with complex medical history or lifestyle impairments due to their competitive substandard rates.
AIG’s contracts offer a ton of flexibility as well. Most companies will limit term durations to four selections (10, 15, 20, and 30 years). AIG allows clients a whopping 18 different term durations! AIG’s select-a-term feature allows for all of the standard term durations, but also allows clients to select any term duration between 15 and 30 years.
If you only need a term for 17 years, no problem. AIG will even allow a term period of 35 years. A 35-year term is great for a younger client who wants one contract to cover their entire working career. In addition, AIG’s allows conversions to permanent insurance during the entire level period of their term policies and may even apply a portion of your term premium as a conversion credit to the new policy in the year of conversion.
While AIG’s rates and underwriting are elite, everything has a cost. AIG is one of our most thorough companies when reviewing a case. They don’t offer an accelerated underwriting program as of the date of this article above $99,999 death benefits, which means that they require a medical exam for all of their term applications of $100,000 death benefits or greater.
They often will order medical records as well, and will want to see strict compliance with all doctor recommendations. Also, AIG does not allow agents direct access to their underwriters due to the sheer size of their organization. This can result in administrative delays if the underwriter has a request. As a result, we are seeing cases approved on average between 4-6 weeks.
#4 (Term Life) SBLI – A.M. Best Rating A (Excellent)
The Savings Bank Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts was founded in 1907 and is another top life insurance company. SBLI might not be a household name to everyone, but they should be. They offer fantastic rates and have one of the best accelerated underwriting programs in the industry.
SBLI will waive the medical exam for applicants age 60 or lower as long as the death benefits are under $500,000. They still reserve the right to order medical records and will require a third-party telehealth interview, but SBLI is a great option for clients who want to avoid taking the medical exam at fully-underwritten rates.
While having the exam waived is a great feature, this is not express underwriting. The third-party telehealth interview and medical records can take just as long as fully-underwritten case. SBLI will often order medical records since they lack the information that a medical exam would provide. Therefore, we are seeing approvals on average around 2-4 weeks for cases that order medical records.
SBLI has solid underwriting, but nothing out of the ordinary. They are a great fit for people in excellent health, tobacco and non-tobacco users, but if you have moderate to severe health problems, there could be better fits out there.
If something comes up in a case, SBLI does allow agents to speak directly with their underwriting team for risk assessments. SBLI includes a conversion option within their contracts for the duration of the level-term period or before age 70, whichever is sooner. Contracts can be converted into whole life or universal life policies.
#5 (Term Life) Prudential – A.M. Best Rating A+ (Superior)
Prudential is one of the largest life insurers in the United States and one of the oldest. Founded in Newark, NJ in 1875, Prudential has become a household brand name with their iconic Rock of Gibraltar logo. Their life insurance is not always the top rate in each category, but Prudential tops the charts in certain segments of the market
Prudential underwriting is willing to take on certain lifestyle and health impairments that other companies will shy away from. Prudential has been testing accelerated underwriting in certain distribution channels, but the program is still in its infancy. For fully-underwritten cases we are seeing approvals on average between 4-6 weeks. Unfortunately, Prudential does not let independent agents have access to their underwriters directly due to the size of the institution.
Prudential term insurance is a solid offering. Every policy comes with a living benefits rider that allows clients to access a portion of the death benefits for terminal illness, if they need a major organ transplant, or are confined in a nursing home for over six months. While not as robust as other living benefits options, it is an option that is built into all Prudential term life insurance at no additional cost.
Also, Prudential is one of the only companies that uses age-last-birthday pricing. Most term life insurance companies will round your age to your nearest birthday for pricing. For example, most companies will charge your rate as age 35 if your 34-and-7-months old. However, Prudential will always charge the rate based on your actual age. This can be a huge competitive price advantage, especially at older ages when price can really increase dramatically year-to-year.
Prudential also has a strong conversion option that allows partial of full conversion to any of their permanent products up to age 65 or during the level-term period, whichever is sooner. Not many companies will open up their entire suite of permanent life insurance contracts for conversion, but Prudential does. In addition, Prudential offers a term contract with conversion premium credits for a slightly higher rate than their base contract for people looking to convert their policy in the short-to-medium term.
#6 (Term Life) Lincoln Financial – A.M. Best Rating A+ (Superior)
Lincoln Financial has long been a favorite company of life insurance brokers.. Founded in 1905, Lincoln was granted the rights to use Abraham Lincoln’s name and image with the permission of his son Robert Todd Lincoln. Lincoln still embodies the ideals of honest Abe today.
Lincoln is all around great life insurance company, but they have recently made a push to be a top competitor in certain segments of the term market, offering chart-topping rates, accelerated underwriting, and flexible products.
Their customer service is exceptional. They allow agents direct access to their underwriting department, which can help move cases through. In addition, they have inclusive underwriting that looks favorably on many conditions that other companies don’t want to touch.
Lincoln offer two term contracts and they are both powerhouses in their respective category. The first is their TermAccel term life insurance contract, which is Lincoln’s middle-market solution. This term policy program gives qualified younger clients what they want, faster approvals, potential non-medical underwriting, and affordable rates.
This program is designed for clients under the age of 50 for death benefits of $100,000 to $500,000. The applicant completes a brief phone interview, that determines if the medical exam is needed. If no medical exam is required, the policy can be issued in a matter of days! One of the best parts about this program is that there is no attending physician statement (APS) required, which can shave weeks off the underwriting process.
Lincoln’s TermAccel contract is a great program. The only drawback is that it is limited in scope. This program is designed for people in excellent health, or with minor health conditions only. People with more complex health histories would be better suited with their other term life insurance contract.
Lincoln’s TermAccel program will only go up to a maximum of $500,000, which can be limiting for people who need larger amounts of coverage. Finally, Lincoln doesn’t offer a 10-year term option in their TermAccel program.
Lincoln’s LifeElements term life insurance contract picks up where TermAccel left off. This term life insurance contract offers greater range for clients seeking higher death benefits and is priced according. It is not unusual to see Lincoln at the top of the rate charts for death benefits of 500,000 and $1,000,000 for older clients. In addition, Lincoln offers accelerated underwriting up to $1,000,000 of death benefits as well on this contract, which may waive the medical exam for qualified applicants.
Also, both Lincoln’s TermAccel and LifeElements contract come with a conversion option built in at no additional cost. This conversion option is eligible for the level-term period or until age 70, whichever is closer. Lincoln also offers conversion to any of their permanent products in the first 7 years of the contract. Afterwards, Lincoln may reduce the availability of certain contracts for conversion.
#7 (Term Life) Mass Mutual – A.M. Best Rating A++ (Superior)
Mass Mutual is another life insurance household name that has made our list of best companies. Mass Mutual was founded in 1851 and has been focused on securing the financial futures of their policyowners for more than 160 years! Not many insurance companies have the historic legacy and goodwill that have earned Mass Mutual a spot on our list.
On of the big selling features of Mass Mutual is that they are not structured as a publicly traded life insurance company. Mass Mutual is owned by its policyholders not investors. As a result, Mass Mutual is focused is on maximizing profit for its policyholders and not third-party shareholders. Mass Mutual returns profits to its policyowners in the form of dividends paid to policyholders of participating whole life contracts.
You can expect Mass Mutual to be thorough with their underwriting; although, they did recently introduce accelerated underwriting for qualified low-risk applicants. Mass Mutual’s reputation for being conservative with their underwriting and pricing can lead to Mass Mutual’s term life insurance pricing to be uncompetitively priced relative to other companies. Mass Mutual’s term policies don’t have many bells and whistles, but do include a term conversion option at no additional cost that will allow you to convert to a whole life policy.
That being said, Mass Mutual has been experimenting with ways to reduce costs for low-risk applicants; for example, their direct-to-consumer brand Haven Life. However, the verdict is still out on the viability of a model. For low-risk applicants with minor or no health issues, going direct may make sense. For anyone with complicated health histories, you are better served working with a veteran life insurance agent that will understand the nuances of your case.
Mass Mutual’s real strengths lie in their participating whole life insurance. Whole life insurance is not appropriate for everyone, but for people who want guaranteed lifetime coverage with cash value accumulation, Mass Mutual will be consistently among the top options.
The strength of their participating whole life policy comes from their dividend, which is not guaranteed. While dividends are not guaranteed, Mass Mutual has consistently paid out their dividend for eligible policyowners every year since 1869! The dividend can be used to increase the death benefits of the policy itself, or can be used to either reduce or eliminate your policy premiums.
Summing things up
May the best price win.
Josh Martin is the founder of Good Life Protection. He began his career as a captive Agent working for New York Life Insurance Company. After continued education and designations, Josh founded Good Life Protection to provide consumers with more options and insurance that truly fits into your budget and health classification.