Life Insurance Carrier Reviews
How We Review the Top Life Insurance Carries Available
INSURANCE COMPANY REVIEWS
Who wins? Most people would not be able to answer this. A typical consumer is going to say, Prudential. Why? They have been around longer and at one point had a stronghold on the entire life insurance industry. And no, we do not want you to run to Wikipedia to find out. We want you reading reviews from real experts in the industry. Reviews that provide you with the good and bad information.
From the people I speak with daily, it is typically whoever has more commercials on television is who wins. This is not a good approach to purchasing life insurance. Research and a professional Independent Agent is the correct way to buy life insurance.
What’s the problem with this thinking? Other companies may be comparably strong and have strengths and weaknesses that need to be exposed.
At Good Life Protection, we strive to bring you up to date information surrounding the life insurance industry. Part of bringing you the most up to date information is to provide detailed reviews of the top life insurance carriers currently offering insurance to consumers.
Without the proper information and honest non– biased reviews, it can become difficult to know which options are the best fit. Our goal is to have that information readily available to help with your life insurance application process.
We want to present you with the good and bad of all life insurance carriers. We want you to be the judge of what company you are wanting to business with. Of course, we always recommend working with an Independent Agent who knows the ins and the outs of the industry.
Nevertheless, having a great source of honest reviews is a good start to making an informed decision about which Life Insurance Carriers can represent you.
So how do we review life insurance carriers and what are we looking for in particular? The list is surprisingly lengthy. We look at several factors. Factors most carriers probably do not even want to be revealed. We even take industry experience from our agents and their analysis of the carriers when making a final grade report. Also, we try to look at case studies that have been sent to these carriers and what the outcomes may have been.
Why do these reviews matter?
For the sake of this review, let’s assume you are a healthy 40-year-old male that chews tobacco.
Let’s assume you do not read any of our reviews and walk into the application process with a life insurance agent over the phone. Yes, your agent should know what you are about to read. New agents do exist and agents who may not know every life insurance carrier’s niche for good ratings. This in return can lower your premium monthly.
You complete the initial process and now have your case submitted to underwriting. Without understanding your options, you complete the process and pay your initial premium after your approval.
You are all pumped up and excited because you got a preferred tobacco rating. This is the 2nd best rating you can achieve. I myself would be excited as well. The only problem now is, could you have done better?
Let’s look and see… Option 1-
Foresters Financial- Outcome- Preferred Tobacco (Great Rating for Tobacco User)
Look at that, you did great! Oh, wait… we may have another option.
The exact same situation as before. Male Age-40- Very Healthy- Chews Tobacco.
Prudential’s Outcome- Standard Rating (lower than preferred) – Non- Tobacco.
Yes, tobacco can be a killer for insurance rates. What can be an even bigger killer is not knowing what you are looking for. Again, the agent should know these things. An honest review of companies at your fingertips can also go a long way.
Here’s the proof.
All this could have been easily avoided with proper planning and a little bit of due diligence.
The next item Good Life Protection likes to look at is company history. I am not referring to financial strength history with this either. Just an overall snapshot of the company’s history and development. All life insurance carriers come from different beginnings. What is important to know about the life insurance carriers?
- Years in the industry?
- Are they a mutual company or stock company?
- Have they even de-mutualized (turned into a stock company)? *Often can be a red flag*
- How many subsidiaries do you have? Or how many sister companies are involved?
- How many times have they been re-purchased by other major life insurance carriers (merged)?
- What other branches or arms do they represent?
- Financial Planning or Services
- Retirement Planning and Wealth Building
- Home and Auto Insurance
- Disability and Long-Term Care Insurance
Let’s break down two companies and what it looks like side by side.
Although Ameritas Life Insurance roots stem all the way back to the late 1800’s, they have still undergone many changes. Ultimately, forming the stock company they are today in 1997. That’s right…only 21 years old. That is nothing bad against Ameritas. In fact, they may have the best no exam life insurance product currently on the market and I am a huge fan. My point being, when you stack it up against a company such as AIG (American General Life), things look a little bit different.
AIG is also one of my personal favorite company in the industry, but they are vastly different. Yes, they were part of the federal government bailout in 2008. Yet, they also have been around 100 years or very close too. They are a giant in the industry and always have been. They vary greatly in product lineup and options. Neither one of these companies has any major pitfalls.
Point being, most consumers are very concerned with company history. About 50% of consumers do ask me company history related questions. Good Life Protection likes to dive into these questions. We also want to provide you with comprehensive information detailing life insurance carrier history information.
This ties directly into company history but gives a little broader of a look to our reviews. We like to know how the company operates.
- Where are they headquartered?
- How many employees do they have?
Consumers enjoy knowing they are working with household names. Good Life Protection aims to…
Represent all the powerhouse life insurance carriers in the industry. We also feel you have the right to know about the life insurance carriers as well. That is why we are here and we hope our reviews help along the way.
We strive to point out all the good the life insurance carriers do for the consumers. After all, we represent them, so we need to boast about them from time to time. All the life insurance carriers in the life insurance industry want your business. They want to help, and they DO pay death claims!
The point being, some companies do things better than other companies. All the life insurance carriers have strengths and weaknesses. The goal is to understand what they are or let your independent life insurance agent explain them to you.
So, what are some of the items we are talking about? Well, we already covered one earlier.
- Are they priced competitively?
- Does the life insurance carrier have strong underwriting niches? (Prudential vs. Foresters)
- How is the company’s customer service? (for you and the Agent representing you)
- How flexible are they on payment options and payment methods?
- How fast are they overall? (Life Insurance, in general, is unbelievably slow) – Except, No Exam
- What Built-in features do they include in the policy and if they do not, what riders do they offer?
- How easy and streamlined is the application process with this carrier?
- A combination of company history and company overview?
- Do they provide any discounts for annual payment mode?
- Do they have anything that makes them stand out?
And for the….
We also find it very important to bring you the negatives. We may represent all the life insurance carriers we are discussing in this article but that does not mean they are all perfect. We choose to represent them for many reasons. At one point or another, we know they will be the carrier to insure you or your family depending on your unique needs.
This is very important to us and we cannot stress it enough. Not all carriers are built for the same consumers.
What are some of the potential negatives I am talking about?
- Possible short time in the industry?
- Low financial ratings?
- Tough underwriting guidelines?
- Customer service not up to par?
- Noncompetitive pricing?
- Limited product lineup?
- Overall customer satisfaction?
These are all important items to consider when choosing the right company. Sometimes, you should leave it in the hands of the agent. Let me give you an example.
Phoenix Life Insurance Vs. Banner Life Insurance (William Penn)
Banner has been around forever and has 7.3 billion in assets with an A+ Rating. First side rant with this is, many consumers still have not heard of them and tend to not trust those names. What can you trust more than an A+ rating and 7.3 billion dollars in assets?
Phoenix Life is a little different. They only have a B rating. They have also been in the industry a very long time, dating back to the 1800’s.
Both carriers are well known for helping diabetics (especially type 2) at favorable rates. For the sake of our example, let’s say we are an individual terrified of needles, currently has 5 kids home for the summer, has a demanding 9-5 job, and cannot find time to complete an exam?
BANNER Life Insurance DOES NOT OFFER NO EXAM – So who are we going to go with? Phoenix. This is the point we are trying to make. Not every company is going to be 5 out of 5 stars across the board. It is important to know the strengths of each, so you know which life insurance carrier to have in mind when you pick up the phone. This makes it much easier to trust your agent’s knowledge if you have done a little homework.
So, what else do we look at?
Product lineups can be one of the biggest factors when looking for your future relationship with a life insurance carrier. Some companies have basic lineups such as…
- Term Life
- Whole Life
- Universal Life
Although this is enough to get the job done, some companies also offer varying perks and options within these certain classes.
Let’s go over a few quick examples.
Protective Life Insurance is my go too insurance company for term products and Universal Life. I am a firm believer they have the best product lineup on the market in these classes. Why?
Well, First Protective Life is not going to skyrocket or 10x your premiums at the end of your term policy! They will allow you to keep it.
At the same price! They will take your death benefit and begin decreasing it until it levels off into a $10,000.00 whole life policy. This is a huge added perk. Why may you ask?
- Who wants to pay 10x the price to keep some coverage in force? Not me, I am assuming not you either.
- Who does not want the luxury that if you develop a health condition you are locked into a policy that levels off into a permanent burial policy?
Those are two underestimated luxuries to have. An example of a Protective Life Policy would look something like this.
As you can see, the premiums being paid did not change. This is a 30-year term policy. Premiums never change, Protective just began dropping the death benefit.
The decreases finally end at $10,000.00 in coverage where it holds steady. Pretty nice feature to have. At the end of the day, your coverage needs should have decreased some over the years. This making an even more attractive feature.
Here’s the flip side of the equation.
As you can see, the death benefit drops but the premiums also increase.
This is an illustration for a 37-year-old male with Lincoln Financial Group.
Financial Strength Ratings
This is another big area Good Life Protection is concerned with when it comes to the life insurance carriers we choose to represent.
Financial Strength is a large indicator of a company’s performance. Not only past performance but likelihood of future performance.
So how are financial strength ratings broken down?
When the rating agencies for life insurance carriers analyze the carrier’s financial strength, they are looking at three different items:
The rating 4 Big rating companies all use different codes to rate the life insurance carriers.
RATING AGENCY LIFE INSURANCE CARRIER FINANCIAL STRENGTH
- A.M. Best
A++, A+, A, A-, B++, B, B-, C++, C, C-, D
AAA, AA+, AA, AA-, A+, A, A-, BBB+, BBB, BBB- BB+, BB, BB-, B+, B, B-, CCC, CC, C
- S and P
AAA, AA+, AA, AA-, A+, A, A-, BBB+, BBB, BBB-, BB+, BB, BB-, B+, B, B-, CCC+, CCC, CCC-, CC, C
Aaa, Aa1, Aa2, Aa3, A1, A2, A3, Baa1, Baa2, Baa3, Ba1, Ba2, Baa3, Ba1, Ba2, Ba3, Caa1, Caa2, Caa3, Ca,C
But what do these really mean?
Basically, you want to aim for a company with at least an A rating.
The following is a breakdown of the financial strength ratings:
- A+- Superior Financial Strength
- A- Excellent Financial Strength
- B+- Good Financial Strength
- B- Fair
- C- Marginal
- C- (Weak)
- D- Poor
This is also a question I get asked frequently about insurance companies, “What is the financial strength, I only want a company that is A rated”.
Some great companies exist who are slightly below that threshold. Although they are still very reputable and good life insurance carriers to work with.
A+ Rating – Superior Financial Strength
Aa3- Stable Outlook
Nothing is to say one of these companies is better or worse than the other. Both are great companies and have strengths and weaknesses. It was to illustrate that differences between companies that do exist. We take pride in providing you the most up to date ratings and reviews.
Life Insurance Underwriting Niches
Good Life Protection wants to know the niches these life insurance carriers are great at underwriting. We covered this with the tobacco situation with Prudential.
Vapers, Cigar Smokers, and Chewers can still get a non-tobacco rating with Prudential.
This is one of the niches they serve.
The same goes for Phoenix Life and Banner being great life insurance carriers for type 2 diabetics. We aim to find these niches through our actual practice. Working with clients to find the best possible rates that they can get.
Knowing the underwriting niches can serve as a huge benefit to the life insurance agents working your case as well as your wallet. Why pay more for any life insurance policy if you do not need to for the same coverage?
This is common problem agents run into with life insurance cases. It is something important to address.
Sometimes people need coverage quickly. Could be for a divorce decree or even to secure a SBLA loan.
Long underwriting processes cause consumers and agents to get upset after enough has elapsed. You as the consumer, start wondering what could be taking so long. The agent is also thinking the exact same thing.
We aim to keep an eye on the companies that keep the process expedited for both the life insurance agent and the consumer. And again, our goal is to relay that information to you.
I know you are wondering why this did not rank higher to the top of our list. The first answer is that we do not find the pricing as important as a typical consumer for several reasons.
We believe the value is more important. What does the policy include? What carrier is it with? The second reason being, pricing fluctuates greatly based on health, age, and tobacco use. It would not be accurate to rate all carriers. The life insurance carriers in certain underwriting niches, do better with pricing in certain categories.
The opposite is also true. Some life insurance carriers for the perfectly healthy have unbeatable prices. It is too much to juggle to judge the carriers strictly on this criterion.
And Last but not the Least..
What is more important than top notch customer service? Answer…. next to nothing.
We as the agent, need customer service as well. When we call for risk assessments or ratings for high-risk clients, we need answers and we need them fast.
You as the consumers, when you need something answered you expect the same service. Some carriers do an extremely good job of this and some lack in this department. It is important to know this up front and we want to be your source of finding the answers.
To sum things up, we think it is rather difficult to judge a life insurance carrier without knowing them inside and out. A lot of factors must be considered. We personally represent over 50+ of the top-rated life insurance carriers. We will be the first to admit they all have strengths and weaknesses. What sets us apart is the ability to quickly determine which one is best for you and your individual needs.
Insurance Carrier Reviews
We are an independent rating and review company. Our goal is to bring the consumer the information needed when shopping the life insurance market.
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