How We Review the Top Life Insurance Carries Available
INSURANCE COMPANY REVIEWS
Prudential Life Insurance Vs. Foresters Financial
Who wins? Most people would not be able to answer this. A typical consumer is going to say, “Prudential…why?” Prudential has been around longer and had a stronghold on the entire life insurance industry at one point. Oh 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, whoever has more commercials on television typically is who wins. Simply put, this is not a good approach to purchasing life insurance. Research and a professional independent agent is the most optimal way to buy life insurance.
What’s the problem with going off of advertisements alone? Other life insurance companies may be comparably strong and have advantages that are not showcased in commercials alone.
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 companies currently offering insurance to consumers.
Without the proper information and honest reviews, it can be difficult to know which options are your best fit. Our goal is to have that information readily available to help you with your life insurance purchase.
Ultimately, we want you to be the final judge of what company you want to do business with. Of course, we always recommend working with an independent agent who knows the ins and the outs of the industry for education, but you have the final call.
Nevertheless, having a great source of honest reviews is a good start to making an informed decision about which life insurance carriers can best 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 life insurance companies before completing our review. Also, we try to look at real-life case studies that have been sent to these life insurance companies and what the outcomes were.
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 company’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 second-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)
20-year Level Term
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.
20-year Level Term
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, a veteran agent should know what life insurance company should fit your personal situation the best.
However, not every life agent can broker multiple companies. Some life insurance agents are career agents, also known as captive agents, that can only represent one company. How do you know what’s the best company for sure? Well, an honest review of life insurance 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 companies 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 ever de-mutualized (turned into a stock company)?
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 companies (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.
AMERITAS LIFE INSURANCE
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.
AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL GROUP (AIG)
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, but their life insurance division was a crown jewel on their balance sheet.
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 company 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 companies in the industry. We also feel you have the right to know about the life insurance companies as well. That is why we are here, and we hope our reviews help you make an educated decision when purchasing life insurance.
We strive to point out all the good that life insurance companies do for 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 companies 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, express issue
What built-in features are included in the policy, and what riders are offered?
How easy and streamlined is the application process?
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 life insurance companies, but that does not mean they are all perfect. We choose to represent the companies we work with for many reasons. At one point or another, we know they will be the company to insure you or your family depending on your unique needs. That is why we vetted each life insurance company vigorously.
This is very important to us, and we cannot stress it enough. Not all companies are built for the same consumers.
What are some of the potential negatives that I am talking about?
Possible short time in the industry?
Low financial ratings?
Tough underwriting guidelines?
Customer service not up to par?
Limited product lineup?
Poor 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 for decades 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 LIFE INSURANCE – 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 company, 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 company. Some companies have basic lineups such as…
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-to insurance company for term products and universal life insurance. I am a firm believer they have the best product lineup on the market in these classes. Why?
First, Protective Life is not going to skyrocket your premiums at the end of your term policy! Simply put, this is a game changer for many families.
Instead of increasing your monthly premium year after year, Protective will keep your monthly premium level and begin decreasing your death benefit until it levels off at $10,000, usually around age 90. 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, and I am assuming not you either.
Who does not want the security that if you develop a health condition, you can still affordably maintain some coverage after your level-term period expires
Those are two underestimated advantages that Protective has.
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 companies analyze the company’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++, 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
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
This is also a question that I get asked frequently about life insurance companies, “What is the financial strength? I only want a life insurance company that is A rated”.
Some great life insurance companies exist who are slightly below that threshold. Although, they are still very reputable and good life insurance companies 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.
Working with a life insurance agent that knows the underwriting niches of multiple life insurance companies can serve as a huge benefit to your wallet. Why pay more for any life insurance policy if you don’t have to?
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 small business association (SBA) 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. 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 companies 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 least…
What is more important than top-notch customer service? We would suggest 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 life insurance company is best for you and your individual needs.
Before you make any decision on what life insurance company you are going to choose to protect your family, you need to do your homework. Use our websiteas a free resource to learn more about the top life insurance companies in the industry. Don’t like reading? Not a problem! Give one of our veteran agents a call or request a quote today, and they will bring you up to speed.