The largest life insurance companies

Life insurance can provide a financial safety net for your loved ones if you pass away. It can be overwhelming to figure out the best life insurance companies to purchase a policy from. Researching the largest life insurance companies in the U.S. can provide a guide to some of the top options, as the majority of Americans work with large life insurance providers. The top 10 largest life insurance providers account for nearly 53.1% of market share. Large life insurance companies often provide a significant web of resources and the likelihood of financial stability to customers.

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List of life insurance companies

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) keeps an updated list of the largest life insurance companies. The list is ordered by market share, calculated based on the value of premiums written per year.

Northwestern Mutual is the largest life insurance company, according to 2022 NAIC data, holding a little over 7 percent of market share. Northwestern Mutual is followed closely by New York Life Group and Metropolitan Group, holding 6.45 percent and 6.37 percent of market share, respectively. Also on the list are many other life insurance companies you will likely find familiar. We have also included each company’s rating in the 2022 J.D. Power U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study to help you get a sense of customers’ satisfaction with each company.

Rank Company Market share Premiums written (billions) J.D. Power rating (774 industry average)
1 Northwestern Mutual Group 7.20% 13.944 791/1,000
2 New York Life Group 6.45% 12.480 775/1,000
3 Metropolitan Group 6.37% 12.325 786/1,000
4 Prudential of America Group 5.45% 10.547 773/1,000
5 Mass Mutual Life Insurance Group 4.93% 9.550 780/1,000
6 Lincoln National Group 4.42% 8.562 764/1,000
7 Nationwide Corporate Group 3.15% 6.101 791/1,000
8 State Farm 2.84% 5.505 839/1,000
9 Minnesota Mutual Group (Securian) 2.61% 5.047 754/1,000
10 Transamerica (Aegon US Holding Group) 2.60% 5.035 740/1,000

Choosing small vs. large life insurance companies

When choosing the best life insurance company, is it best to stick with an insurer on the list of life insurance companies who write the most premiums? Not necessarily. There are certainly advantages to going with a major insurer, but taking a look at smaller companies is, at the very least, worthy of consideration.

What to look for beyond size

The most obvious reason to go with a large life insurance company is that they typically have more financial assets and, therefore, probably have an easier time achieving financial stability. A company’s financial stability rating is a good indicator of the company’s historic ability to pay out claims. Choosing a company with a high financial strength score may provide peace of mind when buying life insurance, as it is considered a financial product.

AM Best rates the ability of insurance companies to meet their insurance obligations on a scale from A++ (Superior) to C (Poor). The financial strength scores of A++ (Superior) and A+ (Excellent) are highly coveted.

There are other factors to consider, as well. Things like a company’s business ethics, customer service, community endeavors and technology development are all things that can help one company to stand out over another.

Choosing a large life insurance company

Large life insurance companies also tend to have more years in the business. Northwestern Mutual, for example, the biggest life insurance company in 2022, was founded in 1857. With more than a century and a half writing policies, this company is a leader in the industry with a strong track record of policyholder satisfaction.

The digital tools offered by large life insurers are often superior to those offered by smaller competitors. For example, you might be able to manage your life insurance policy through a smartphone app or get instant quotes online from a company that has the resources to put into these features. Smaller companies may not have the budget to develop advanced technological tools.

On a similar note, larger life insurance companies can sometimes offer easier access to customer service channels. You may be able to get in touch with a company representative without having to pick up the phone, thanks to mobile apps and live web chat. But if you would rather dial in, larger companies typically extend phone hours or even provide 24/7 support.

Choosing a small life insurance company

On the other hand, small life insurance companies can sometimes have the upper hand by providing more tailored and personalized customer service. If you do business with a small life insurer, you might work with the same representative for years or even decades. This type of relationship may offer better recommendations for your individual needs – not to mention possibly providing friendlier and more personal service overall.

Smaller life insurance companies sometimes provide more specialized coverage. For example, some small life insurers are created specifically for certain groups such as military members or educators. A small specialty life insurer might also be a good choice if you are looking for a very precise type of coverage, such as final expense insurance.

Last but not least, if you have been denied coverage from a major life insurance company, it is worth asking around with smaller competitors. While large life insurers can afford to turn down customers, small companies may be more flexible in order to win business. It is possible that a smaller insurer may be willing to accept greater risk than a larger insurance company.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the largest life insurance company?

    The largest life insurance company as of 2022 is Northwestern Mutual, a national life insurance company. Northwestern wrote around $13.9 billion in premiums and held 7.20 percent of market share in the life insurance industry in 2022.

  • Is it better to choose a large life insurance company?

    Every insurance company is different, whether large or small. But there are a few reasons you might want to go with a large life insurance company. Larger insurers might have more years in business and could have more financial assets, which might mean a better chance at long-term stability. These companies may also offer policies with higher death benefit amounts. Major life insurers sometimes also have better customer resources, such as digital tools and apps, and a more accessible customer service department. These advantages may not be true for every large life insurance company, however, so you may want to do a little research to find out more about each company’s reputation before purchasing a policy.

  • What are the advantages of a small life insurance company?

    There are many advantages to working with a small life insurance company. Because they are small, these companies are usually able to offer more customized options and more personal care to their customers. Additionally, small life insurance companies are more likely to work with customers who have been denied life insurance from large insurance companies.

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