The Best Life Insurance Companies for 2017

Insurance, Life Insurance

There are hundreds of life insurance companies competing for your business and often selling very similar products. Finding the best life insurance company typically involves weighing customer satisfaction, financial strength and price.

Below are insights into customer satisfaction and financial strength, which is a measure of how well insurers can pay claims in the future. It’s smart to gather several price quotes when you’re shopping for insurance, and finding quotes from multiple companies is easy with NerdWallet’s life insurance comparison tool.

Our calculations show that Northwestern Mutual is the best life insurance company among those we scored, and many others also are worthy of consideration.

The best life insurance companies

No. 1No. 2No. 3
Northwestern MutualMassMutualGuardian Life

No. 1No. 2No. 3
Northwestern MutualMassMutualGuardian Life

No. 1
Northwestern Mutual
No. 2
MassMutual
No. 3
Guardian Life

RankCompanyNerdWallet's score
1Northwestern Mutual280 out of 300
2MassMutual278 out of 300
3Guardian Life276 out of 300
4State Farm Life273 out of 300
5Mutual of Omaha272 out of 300
6Lincoln Financial269 out of 300
7New York Life267 out of 300
8Nationwide266 out of 300
9Principal Financial262 out of 300
10AXA Equitable260 out of 300
11John Hancock259 out of 300
12Protective249 out of 300
13Primerica247 out of 300
14Voya235 out of 300
15MetLife233 out of 300
16Transamerica217 out of 300
17Prudential212 out of 300
18AIG162 out of 300

 

We started with a list of the largest life insurance companies and then calculated a total score based on three measurements, each with equal weight within the score. We then adjusted scores to a 300-point scale:

  1. Customer satisfaction scores from J.D. Power, worth up to 100 points. Companies without a J.D. Power score were excluded.
  2. Complaint ratios from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for 2015, which measure complaints adjusted for market share. We adjusted the complaint ratios to a 100-point scale, with the worst performer within the group getting zero and the top performer getting 100.
  3. Financial strength ratings from A.M. Best, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims, worth up to 100 points. All of the companies shown have solid financial strength.

A closer look at the best life insurance companies

1. Northwestern Mutual

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)NerdWallet's full company review
280 out of 300
799 out of 850A++ (superior)Northwestern Mutual

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)NerdWallet's full company review
280 out of 300
799 out of 850A++ (superior)Northwestern Mutual

NerdWallet score280 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction799 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A++ (superior
NerdWallet's full company reviewNorthwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual came out on top of our rankings thanks to its top-notch performance among the top three insurers we looked at in all categories. The insurer sells term life, whole life, universal life and variable life insurance policies. Northwestern also offers annuities, disability insurance, long-term care insurance, education funding plans and investment services.


NerdWallet is a free tool to find you the best credit cards, cd rates, savings, checking accounts, scholarships, healthcare and airlines. Start here to maximize your rewards or minimize your interest rates. NerdWallet

Northwestern Mutual


No. 2: MassMutual

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)NerdWallet's full company review
278 out of 300
780 out of 850A++ (superior)MassMutual

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)NerdWallet's full company review
278 out of 300
780 out of 850A++ (superior)MassMutual

NerdWallet score278 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction780 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A++ (superior)
NerdWallet's full company reviewMassMutual

MassMutual offers a full range of financial products and services, including quick term life insurance in many states through two online businesses: Haven Life and ValoraLife. In addition to term life, MassMutual offers whole life, universal life and variable universal life plans, along with annuities, disability insurance, long-term care insurance, workplace benefits and investment services.


NerdWallet is a free tool to find you the best credit cards, cd rates, savings, checking accounts, scholarships, healthcare and airlines. Start here to maximize your rewards or minimize your interest rates. NerdWallet

MassMutual


No. 3: Guardian Life

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)NerdWallet's full company review
276 out of 300
760 out of 850A++ (superior)Guardian Life

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)NerdWallet's full company review
276 out of 300
760 out of 850A++ (superior)Guardian Life

NerdWallet score276 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction760 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A++ (superior)
NerdWallet's full company reviewGuardian Life

Guardian Life is another solid all-around choice; its complaint index tied for second-best among companies we surveyed, although its customer satisfaction scores were closer to average. The company offers term life, whole life, universal life and variable universal life plans, along with disability income insurance, annuities, wealth management and investment services, individual dental insurance and workplace benefits, including 401(k) plans.


NerdWallet is a free tool to find you the best credit cards, cd rates, savings, checking accounts, scholarships, healthcare and airlines. Start here to maximize your rewards or minimize your interest rates. NerdWallet

Guardian Life


No. 4: State Farm Life

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)NerdWallet's full company review
273 out of 300
828 out of 850A++ (superior)State Farm

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)NerdWallet's full company review
273 out of 300
828 out of 850A++ (superior)State Farm

NerdWallet score273 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction828 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A++ (superior)
NerdWallet's full company reviewState Farm

If satisfaction matters to you above all else, it’s hard to go wrong with State Farm Life: The insurer notched the highest score among all insurers surveyed in J.D. Power’s annual customer satisfaction rankings. The insurer offers term life, whole life, universal life and variable universal life insurance.


NerdWallet is a free tool to find you the best credit cards, cd rates, savings, checking accounts, scholarships, healthcare and airlines. Start here to maximize your rewards or minimize your interest rates. NerdWallet

State Farm Life


No. 5: Mutual of Omaha

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)NerdWallet's full company review
272 out of 300
766 out of 850A+ (superior)Mutual of Omaha

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)NerdWallet's full company review
272 out of 300
766 out of 850A+ (superior)Mutual of Omaha

NerdWallet score272 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction766 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A+ (superior)
NerdWallet's full company reviewMutual of Omaha

Among companies we surveyed, Mutual of Omaha gets the fewest number of complaints to state regulators for a company of its size. Mutual of Omaha offers term life, whole life and universal life insurance plans, along with annuities, critical illness and disability insurance, long-term care insurance and Medicare supplement plans.


NerdWallet is a free tool to find you the best credit cards, cd rates, savings, checking accounts, scholarships, healthcare and airlines. Start here to maximize your rewards or minimize your interest rates. NerdWallet

Mutual of Omaha


The rest

No. 6: Lincoln Financial

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
269 out of 300
744 out of 850A+ (superior)Lincoln Financial review



NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
269 out of 300
744 out of 850A+ (superior)Lincoln Financial review



NerdWallet score269 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction744 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A+ (superior)
Learn moreLincoln Financial review


NO. 7: New York Life

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
267 out of 300
774 out of 850A++ (superior)New York Life review



NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
267 out of 300
774 out of 850A++ (superior)New York Life review



NerdWallet score267 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction774 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A++ (superior)
Learn moreNew York Life review


NO. 8: Nationwide

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
266 out of 300
806 out of 850A+ (superior)Nationwide review



NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
266 out of 300
806 out of 850A+ (superior)Nationwide review



NerdWallet score266 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction806 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A+ (superior)
Learn moreNationwide review


NO. 9: Principal Financial

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
262 out of 300
774 out of 850A+ (superior)Principal Financial review


NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
262 out of 300
774 out of 850A+ (superior)Principal Financial review


NerdWallet score262 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction774 out of 850 rating="5.0"]
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A+ (superior)
Learn morePrincipal Financial review

NO. 10: AXA Equitable

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
260 out of 300
752 out of 850A+ (superior)AXA Equitable review



NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
260 out of 300
752 out of 850A+ (superior)AXA Equitable review



NerdWallet score260 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction752 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A+ (superior)
Learn moreAXA Equitable review


NO. 11: John Hancock

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
259 out of 300
739 out of 850A+ (superior)John Hancock



NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
259 out of 300
739 out of 850A+ (superior)John Hancock



NerdWallet score259 out of 300
Complaints
259 out of 300739 out of 850
259 out of 300A+ (superior)
259 out of 300John Hancock


NO. 12: Protective

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
249 out of 300
742 out of 850A+ (superior)Protective review



NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
249 out of 300
742 out of 850A+ (superior)Protective review



NerdWallet score249 out of 300
NerdWallet score
J.D. Power customer satisfaction742 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A+ (superior)
Learn moreProtective review


NO. 13: Primerica

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
247 out of 300
717 out of 850A+ (superior)Primerica review


NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
247 out of 300
717 out of 850A+ (superior)Primerica review


NerdWallet score247 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction717 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A+ (superior)
Learn morePrimerica review

NO. 14: Voya

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
235 out of 300
745 out of 850A (excellent)Voya review



NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
235 out of 300
745 out of 850A (excellent)Voya review



NerdWallet score235 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction745 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A (excellent)
Learn moreVoya review


NO. 15: MetLife

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
233 out of 300
779 out of 850A+ (superior)MetLife review



NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
233 out of 300
779 out of 850A+ (superior)MetLife review



NerdWallet score233 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction779 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A+ (superior)
Learn moreMetLife review


NO. 16: Transamerica

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
217 out of 300
719 out of 850A+ (superior)Transamerica review



NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
217 out of 300
719 out of 850A+ (superior)Transamerica review



NerdWallet score217 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction719 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A+ (superior)
Learn moreTransamerica review


NO. 17: Prudential

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
212 out of 300
770 out of 850A+ (superior)Prudential review



NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
212 out of 300
770 out of 850A+ (superior)Prudential review



NerdWallet score212 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction770 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A+ (superior)
Learn morePrudential review


NO. 18: AIG

NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
162 out of 300
718 out of 850A (excellent)AIG review


NerdWallet scoreComplaintsJ.D. Power customer satisfactionA.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)Learn more
162 out of 300
718 out of 850A (excellent)AIG review


NerdWallet score162 out of 300
Complaints
J.D. Power customer satisfaction718 out of 850
A.M. Best financial strength (indicates ability to pay claims)A (excellent)
Learn moreAIG review

Updated March 2, 2017.