at a glance
- NerdWallet ranking: No. 10 life insurance company (out of 23 evaluated).
- Customer service ratings are average.
- Doesn’t offer life insurance quotes online.
New York Life bills itself as the nation’s oldest mutual life insurance company. Being a mutual insurer means that customers who buy certain products, such as whole life insurance policies, become part owners of the company and are entitled to a vote in board elections and share in any annual dividends.
Learn more about each element that goes into our review of New York Life by clicking below.
NerdWallet rank: 10th
New York Life ranked No. 10 out of 23 large companies scored by NerdWallet. NerdWallet’s life insurance company rankings take into account A.M. Best financial strength ratings, J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction scores and the volume of consumer complaints against companies to state regulators.
A.M. Best financial strength rating: A++ (superior)
New York Life’s financial strength is “superior,” according to ratings agency A.M. Best.
Financial strength is important because it indicates how well an insurer can pay claims. It’s especially important when choosing a life insurance company, because claims might not be made until many decades after a policy is purchased.
Consumer complaints: Better than the median
New York Life drew significantly fewer than the median number of complaints to state regulators in 2017 for a company of its size, according to the latest data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
The association assigns a complaint ratio score to insurance companies, based on the number of complaints to state insurance commissioners, adjusted for market share. The median score is 1, and a score less than 1 means fewer complaints.
The average score for New York Life Insurance Co. and a subsidiary, New York Life Insurance & Annuity Corp., was 0.14 for individual life insurance in 2017. The average score was weighted according to their market shares.
J.D. Power ratings: Average
New York Life ranks “about average” for customer service, according to research firm J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Life Insurance Study. The insurer ranked No. 12 overall among the 24 companies included in the survey.
|Customer satisfaction category||New York Life's score|
|Overall satisfaction||"About average"|
|Billing and payment||"About average"|
|Policy offerings||"About average"|
More about New York Life
|Types of life insurance sold||Other products & services|
New York Life offers two types of term life insurance:
- Yearly convertible term life can be renewed each year without providing health information. Each year the annual price increases by a guaranteed amount for 10 years. After that, the policy can be renewed, but the prices aren’t locked in. All or part of the coverage can be converted to permanent life insurance during the first 10 years. The price changes if the policy is converted.
- Level-premium term life policies have terms of 10 to 20 years. The premium stays the same through the entire term. All or part of the coverage is convertible to permanent life insurance during the first 10 years. The price changes if the policy is converted.
New York Life offers a variety of whole life options, including one that lets the policyholder customize the payment schedule. This gives customers the flexibility to pay off the coverage early, eliminating premiums in later years. The company also offers survivorship whole life for couples, which insures both spouses on one policy. The policy pays out when the second person dies.
New York Life also offers long-term care insurance and annuities. Like many other long-term care policies, the company’s NYL Secure Care coverage pays for care in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care centers and at home. The unique twist is it reimburses family members who provide care at home.
Customers are eligible to receive dividends from the company after holding the long-term care policy for 10 years. The dividends are not guaranteed, but they can be used to help pay premiums.