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New York Life Insurance Review 2020

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at a glance

  • NerdWallet ranking: No. 9 life insurance company
  • Customer service ratings are above average.
  • Doesn’t offer life insurance quotes online.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, not all companies are accepting new life insurance applications. For the latest information on how to cope with financial stress during this emergency, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

New York Life bills itself as the nation’s oldest mutual life insurance company. As a mutual insurer, New York Life is owned by its policyholders. Customers who buy certain products, such as whole life insurance, are entitled to a vote in board elections and share in any annual dividends. The company expects to pay out $1.9 billion in dividends in 2020.

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New York Life insurance

New York Life ranked No. 9 out of the 20 best life insurance companies as scored by NerdWallet. NerdWallet’s life insurance company rankings take into account financial strength, customer satisfaction and consumer complaints. NerdWallet scores the largest national life insurers selling policies to individuals.

New York Life offers both term and permanent life insurance policies. The company offers two types of term life insurance policies, both of which can be converted to permanent life insurance within a specified period:

  • Yearly convertible term life can be renewed each year. Premiums start low and increase each year. 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. When the level-premium period ends, your premium increases. The price also changes if the policy is converted.

New York Life offers a variety of whole life insurance 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 several life insurance add-ons such as coverage that protects you if you become disabled or terminally ill.

In addition, New York Life offers two other types of permanent life insurance:

  • Universal life, which allows you to adjust your premiums and benefit amounts if needed.
  • Variable universal life, which lets you decide how to invest the cash value of the policy.

New York Life complaints and customer satisfaction

New York Life drew significantly fewer complaints to state regulators than typically expected for a company of its size over the last three years, according to NerdWallet’s analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

New York Life scores above average for customer satisfaction overall, according to research firm J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study. The insurer scored “better than most” companies in three categories and “about average” in three categories. It ranked No. 8 overall among the 24 companies included in the survey.

Customer satisfaction category New York Life's score
Overall satisfactionBetter than most
Policy offeringsBetter than most
PriceBetter than most
Billing and paymentAbout average
InteractionAbout average
CommunicationAbout average
Application processBetter than most

More about New York Life

New York Life also offers additional financial products and services including annuities, long-term care insurance, mutual funds and workplace benefits.

Methodology: Insurer complaints

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2016-2018. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home and life insurance.