Best Life Insurance Companies

Our Top Life Insurance Company Picks – “Huntdex” Score

At Huntley Wealth, we realize you can’t just judge an insurance company by their A.M. Best, Comdex, or S&P rating.

Perhaps even more important is their:

  • Pricing (who has the lowest rates across the board?)
  • Underwriting Leniency (how forgiving are they of health concerns?)

We’ve ranked our top 10 life insurance companies by assigning them a score of 1-10, with 10 being the best, in the categories of pricing, financial strength, and underwriting leniency.  We’ve combined the 3 giving each one equal weight to come up with their Huntdex score.

Here is our selection of 2017’s Top 10 Life Insurance Companies:

  1. Banner Life Insurance: 27
  2. Prudential Life Insurance: 26
  3. Protective Life Insurance: 26
  4. Transamerica Life Insurance: 24
  5. American General: 24
  6. Voya: 23
  7. Savings Bank Life: 22
  8. Sagicor: 21
  9. MetLife: 21
  10. Principal: 21

What follows is a breakdown of how each company above scored in the areas of ratings, pricing, and underwriting leniency, the 3 factors we weighed to arrive at the Huntdex Score.

Insurance Company Pricing Financial Strength Underwriting Huntdex Score
Banner Life Insurance 10 9   8 27
Prudential Life Insurance 7 9 10 26
Protective Life Insurance 9 9 8 26
Transamerica Life Insurance 8 8 8 24
American General 8 8 8 24
Voya 8 8 7 23
Savings Bank Life 8 9 5 22
Sagicor 7 7 7 21
MetLife 6 9 6 21
Principal 6 9 6 21

More About Our Top Companies

1. Banner Life Insurance

Huntdex Score 27

Banner is our most recommended company.  They began in the United Kingdom in 1836 and is owned by Legal and General. The company operates in 49 states under the name “William Penn” in the state of New York.

Pricing – 10

Best Priced Life Insurance Companies 2016Banner is one of the best life insurance companies in the business when it comes to competitive pricing. Generally, when we review quotes provided, Banner frequently provides the top 5 lowest quotes.

Financial Ratings – 9

Banner has been given an A+ financial rating by A.M. Best, with a “stable” outlook. This means that Banner is an exceptional and financially stable company. They currently rank 8th among the U.S. term life marketplace, as measured by term life annualized new business premiums for 2015.  You can feel very confident that the company will meet all its financial obligations when it comes to paying out claims.

Underwriting Leniency – 9

Banner is a remarkable company when it comes to approving individuals with health issues, that many other insurers won’t consider. Not only is the company one of the most lenient, it also provides some the most competitive rates for those with certain health issues.

On several occasions we’ve gotten a standard rating from Banner for diabetics when other companies were quoting a 50% to 100% higher rate.  They’ve come through for us in some special epilepsy cases, where we’ve seen them approve at preferred rates where others would price the risk twice as high or even decline.

One of our favorite uses for Banner life is when an applicant’s parent has been diagnosed with (or died from) cancer.  99% of companies penalize you for that.  However, Banner only reduces your rate for family history if your parents had heart disease, such as coronary artery disease (CAD), NOT cancer.

Great company!

They’re definitely our all-around #1 favorite.

2. Prudential Life Insurance

We featured Prudential above as our top carrier for insuring people with pre-existing conditions.  Please see that review here.

3. Protective Life Insurance

Huntdex Score 26

Protective Life Insurance was founded in 1907 and is based in Birmingham, Alabama. The company operates in all 50 states. Protective was featured in 2012 in the Forbes Global 2000 and Fortune 1000 lists. 

Pricing – 9

Protective is exceptionally competitive when it comes to pricing and has some of the least expensive products for those who are 50 years of age or older. It also has one the best prices when it comes to Guaranteed Universal Life, and can lock in prices up to age 90.

Financial Ratings – 9

Protective has also been granted a superior rating of A+ by A.M. Best, due to the company’s overall and solid financial strength. The company currently has over $357 billion in life insurance and has over $70 billion in assets.

Underwriting Leniency – 8

Protective has some of the most lenient underwriting policies when it comes to seniors, moving violations, smokers and stay-at-home spouses. Additionally, the company is considered to be the number 1 option when it comes to individuals who have a history of heart disease, and is very liberal when it comes to cholesterol levels.

4. Transamerica

Huntdex Score 24

Transamerica was originally founded in 1928 and is based in Cedar Rapids in Iowa. The company has grown to become one of the top ranked life insurers in the U.S. and is part of the AEGON group of companies, which is considered to be one of the largest insurance organizations globally.

Pricing – 8top life insurance carriers for financial strength 2016

Transamerica is exceptionally competitive when it comes to pricing and has some of the least expensive products for those who are 71 years of age or older. The rates for Term insurance are also considered very competitive.

Financial Ratings – 8

A.M. Best has also provided Transamerica with a superior rating of A+ which makes it a solid and financially stable company. Transamerica presently has as much as 3% of the total market share for life insurance, which means for every 100 policies sold, 3 people will have purchased their insurance through this established and solid company. As of 2013, they have $1.133 billion dollars of life insurance in force.

While all companies in our top 10 list of best insurance carriers hold an “A” rating by A.M. Best, we’ve assigned an “8” to Transamerica for financial strength since their current outlook with A.M. Best is listed as “negative.”  That means they could possibly drop to an “A” rating soon.

Underwriting Leniency – 8

Transamerica has some of the most highly regarded underwriting policies as they apply to seniors, and has very liberal guidelines for those who are ages 71 and older. It also very lenient when it comes to those with certain health issues such as high cholesterol, hepatitis C and schizophrenia.

5. American General

Huntdex Score 24

American General was founded in 1919 and is the life insurance division of AIG or American International Group. American General is considered to be one of the world’s largest insurance companies and has over 88 million customers.

Pricing – 8

American General has very competitive rates and is our company of choice when it comes to particular health issues, as the company is much less strict especially when it comes to approving Term life insurance policies.

In a recent case, we took an individual to American General with a pacemaker.  He got a slightly substandard approval from AG, same as what he would have gotten with most of our carriers, but since American General’s “special case” pricing is so low, they blew away the rates at the other companies!

Financial Strength – 8

American General has been rated by A.M. Best as having an “A” rating (excellent) which means that the company is very financially secure and has the ability to honor all its claims.  For a short time, A.M. Best was reviewing American General considering a lower rating, but they recently affirmed the “A” rating and removed the review of negative implications.

Underwriting Leniency – 8

American General has some of the most lenient underwriting requirements for those between the ages of 18 – 66. It is also very liberal when it comes to cigar smokers, and is flexible with those who have certain health issues, in particular those who have Type 2 diabetes. It is also one of the go-to companies when it comes to providing policies for private pilots and foreign travelers.


Huntdex Score 23

VOYA was formerly known as ING, but separated from its parent company ING Group and re-branded itself as VOYA in 2014 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Pricing – 8

VOYA also has very competitive rates, particularly when it comes to certain Term policies. VOYA isn’t always the most competitive when it comes to pricing, but it is still so close to its competitors that we had to include the company in our top picks.

Financial Ratings – 8

VOYA also has a very solid financial base, as the company has been given an A rating by A.M. Best, which means that it is financially sound and reliable.

Underwriting Leniency – 7

VOYA is one of the very few companies that do not ask applicants if they have a family history of cancer, which can impact your rating.  VOYA also has very lenient underwriting policies when it comes to those with blood pressure issues, especially for older applicants age 61 and up. It is also more liberal for those who have higher cholesterol levels.

However, it’s not quite as good at underwriting as Banner or Prudential, which is why we give them a 7.

7. Savings Bank Life Insurance (SBLI)

Huntdex Score 22

SBLI was founded in 1907 and is presently located in Woburn, MA. The company operates in all sates, with the exclusion of New York and Montana. Although the products they offer vary from region to region, the majority of its products are available in all states in which they operate.

Pricing – 8

SBLI has some  of the most affordable term rates available and provides term products for up to 30 years, with its strongest product being the guaranteed level term policy. They rank consistently in the top ten for the most affordable term products and often in the top 5.

Financial Ratings – 9

SBLI is a very financially stable company and has been rated by A.M. Best has having a Superior A+ rating.

Underwriting Leniency – 6

Although SBLI is excellent when it comes to providing lower rates, they are more stringent when it comes to certain health issues, such as for those who have diabetes. They can also be somewhat strict with their underwriting policies on many other heath issues, so it can be difficult to get their top rates, which are why they rank a little lower on our top 10 list.


Huntdex Score 21

SAGICOR began as SAGICOR Financial Corporation in 1840. It provides both insurance and annuity products in over 22 countries. It operates as a publicly traded company and currently has assets of over $5.78 billion and operates in 45 states including the District of Columbia.

Pricing – 7

SAGICOR has some most affordable term rates available and provides term products for up to 30 years with its strongest product being the guaranteed level term policy.

Financial Ratings – 7

SAGICOR is a solid company, but is not rated as high as other competitors, because it was ranked A- by A.M. Best.  Don’t be dismayed, this is still considered a solid rating and the company is very finically sound. 

Underwriting Leniency – 7top rated insurance companies 2014

One of the main products that we prefer, and for which SAGICOR excels above the rest, are their Non-Medical Life insurance policiesThis is our go to company for many clients who prefer a non-medical life insurance policy. Their underwriters are easy to work with and they excel for those with specific needs.

9. MetLife

Huntdex Score 21

MetLife or Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. can trace its origins back to 1863 and is firmly established throughout the world, serving approximately 100 million clients. A review of it assets in 2014 shows that it has nearly $475 billion worth of assets and is very established and one of the most recognized names in the life insurance industry.

Pricing – 6

MetLife prices are somewhat higher than many of the other top 10 competitors on our list. This is why we ranked it lower, as their products tend to cost more.

Financial Ratings – 9

MetLife has an especially strong financial footing and stellar position when it comes to financial ratings as it has been given a superior rating by A.M. Best of A++ so you know there are no issues with this company.

Underwriting Leniency – 6

The good thing about MetLife is their underwriting is relatively lenient which is one of the main reasons we like this company. It is much more flexible than many other insurers when it comes to its underwriting policies for a variety of health issues.

10. Principal

Huntdex Score 21

Principal was founded over 135 years ago and has an established reputation in the insurance industry. The company provides their service in over 18 countries and its parent company (Principal Financial Group) is listed as a Fortune 500 company.

Pricing – 6

We especially like Principal for No-Medical exam life insurance policies as they provide some of the lowest quotes in the industry. Prices tend to be not much higher than what they charge for policies which do require an exam. That being said, they are bit pricier than other companies for policies which do require an exam.

Financial Rating – 9

Being part of a Fortune 500 company you can rest comfortably assured that Principal has a very solid financial footing and has been rated by A.M. Best as having an A+ or Excellent rating.

Underwriting Leniency – 6

Principal provides great rates and relatively easy guidelines for healthy individuals but they can be a bit stricter than other companies when it comes to underwriting policies for those who have health issues. It is also one of the very few companies which can provide up to $1 million for a No-Medical exam policy, and has very fast turnaround period when it comes to processing an application.

Honorable Mentions: