The largest life insurance companies are also the companies that have ben around the longest in the United Stats. They have multiple-billion dollar market capitalizations are are generally all publicly-listed companies. Life insurance is one of Warren Buffet's favorite investments because the premiums are stronger than the payouts.
The size and longevity of life insurance companies is important because you want the life insurance company to be financially strong enough to survive and payout a claim, in case there is a timely death.
Largest Four Life Insurance Companies
The largest four life insurance companies are:
- MetLife/Brighthouse Financial
- Northwestern Mutual
- New York Life
Each company has at least a 5% market share of the life insurance marker. Therefore, combined, these four life insurance companies account for more than 20% of the overall life insurance market.
The next largest life insurance companies are:
5. Lincoln National
7. John Hancock
Each of the next four largest life insurance companies hold roughly a 3% marketshare each. Therefore, the combined marketshare for the top eight life insurance companies is over 32%.
If you want to apply for life insurance, you can go on each of the eight life insurance company's websites and apply. But a much more efficient way is to apply for life insurance on PolicyGenius, the best life insurance marketplace where these companies compete for your business
It's much more efficient to apply for life insurance on PolicyGenius and see multiple quotes in one place and then go from there. Nearly 60% of Americans carry some form of life insurance, according to the latest figures for 2020.
Let's review each of the largest life insurance companies below so you are ready to make an informed decision once you get an online quote back.
Brighthouse Financial (MetLife)
In 2017, MetLife spun off U.S. retail business as an independent company called Brighthouse Financial Inc. You might know MetLife from all of its Snoopy commercials.
MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) is the biggest life insurance company in the U.S. as of 2020. It boasts over 90 million customers around the world in 2020, with a major market share in the U.S., Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.
MetLife ranks among the world's largest companies in any industry. It reported net income of over 5 billion in 2019. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, MetLife and all the other life insurance companies have seen their share prices fall.
MetLife offers a variety of insurance products, annuities, employee benefits programs, and asset management services. MetLife has operations in nearly 50 countries.
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company covers more than 6% of the American market. In addition to its life insurance and other insurance products, the company offers annuities, investment products, and financial planning services. The company reported revenue of over $30 billion in 2019.
As a mutual insurance company, Northwestern Mutual is managed for the benefit of policyholders rather than stockholders. Policyholder benefits amounted to $11.4 billion in 2018, up from $10.3 billion in 2017. The company is privately-owned.
New York Life
New York Life Insurance Company has more than a 5% of the U.S. life insurance market. Apart from its life insurance business, New York Life also sells long-term care insurance, annuities, and mutual funds, and operates a growing investment management business.
New York Life is a mutual insurance company and is not publicly traded. It reported over $2.5 billion in operating earnings for 2019, a record high.
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU) is a publicly-traded financial services conglomerate offering insurance products, annuities, mutual funds, investment management services, and other products. The company operates in 43 countries in North and South America, Europe and Asia.
Prudential's life insurance business has a market share of about 5%. The company's worldwide consolidated revenue was more than $65 billion in 2019.
Lincoln National Corp. (NYSE: LNC) is a financial services company offering life insurance products, long-term care insurance products, annuities, and retirement plan services. It does not operate outside the U.S. The company and its subsidiaries are marketed to consumers under the Lincoln Financial Group brand.
Lincoln National has about a 4% share of the total life insurance market. Curiously, most people have never heard of Lincoln National because they hardly advertise.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, known as MassMutual, is the sixth-biggest life insurer in the U.S. and the third mutual company on his list. MassMutual's market share is a bit under 4%.
MassMutual posted a net loss in 2018, but is climbing its way back.
John Hancock Financial has operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canadian insurance giant, Manulife Financial Corp. (NYSE: MFC) since 2004.
In addition to life insurance policies, the company offers long-term care insurance policies, mutual funds, retirement plans, and college savings plans. It has been headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, for 150 years.
John Hancock holds about 3% of the U.S. market for life insurance.
While Transamerica Corporation was established in San Francisco in 1930, it has operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Dutch life insurance company, Aegon N.V, since 1999. Transamerica is famous for its Transamerica pyramid building in San Francisco.
In addition to life insurance products, Transamerica offers long-term care insurance, annuities, mutual funds, and pension plans. Transamerica has a U.S. life insurance market share of about 3%.
Best Way To Get Affordable Life Insurance
If you want to get affordable life insurance, stick with the above eight life insurance companies. It's important to get life insurance if you have children, a non-working spouse, and liabilities like a mortgage, student loans, credit card debt, and car loans.
Check out PolicyGenius, the best life insurance marketplace where you can apply for affordable policies and have multiple life insurance companies show their competitive quotes. From there, you can choose the life insurance policy that best suits your needs. Below is a sample of various policy offerings for a 35-year-old male.
Remember, life insurance is an act of love and kindness for the people who depend on you. I feel so fortunate to have a $1 million term policy I bought before my children are born. By the time the policy runs out, I will have paid off all my debt. Life insurance is worth it for the peace of mind, especially when the world is experiencing an uncertain future.
About the Author: Sam worked in investment banking for 13 years. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from The College of William & Mary and got his MBA from UC Berkeley. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $250,000 a year in passive income. He spends time playing tennis and taking care of his family. Financial Samurai was started in 2009 and is one of the most trusted personal finance sites on the web with over 1.5 million pageviews a month.