What Does a Life Insurance Company Rating Mean?

Most people, comfortable with their own sense of immortality, might look to a Life Insurance Company rating as an indication of the lowest premiums for x amount of Life Insurance. A bit more important is the Company’s financial stability and its ability to pay its claims.

When you are shopping for Life Insurance and feel all proud of yourself for being responsible and taking care of the risk management portion of your long term financial planning process, it is easy to concentrate solely on the cost of premiums. After all, most people are expecting to lost their wager with the Insurance Company and are getting Insurance for the “what if” and not the “when.”

Yet, although comparative premiums play a part in the Life Insurance Company rating, financial stability is a more important consideration. If an Insurance Agent offered you a million dollar term policy for a couple of cents a year, it might seem like a very, very good deal. Yet, if the Company has folded up shop and moved to Central America when your beneficiaries come looking for their payout, it was really a wasted couple of cents.

In the world of permanent Life Insurance and the combination of Life Insurance with savings and investment, financial stability and a good track record in selecting and managing your investment are the factors that constitute a good Insurance Company Rating. The ratings and evaluations of any single Company are subject to change during the life of your policy. The need to understand ratings and to follow them closely does not end when the policy is purchased.

There are several reputable Rating services and they present their ratings online, so it is easy to obtain them. In addition, the Insurance regulatory agencies of most States can provide additional information on Company performance. The Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) provides a Seal of Approval to Companies with ethical standards and a good performance records.

Remember, the Life Insurance Company Rating is a combination of a number of factors. These include competitive rate comparisons, but more important are the ratings that indicate long term financial stability and a good performance and investment track record. The ratings are tools that can be used to make the important choices involved in the selection of the best Company for your Insurance needs. Make sure you use them and do not be afraid to discuss them and their meaning with your Insurance Agent.

AmerUS Life Insurance Company Review

AmerUS Life Insurance Company has been a leading provider in life insurance policies in the United States. Their main website lets customers know that the company started in the year 1896 when it was founded as a Central Life Assurance Company. Although the company itself did not grow much from the start, through the span of the years it got the people needed to operate correctly and be successful at becoming a primary life insurance company in the United States. It was not until the year 1996 that the company actually acquired the name AmerUS Life Insurance Company and at that time they actually started to organize as a stock insurance company.

Things continue to grow and after the year 2000 they acquired Indianapolis Life Insurance and finally closed the year with an estimated $21.5 billion in assets. The big news about AmerUS took place in the year 2006 where AmerUS and Aviva Corporation signed an agreement under which Aviva acquired them and paid $69 per share in cash. This meant that all their operations would be combined and the business would have their headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa.

Life insurance in the United States is just starting to be a big thing. In the past nobody thought that life insurance was the right thing to get, and some people actually thought that it would be a waste of money to buy. With present events such as 9/11, Americans have come to their senses and have actually realized that accidents can happen to anyone at anytime and for that reason it is always better to be prepared.

With the market for life insurance increasing, it is not a surprise that more and more life insurance companies are being created. With so many companies it is hard to know which one of them is the best one for you. That is why a customer must always try and shop around either online or in person. If you locate a company that you think might be the one and when you compare its price to other companies you find that it’s not that expensive, and then you will feel much confident in signing with them.

When you try to log into the main website for AmerUS you will be directed to a letter from the Aviva Life Insurance Company. Since both of the companies combined and are being run under Aviva’s name it is important to know about them. Aviva is the world’s fifth largest insurance group and it is the biggest provider of life insurance in the United Kingdom. The company is huge and it employs about 58,000 people that serve an estimated 35 million customers around the globe. They are one of the strongest life insurance and long term service Product Company with assets of over $600 billion and more than $65 billion in sales. The company itself is based in London, England and its history can be traced back to the year 1696. This means that the company is over 300 years old and for this reason it has the recognition and world fame that not many other can claim.

AmerUs Life Insurance Company (now called Aviva Life and Annuity Company) offers many life insurance products that can help someone establish financial security for the future in case of an unexpected death. Some of the products offered by this company in the United States are Indexed Life Insurance, Universal Life Insurance, Single Premium Life, Indexed Survivor Universal Life, Level Premium Term Insurance and Excess Interest Whole Life Insurance.

Indexed Life Insurance: This type of life insurance allows people to have flexible payment options and death benefits. What is good about this type of policy is that it provides cash value accumulation based on how leading market indices grow. It is also good to note that this type of policy also protects the policy from the risks of a downside market and a drop in the indices. If you purchase what Aviva calls the “no Lapse Guarantee Rider” on your “Advantage Builder” part of the policy, the death benefit in the policy can be extended to the entire life of the person insured.

Universal Life Insurance: This type of life insurance is a very common type of permanent life insurance in the American market. This type of policy will actually specify the amount a beneficiary to the policy gets within certain minimum and maximum limits. This will allow the policy holder to actually buy the amount of life insurance that he or she prefers.

Single Premium Life: This type of policy is unique in that the person will only pay a single one time premium for a death benefit that will actually last a lifetime. This is primarily designed for individuals that have savings or that need cash when they have an emergency.

Indexed Survivor Universal Life: This type of life insurance company is one in which two lives are insured (more than likely a couple) and pays the benefit after the second person dies. In other words, if a husband dies before his wife; the policy will not be reimbursed to the beneficiary. It also has the potential to accumulate cash value that in the end will be given to the beneficiary after both people in the policy die.

Level Premium Term Insurance: Perhaps the most famous type of life insurance in the United States because it is not permanent. This type of insurance simply allows a policy holder to have protection for a specified period of time. In AmerUS (now Aviva) people can purchase 10, 15, 20 or 30 year term policies based on the needs that they have. This type of policy does not accrue cash value, but it will pay the beneficiary the amount that the policy holder purchases in case of the policy holder’s death.

Excess Interest Whole Life Insurance: There products are made to ensure that professionals, business owners, individuals and executives get what they need from the life insurance industry. What this type of policy does is give you fixed premiums and guarantees you death benefits.

As you can see AmerUS has gone far beyond what many life insurance companies have achieved. With the joint help of Aviva of North America, these two companies have taken the life insurance market in the United States to a whole new level. To decide if AmerUS and Aviva may be a good life insurance choice for your needs then be sure and carefully research your options with a licensed Aviva life insurance agent.

Could Your Life Insurance Company Fail?

Life insurance policies provide your family the much needed financial stability in case of your sudden demise. This becomes all the more essential when the breadwinner of the family is gone suddenly. Your family can still meet their vital needs and maintain the same standard of living that was available that they had earlier. However, what if the insurance company goes bust?

Like in case of a bank, your insurance company could also go bankrupt. However, this does not mean that all your hard earned money is gone forever and you are left penniless. This is because every insurer is monitored by IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) on a regular basis. The insurer is also supposed to maintain a solvency margin for recovery in case of an unfortunate incident.
What are the Safety Measures

There are various measures and regulations undertaken by the government and IRDA so that your money is always safe, even if the insurer goes bust. There are various strict guidelines and regulations that ensure that one or two serious incidents or financial loss doesn’t result in the company going down. The two main acts that cover all these regulations and are the foundations of various activities that are carried out in the field of insurance are:

• The Insurance Act 1938

• The Insurance Regulatory and Development Act 1999

The various guidelines and regulations are the following:

• Every insurance company has to be registered and needs a license from the relevant authorities. This will prevent fraud companies from carrying out their illegal operations and duping investors.

• The process of registration and renewal has to be strictly followed by every insurance company.

• A solvency amount of Rs 150 crores has to be submitted with RBI, under IRDA. This is safety deposit money that is kept for compensation to customers in case the company goes bankrupt.

• Every insurance company is required to be attached to a re-insurance company. The re-insurance company will take up the legal responsibility of reimbursement of insurance claims of customers, in case the insurer goes bankrupt.

• There are strict regulations regarding the minimum capital requirements, funds, accounts and management of the companies.

• There are also strict guidelines regarding the amount of cash companies can invest in stock markets, individual stocks etc.

What Else Can You Do?

On the other hand, to be doubly sure, you might invest your money with different insurers in different policies. This reduces the risk of losing all your insurance cover in case one of the insurers goes bust. However, it has a downside that you will be paying a policy fee for multiple policies to different insurers. Also, you will be missing out on the discounts and other benefits that one insurer gives on a single bulk policy. Also, when you get life insurance, you must go for online life insurance that will enable you to choose the best and most reliable insurance company.

With the strict guidelines and regulations, it is almost impossible for any insurance company to go bankrupt in India. You can therefore be confident and fully assured that your hard earned money will be safe with the insurance companies. If at all anything unfortunate happens, IRDA and the Finance ministry in the Central government will ensure that your and other customers’ issues are addressed and your money recovered.

Insurance Companies Listings and Ratings Guide For Insurance Agents & Brokers

Here is the newest, revised version of the best insurance companies listings. These are compiled in a top 100 ratings guide format. The listings are in alphabetical order helping insurance agents & brokers locate an insurer. Find out how your opinion compares. How can you possibly rate an insurance company? I will mention briefly the various ways, show you the method I is used for this article, and why.

BY NUMBER OF AGENTS

This ratings guide listing method evaluates the insurer by the sheer number of insurance agents & brokers currently licensed and under contract. with carrier. I feel this evaluation to be worthless for a multitude of reasons. First of all there are a number of career health and life insurance agencies that have thousands of representatives. However, of these,up to 80% of the total agents are relatively new in attempting to establish credibility in the industry. Four years down the line only 6% of many an insurance company agency force will maintain enough production to stay career representatives.

Moreover, my findings uncover inaccuracy of this method due to licensing renewal process state insurance departments impose on the insurer. Most state departments of insurance send the renewal report forms on a yearly basis. There is a fee to be paid by each ins agent renewed. What makes it difficult is the variation of different paperwork procedures by individual states for removing non-active ins reps. The paperwork consists of costly, time consuming forms and procedures for the insurance company to make any changes. Renewing all the sales representatives is often cheaper, and thus the route the insurer frequently takes. This also gives the insurance company bragging rights to how many sales people write for them.

Personally I was shown in state insurance department records as licensed for 11 years after I wrote my last case.

INSURANCE CO FINANCIAL RANKING LISTINGS
There are four or five top independent firms that employ this insurer rating of a company based on a multitude of financial factors. A lot has to do with projecting the financial stability of the insurer. This is accomplished by closely dissecting past and present financial history. It covers how the insurer investments perform, and the rate of return. An insurance evaluation also takes in consideration the amount of cash on hand, and how much exists in reserves to pay present and future claims.

There is a consensus among life insurance association members into believing that the highest rated insurers are the best of the bunch. Yet association members make up less than 12% of the total producer base. The other insurance agents and brokers, (the majority), do not agree that these are always the best ones to use for their client’s needs. Logic tells you that a newer quality insurer does not have past history to start out top ranked. In my situation, clients bought what I presented them. Nearly half the time it was NOT the highest rated company by the rating firms. I however sold the client what their emotional needs demanded. Many past insurance companies with rankings in the best 100 later financially failed, and still frequently do in today’s world.

BY RANKING OF PREMIUMS COLLECTED

This is a very common type of insurance company listing & ranking to produce. Insurance companies are rated by total number of premiums they collected that year. It seems rather unfair to mix annuity premiums in with all dollars collected. Producers know it is easier to sell a $20,000 annuity than a $20,000 premium term insurance policy. The other fault I find with using total premiums collected is with who actually contributed a chunk of the premiums collected. With some companies an enormous amount of these premiums were not collected by the average sales person. A lot of institutional buyers directly bought hundreds of thousands of dollars of annuity premiums.

BY RATINGS IMPORTANT TO HEALTH & LIFE SELLERS

This is my way. As fair and balanced from an sales representative perspective as feasible. Premiums are collected from the 1,500,000 agents, trying to make a living by selling insurance policies in this industry. Often these sales are done one by one. Plus, of this 450,00 independent brokers, semi-independent agents and some career reps write, depending on which company, 50% to 100% of that insurance co business.

This rankings method is imposed because I find the insurance companies listing is intended to be a beneficial directory. One that independent brokers, semi-independent representatives, along with some career reps can turn to. This is a guide directory to other insurers that you may consider writing production for.

The insurance companies listing and ratings guide to the top 100 is purposely placed in alphabetical order instead of by premium or financial data. You may not agree completely with the listing, because we have left in some companies with a strong percentage of business sold in annuities, and investment products.

In the eyes of a typical health and life broker, this guide is of health and life insurance companies is about as accurate as possible.

1. Aetna 2. AIG Life Insurance Company** 3. Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America 4. American Family Life Assurance Co of Columbus 5. American Fidelity Assurance Company 6. American General Life and Accident INS Co** 7. American General Life Insurance Co** 8. American Income 9. American Memorial 10. American National Life 11. Americo Financial Life And Annuity 12. Anthem Blue Cross 13 Aurora National Assurance 14 Aviva Life and Annuity Company 15. AXA Equitable 16.Bankers Life and Casualty Company 17. Banner 18. Beneficial Life 19. C.M. Life Ins 20. Colonial Life & Accident 21. Columbus Life 22. Conseco Life 23. Farmers New World 24. First-Penn Pacific 25.Forethought 26. General American 27. Genworth 28. Gerber 29. Great American 30. Great-West Life & Annuity 31. Guardian 32. Hartford Life and Accident Ins Company 33. Hartford 34. Homesteaders 35. Indianapolis Life 36. ING 37. Jackson National 38. John Hancock 39. John Hancock Life Insurance Company USA 40.. Kansas City Life 41.. Lafayette 42.. Liberty Life Assurance Co of Boston 43.. Liberty National 44.. Life Ins Company of North America 45. Life Ins Company of the Southwest 46. Life Investors Ins Co of America 47. Lincoln Benefit 48. Lincoln Heritage 49. Lincoln National 50. Massachusetts Mutual 51. Metropolitan 52. Midland National 53. Minnesota Life 54. Monumental Life 55. MONY – America 56. MONY – New York 57. National Guardian 58. National Life 59. New England Life 60. New York Life Ins and Annuity Corporation 61. New York Life 62. North American Co for Life & Health Ins. 63. Northwestern Mutual 64. Ohio National Life 65. OM Financial 66. Pacific Life 67. Penn Mutual 68. Phoenix Life Ins 69. Primerica 70. Principal 71. Protective 72. Provident Life and Accident 73. Pruco 74. Prudential – America 75. Reassure America 76. Reliance Standard 77. ReliaStar 78. Riversource 79. Security Life of Denver y 80. Standard 81. Stonebridge 82. Sun Life and Health 83. Sunset 84. Surety 85. Symetra 86. Transamerica 87. Transamerica Occidental 88. Trustmark 89. U.S. Financial 90. Union Central 91. Union Security 92. United Healthcare 93. United Ins Company of America 94. United Investors 95. United of Omaha 96. United States Life 97. Unum 98. West Coast 99. Western and Southern Life 100. Western Reserve Life Assurance Co of Ohio Note: Sagicor Life, Foresters, and Illinois Mutual should appear on the bottom 3 listings, replacing the companies listed above as #6, 2, and 7.

**AIG Life Insurance Company, American General Life, American General Life and Casualty Comments

This group of companies USED to be one the highest premium generating, and highest ranked insurance companies in the United States. Still, after two massive Federal Bailouts, the future is uncertain. Therefore, AIG Life is no longer deserving of being on this top 100 list guide.

GUIDE TO QUESTIONABLE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY LISTINGS

The following insurance companies listings often could be included in different types of some top 100 Life ins company rankings IF you were evaluating premiums written. Sometimes the premiums consist of considerable amounts of annuity premiums. Also counted in would be insurers where a large portion of sales do not come from representatives and sales people. Instead it is written by security stock brokerage firms, and independent broker-dealers of variable investment contracts not governed by insurance departments. In other cases, products may be directly strictly toward teachers, the military, or credit unions. In a couple cases, there are companies with pending litigation. A representation of this mix of insurers is listed below:

1. Cuna Mutual 2. Genworth Life and Annuity 3. Harford Life and Annuity y 4. John Hancock Variable Life 5. Mayflower National 6. Metlife – Connecticut 7. Metlife Investors USA 8. MML Bay State 9. Nationwide 10. Nationwide Life & Annuity 11. NYLife of AZ 12. PHL Variable 13. Sun Life Assurance Co of Canada 14. Teachers Ins and Annuity Assoc of America 15. USAA 16. Shenandoah — financial difficulties

There is a grand total of over 600 Licensed Life/Health Companies “active” in every state of the United States. However, some are not currently writing new business. In addition, there are many active in only one or a few states, so you will find them missing from the top insurance company listings. Most states have a true actual listing count of 220 to 330 life and health home offices currently accepting new cases from licensed agents & brokers.

Advisor’s predition. If I choose from the provider listings above, Foresters would be my top pick as the next rising star. Its innovative niche products are starting to create a high demand. Also watch Genworth, its stock value has zoomed and the company is very adaptive to market opportunities.