When shopping for life insurance, you want to make sure the company you’re dealing with is going to be around for a while. And while size isn’t everything, companies with a larger market share have a more extensive customer base which can translate to greater financial stability.
To help you in your search, I’ve compiled a list of the biggest life insurance providers in the US by market share and premiums received, according to the most recent data (filed on March 13, 2023, with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners [NAIC]). Several of these providers have been in business for over a century, and all have healthy financial strength ratings.
Table of Contents
- The Largest Life Insurance Companies in the United States
- 1. Northwestern Mutual Life
- 2. New York Life
- 3. MetLife
- 4. Prudential
- 5. MassMutual
- 6. Lincoln Financial Group
- 7. Nationwide
- 8. State Farm
- 9. Securian
- 10. Transamerica
- 11. John Hancock
- 12. Guardian Life
- 13. Pacific Life
- 14. Protective
- 15. AIG
- Our Ranking Methodology
- Final Thoughts
The Largest Life Insurance Companies in the United States
In addition to listing the companies by size, I provide an overview of each provider, if they own multiple insurance brands, and what additional insurance and wealth management products they offer.
1. Northwestern Mutual Life
Northwestern Mutual is the largest life insurance company in the United States, with a 7.21% market share and $13.9 billion in direct premiums received in 2022. It also ranks #4 with an overall customer satisfaction rating of 794 out of 1,000 in the J.D. Power U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study.
In addition to term life insurance, customers can acquire whole and universal life insurance, disability insurance, and wealth management services. Northwestern has excellent financial ratings from all four rating agencies (A++ from A.M. Best, AAA from Fitch Ratings, AAA from Moody’s, and AA+ from S&P Global.
2. New York Life
New York Life Group has a 6.45% market share with $12.48 billion in direct premiums. This life insurance company is one of the nation’s oldest, and 2023 marks the 169th consecutive year of dividend payouts for whole life insurance policyholders. Whole life coverage isn’t the best option for many, but consider New York Life if you’re shopping for whole life.
New York Life ranks #10 with the J.D. Power customer satisfaction rating. They have over 12,000 agents across the United States. Customers work with local agents to compare term and permanent life insurance products. Other wealth planning services are available too.
MetLife is part of the bigger Metropolitan Group, that’s also a publicly-traded stock (NYSE: MET). Its market share is 6.37%, with $12.3 billion in direct premiums. It offers term life insurance to individuals and group universal coverage options and ranks #8 in J.D. Power’s survey.
Along with life insurance, MetLife is one of our favorite renter’s insurance companies. You can also get health coverage, long-term care, and pet insurance to spotlight some of its notable insurance products.
As one of the world’s largest insurers, Prudential commands a 5.45% share of the US market with $10.5 billion in premiums. It also ranks #11 in customer satisfaction. The insurance provider has been in business for over 145 years and has over 50 million customers in 40 countries.
Its life insurance products include term, universal, indexed universal, and variable universal. Customers can request online quotes or speak with an agent. Prudential also offers financial planning, investment, and retirement services.
MassMutual also offers long-term care and disability insurance, and your employer may also partner with MassMutual to provide group life insurance.
6. Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial has a 4.42% market share with $8.5 billion in direct premiums and ranks #14 in J.D. Power customer satisfaction. Individuals can request quotes for a term or permanent policy after contacting a local agent. Unfortunately, its level-term policies are unavailable in New York. Lincoln Financial also offers long-term care insurance and is a prominent provider of dental insurance.
Many people associate Nationwide with cheap car insurance, yet they offer multiple insurance products and are one of the country’s largest life insurance companies. Their market share is 3.15%, with $6.1 billion in direct premiums.
Your life insurance options include term, whole, variable, universal, and long-term care. Nationwide also has an above-average J.D. customer satisfaction score (#6 overall). Nationwide may be a good choice if you can receive a multi-policy discount and pay less on your auto or home insurance.
8. State Farm
Over 19,000 State Farm agents are located in most small and large towns across the country. They had the highest J.D. Power customer satisfaction rating in 2022, and their market share registers at 2.84% with $5.5 billion in direct premiums.
State Farm offers term and permanent life insurance to individuals and small businesses, in addition to auto and homeowner’s insurance.
With State Farm, you can start the process online and still choose to work with a local agent. While going through an agent can require more effort, State Farm has the best customer satisfaction rating in the 2022 J.D. Power study.
Securian Financial and its affiliate, Minnesota Life Insurance Company, maintain a 2.49% market share and $5.04 billion in direct premiums. But while it’s one of the largest insurance companies in the US, its customer satisfaction rating is below average and ranked 16 out of 22 in 2022.
That said, the company has provided insurance since 1880 and maintains high ratings with the rating agencies. Its highest rating is with A.M. Best at A+ (Superior) which is that agency’s second-highest rating.
Transamerica (and its parent company Aegon US Holding Group), has a 2.60% market share with $5.03 billion in direct premiums. This insurer has offered term and permanent life insurance to US citizens for over 100 years. For over 20 years, it’s provided life insurance for foreign nationals who regularly visit or work in the United States.
To obtain a policy, you need to speak with a nearby agent. Transamerica is also well-known for its long-term care insurance and various employee benefits, including retirement accounts and group insurance plans.
11. John Hancock
For over 160 years, John Hancock has offered life insurance and other financial planning products. Its market share is 2.54% of the industry, with $4.9 billion in direct premiums. Its J.D. Power customer satisfaction rating is below the industry average, ranking 18 out of 22.
Individuals can get an online quote and participate in the Vitality rewards program by participating in healthy behaviors. For example, policyholders can receive up to 25% in premium discounts through regular exercise, doctor visits, and eating well (data sharing opt-in is required for maximum savings). You can also get discounts on FitBits and other health-related services and devices.
John Hancock also offers travel insurance, and you can join their investment and wealth management platforms.
12. Guardian Life
Guardian Life is a notable provider of several insurance products, including life, disability, dental, vision, accident, critical illness, and hospital indemnity. Many consider this carrier one of the best disability insurance providers. You can obtain coverage through your employer, by yourself, or by working with a financial representative.
Regarding life insurance, term coverage is the most popular option, although whole and universal products are available too. The company’s market share is 2.49%, with $4.8 billion in direct premiums. Its customer satisfaction rating is above-average and #7 overall in the J.D. Power study.
13. Pacific Life
Pacific Life offers term and permanent life insurance products through local financial professionals. The brand has a 2.45% market share with $4.7 billion in direct premiums and one of the best J.D. Power customer satisfaction ratings, at #5 overall.
Protective has been offering term and permanent life insurance within the United States for over 110 years and currently has a 2.18% market share and $4.2 billion in received premiums. This carrier was acquired by Japan-based Dai-Ichi Holdings in 2014, which owns life insurance companies across the world.
Its J.D. Power customer satisfaction rating is #12 out of 22 companies which is middle of the pack. You can request online quotes for its Protective® Classic Choice Term life product, with terms of up to 40 years. Prospective customers must inquire by phone about whole and permanent life insurance products.
AIG (American Insurance Group) has its tentacles in many insurance and financial industries across the globe. For US life insurance, you can purchase term and permanent products online through AIG Direct or by speaking with a phone-based licensed agent. For those preferring in-person service, locally-affiliated agents also provide coverage.
The company’s US life insurance market share is 1.83% with $3.5 billion in direct premiums, and has helped over six million customers obtain policies since 1995. However, its customer satisfaction rating is below the industry average at 19 out of 22.
Our Ranking Methodology
We listed the largest providers first using the most recent report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) measuring the market share of the US life insurance companies (data filings are from March 13, 2023).
J.D. Power results were taken from the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance StudySM, released in October 2022. It lists the rating for 22 life insurance providers.
The largest life insurance companies in the United States offer many coverage options that can insure younger or older applicants with various medical backgrounds and financial backgrounds. Some companies focus on online product delivery, while others deal through local agents and employer plans.
Before settling on a life insurance plan, I recommend that you get a quote from multiple providers. While underwriting standards and prices are competitive, you want to ensure you get the best possible coverage at the right price. Also, many life insurance companies offer other products, which may open the door to bundling discounts.