Buyers of life insurance have over 800 companies in the United States to consider. While choosing from a list of this size is daunting, buyers can narrow their choices by focusing on three criteria. The 10 best life insurance companies of 2016 have strong financial standing, as evidenced by their superior credit ratings, longstanding brands and excellent reputations for customer service.

Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual has been in business for almost 160 years. The company has received the highest possible ratings from the A.M. Best, Moody's Corp. (NYSE: MCO), Fitch, and Standard & Poor's (S&P) bond ratings agencies, and it has a perfect Comdex score. Northwestern Mutual offers a wide range of products, including term life insurance and participating whole life insurance products. The company had $220 billion in assets in 2016.

New York Life Insurance Company

New York Life Insurance Company was founded in 1845 and is one of the largest insurance companies in the United States. The company has received perfect scores from all four of the major ratings agencies. New York Life offers a full suite of life insurance products, annuities and long-term care insurance through its network of agents. The company also underwrites products for AARP Inc. New York Life has paid dividends to its members for over a century.


TIAA Life has received top financial ratings from A.M. Best and S&P ratings agencies. The company allows consumers to convert a term life insurance policy into one of its permanent policies without a medical exam. TIAA offers term limits from 10 to 30 years, as well as an excellent website with quote tools and concise explanations of life insurance topics.

Prudential Financial

Prudential Financial Inc. (NYSE: PRU) provides a wide range of financial services to its customers and has emerged as a leader in the life insurance industry. The company, which was founded in 1875, has received A or better ratings from the four major ratings agencies. Prudential does not offer whole life insurance, but the company provides term, universal and indexed universal coverage.

Amica Life

Amica offers innovative riders to its insurance policies, including the ability to adjust death benefits to track inflation. This allows policyholders with longer terms to retain purchasing power with their policies. Amica also has a clear, transparent website with lists of mandatory and optional features of its policies. In addition, the company offers live chat sessions to get quick answers to questions.

Massachusetts Mutual

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company has over $500 billion in total assets and is owned by its policyholders, not by investors. The company has received perfect ratings from three of the four ratings agencies. Massachusetts Mutual offers financial planning in addition to insurance products. While other insurance companies offer complementary financial products, Massachusetts Mutual integrates its insurance products into its other offerings.

Fidelity Insurance

Fidelity Investments, which is known for its mutual fund offerings, is also a leader in life insurance. The company is a pioneer in innovative products such as its hybrid life insurance line. Fidelity received an A- from the A.M. Best rating agency.


MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) is one of the largest and most recognized brands in the insurance industry. The company offers products including term, universal and whole life insurance policies for a variety of budgets. MetLife has received A ratings from all four of the major ratings agencies. Many of MetLife's products have difficult qualifying criteria.

Principal Life Insurance

Principal Financial Group Inc. (NYSE: PFG) has received four ratings of A or better from the main ratings agencies. The company offers term, universal and variable universal life insurance products, and has no exam life insurance underwriting for up to $1 million in coverage. Principal also offers other financial investments through its subsidiaries.

Transamerica Corp.

Transamerica Corp. offers a diverse range of life insurance products to its customers, including term, universal, whole and accident. The company also offers additional resources for investors through its other subsidiaries.