The life insurance market in the United States is both massive and highly competitive. More than half of Americans carried some form of life insurance according to the latest figures, for 2017.
Though bigger may not mean better, either for consumers or for investors, it does imply a degree of longevity and financial stability in the life insurance business. Remember that the precise ranking order of our top 10 is based on the total volume of premiums written and may change frequently.
Brighthouse Financial (MetLife)
In 2017, MetLife spun off U.S. retail business as an independent company called Brighthouse Financial Inc.
MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) was the biggest life insurance company in the U.S. as of 2015. It boasted 90 million customers around the world in 2018, 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 3.6 billion in 2017, compared to $627 million for the previous year.
The company offers a variety of insurance products, annuities, employee benefits programs and asset management services. It 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 $28.1 billion in 2017, down slightly from $28.2 the previous year.
As a mutual insurance company, Northwestern Mutual is managed for the benefit of policyholders rather than stockholders. Policyholder benefits amounted to $10.3 billion in 2017.
New York Life
New York Life Insurance Company has more than 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 record operating earnings, assets under management and policies in effect for the full year 2017. The company also announced a dividend payout of $1.78 billion for 2018, a 36% increase since 2012.
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 $59 billion in 2017.
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 reported $6.44 billion in written life insurance premiums of $798 million, an 8% increase, in 2017. That gives the company about a 4% share of the total.
Lincoln's net income for 2017 amounted to $2.1 billion, compared to $1.2 billion the year before.
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. In 2017, the company nearly doubled its net income, to $137 million. Its market share is a bit under 4%.
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. Manulife Financial reported about $22 billion Canadian for John Hancock operations in 2017.
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. 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%.