ManhattanLife Insurance Review

Simplified-issue term and whole life policies, plus many standard riders

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Manhattan Life

Manhattan Life Insurance

Investopedia’s Rating

Our Take

ManhattanLife offers basic term and whole life policies with many useful riders to customize coverage. Plus, policies are available without having to undergo a medical exam. However, compared to many of its larger peers we reviewed, Manhattan Life’s financial strength is unimpressive, and it receives a very high number of complaints.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
  • specifications
Pros & Cons
  • No-medical-exam policies available

  • Online claim filing available

  • Marginal financial strength

  • Very high number of customer complaints

  • No online quote or application platforms

Company Overview

Manhattan Life was founded in 1850 in New York City as The Manhattan Life Insurance Company. It operates as a subsidiary of Manhattan Life Group Inc., based in Houston, Texas. The group also consists of ManhattanLife Insurance and Annuity Company (ManhattanLife), Family Life Insurance Company, and Manhattan Life of America, Standard Life and Casualty Insurance Company, and Western Skies.

AM Best Rating
NAIC Score (avg.)
Years In Business
172 Years
Policy Types
Term, Whole
Accepts Credit Cards
Why Trust Us
Companies reviewed
Features considered
Data points analyzed
We collected over 5,000 data points from 91 life insurance companies to measure financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, and the overall buying experience. We then evaluated each company based on 55 metrics to develop unbiased, comprehensive reviews.

ManhattanLife is not one of our top-rated life insurance companies. You can visit our list of the best life insurance companies to read about providers we believe are better options.

Pros Explained

  • No-medical-exam policies available: ManhattanLife provides whole life coverage up to $100,000 and term coverage up to $250,000 with no physical exam required for eligible applicants.
  • Online claim application platform: ManhattanLife allows its policyholders to submit a claim online or through an easy-to-upload mobile application.

Cons Explained

  • Marginal financial strength: ManhattanLife has a B++ (Good) financial strength rating from AM Best, indicating that its ability to meet its financial obligations is good but not excellent or superior like other top-notch competitors.
  • High number of customer complaints: From 2019 to 2021, ManhattanLife received an average of 1.92 times the annual number of customer complaints expected for a company its size for its individual life insurance policies. This is based on complaint index data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and is among the highest incidence of complaints we’ve seen.
  • No online quotes: If you are shopping for life insurance quotes or looking for a price comparison tool to inform your buying decision, ManhattanLife’s website will be of no help to you.

Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) annually releases a complaint index for life insurance companies. This index is a means of comparing companies of different sizes in terms of customer satisfaction as measured by the number of complaints filed.

A complaint index is calculated for each company based on the number of registered complaints it receives in a given year. A company with the expected number of complaints for its size will have a complaint index of 1. A number less than 1 means the company received fewer complaints than expected, while a number greater than 1 means it received more. An index of 2.0, for example, would indicate twice the expected number of complaints.

When averaged over three years (2019 to 2021), ManhattanLife’s complaint index for its individual life insurance business is 1.92. This number indicates customer satisfaction and claim resolution are well below the industry average. For context, most of the 91 companies we reviewed have a three-year average index under 2.0, and most of our best life insurance companies have a complaint index well below 1.0.

Third-Party Ratings

Insurance rating agency AM Best reviews over 16,000 insurance companies worldwide to determine how likely they are to meet their ongoing insurance obligations. AM Best uses a rating scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

ManhattanLife has a B++ financial strength rating, indicating that its ability to pay claims and meet other financial obligations is good but not excellent or superior like the industry’s top insurers.

Policies Available

ManhattanLife currently offers term and whole life insurance policies, with or without a medical exam. These are described below.

Whole Life

Whole life insurance pays a benefit to beneficiaries when the policyholder dies. It is guaranteed to remain in place for the insured’s entire lifetime if the premiums are paid. Over time, the policy builds cash value, which the insured can borrow against as necessary. Premium rates are locked in for the life of the policy.

  • Simplified-issue whole life: Marketed as Viva LifeTime, this policy requires no medical exam. It offers coverage from $10,000 to $50,000 for juveniles (under age 18) and $20,000 to $100,000 for adults. You can pay it annually over the course of 20 years or up to age 65.
  • Family Protection Premier: This policy is fully underwritten, meaning customers must undergo a medical exam in addition to answering health questions. They can pay policies annually over the course of three, five, 10, or 20 years, and up to age 65. Coverage ranges from $10,000 to $150,000 for juveniles and $25,000 to $3 million for adults.

Term Life

Term life insurance guarantees payment of a stated death benefit to the insured's beneficiaries if the insured person dies during a specified term—for example, 20 years. Unlike permanent life insurance policies, term policies typically have no savings component and no value other than the death benefit.

  • Term life insurance: ManhattanLife offers three different options for term life coverage, each designed for people in different phases of life. Term policies may not require a medical exam, but applicants must answer a few health questions to determine eligibility. Rates are locked in for the duration of the policy.

Available Riders

Riders are provisions in an insurance policy that extend protection or provide additional coverage. Riders may require an additional payment on top of any regular policy premium. However, they can also be purchased on their own.

Child Benefit Rider

This rider, available with Family Protection Premier, extends term life insurance to a policyholder’s existing or future children.

Waiver of Premium Rider

When a waiver of premium rider is added to a policy, it allows premium payments to be waived in the event the policyholder becomes fully or partially disabled.

Accelerated Death Benefit

ManhattanLife provides an accelerated death benefit rider. This enables policyholders to access a portion of the face value of their policy while they are still alive in the case of a qualifying health event. They are subject to administrative fees and partial repayment of any policy loans or interest.

Accidental Death Benefit 

ManhattanLife offers an optional accidental death rider with several policies. Typically, this rider provides a larger payout to the beneficiaries if the insured dies as a result of an accident.

Customer Service

The ManhattanLife website can be accessed anytime at Sales assistance (800-669-9030) is available Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT. International service can be reached at 800-877-7705 during the same hours. The customer care email address is Customers can get quotes or file applications online but must send downloaded claim forms through U.S. mail.

Final Verdict

Though ManhattanLife continues to fare reasonably well with third-party credit-rating agencies, its ratings ultimately don't compare to those of more top-notch competitors. It also registers an unusually high number of average annual customer complaints. The main factor that might motivate someone who is shopping for whole life or term life insurance to choose ManhattanLife is the company's lack of requirement for a physical exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is ManhattanLife Insurance a PPO?

ManhattanLife sets no limitations on any providers with whom its policyholders may work, though its Fixed Benefit plans in particular include access to a nationwide PPO network.

How Long Does It Take to Build Cash Value on Life Insurance?

The majority of life insurance policies take at least two years and sometimes as long as five to start accumulating cash value. Accumulation of substantial cash value can take decades.

How Long Does It Take to Receive a Life Insurance Payout?

Life insurance providers generally pay out within 60 days of receiving a death claim.

How Long Has ManhattanLife Been in Business?

ManhattanLife has been in business since 1850. It is one of the oldest life insurance companies in the United States.


We designed a comprehensive ranking methodology based on consumer priorities and life insurance company fundamentals to rank more than 90 insurers across five general categories: financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, the overall buying experience, and cost.

In order to do this, we collected over 5,000 data points and scored each company based on 55 metrics. We grouped metrics by category to see how insurers performed in each; we then weighted category scores to determine how companies performed overall.

To learn more, read our full Life Insurance Methodology.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. AM Best. "ManhattanLife Insurance and Annuity Company."

  2. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Manhattan Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  3. AM Best. “Guide to Best’s Financial Strength Ratings - (FSR).”