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Best Term Life Insurance Carriers For 2020

by Jim Tobin,CFP

sbli express


How in the world can the Life Insurance Help Desk rank  the best nine term life insurance carriers, when everyone's situation is unique? 

That is a fair question.

After all, the carrier who is best for the quarterback Tom Brady may not be who's best for Wayne Brady, the comedian. It is for this reason that applications should be submitted with the consultation of an experienced independent agent.

That being said, it is possible to list carriers by rates, products available, credit ratings, underwriting turnaround time and customer service. We have used these criteria to list what we feel are the best term carriers in the country.

The Mutuals are Not the Best Term Life Insurance Carriers

Note that we have excluded several of the big name mutual carriers that advertise on television during major sports events. This would be New York Life, Northwestern Mutual, Mass mutual, Guardian..etc

This was done because the mutual carriers, while excellent in many ways, have a product line up that is not a good match with term insurance, or they will not allow their representatives  to independently always offer the best carrier available.

Now, on to our list:


A.M. Best Credit Rating

I. Banner Life                                                                     A+

Banner life, a subsidiary of Legal & General gets our number one slot this year. The reason for this lofty position is a combination of super aggressive pricing, excellent credit ratings and accommodative customer service. Read  more about Banner Life

II. Protective Life                                                               A+


Protective life Insurance finds itself in the number two slot based on , aggressive pricing and unique term/Ul products. 

Additionally, Protective has friendly underwriting for large builds and offers the Income Protector benefit option. Read more about Protective.

III. Prudential                                                                     A+

For many, Prudential taking the number three spot may seem a little bit over rated. We certainly understand.

However, the unmistakable truth is that although pricing is rarely among the leader, Prudential solvels impaired risk cases like no other carrier out there. In addition to great underwriting, Prudential has excellent credit ratings and a well known marketplace brand. Read more about Prudential.  

IV. Principal Financial                                                      A+


Principal has been providing life insurance in the united States for just under 140 years. However that doesn't get you to number 4 on our list.

Principal's excellent credit rating is certainly helpful, but the driving force behind Principal's appearance at number four is being willing to provide policies upto one million dollars with no exam. Currently, Principal is the leader in this market segment among carrier open to independent agents. Read more about Principal Financial.

V. Lincoln Financial                                                         A+ 

Lincoln Financial Group finds its' way into our top five because in addition to great credit ratings, they offer more lenient underwriting on high face amount policies.

Much like Pru, lincoln is not usually the least expensive. but, if you have some issues in your health profile and are looking for a policy in excess of two million dollars, they are the go-to carrier.  Read more about Lincoln Financial Group.  

VI. Savings Bank Life Insurance                                    A

sbli express

SBLI is a brand that is not  known for doing a lot of advertising. However, don't be fooled, SBLI belongs on any list of the best term life insurance carriers.

In addition to great credit ratings  ( have you noticed that is a theme on this list?), SBLI list an industry leader in using technology to accelerate the underwriting process.  Cases up to $500,000 are often issued in a matter of days. Also, of note is a highly rated whole life policy that is a conversion option. Read more about SBLI.

VII. North American Life & Health                                  A+

North American Life and Health appears at number seven on our list primarily due to  the conversion options allowed by its term product.

While this list is centered around term carriers NA  has made its name as a prier Universal Life carrier. The fact that North American has competitive pricing on its' term policies and allows conversion to their highly regarded UL, puts it on the list.

VIII. Mutual of Omaha                                                      A+

Easily recognized by it's affiliation as a sponsor of television's Wild Kingdom, Mutual of Omaha is a privately held Fortune 500 located in Omaha, Nebraska.

Mutual of Omaha makes this list for being a steady jack of all trades. While seldom the best price, they are always competitive, have good customer service, great credit ratings and good permanent products like final expense whole life. Read more about Mutual of Omaha

IX. AIG                                                                                 A+


American General Life - a subsidiary of AIG,  makes the list for liberal underwriting of tough cases and surprisingly competitive pricing in many age/class bands. 

AIG has been engaged in reputation management ever since the 2008 great recession forced the government to bail out the parent company. Nonetheless, they have a secure place in the impaired risk market.  

You've Seen The List, Now What?

Now that you know the best term life insurance carriers, it's important that we emphasize that your individual situation will dictate what carrier is best for you and not some list!

As much as we think putting together reviews and lists of carriers is, the truth is your situation is dictated by your health.

Because different carriers have different appetites for specific types of risks, it is important that you speak with an independent agent before applying for coverage. The Life Insurance Help Desk has access to over 50 carriers and you may even need to use a carrier not on our top nine list. 

       Why You Need To Use An Independent Agent 

While some cases dictate that you need a carrier not on our top nine, it's not that common. However, what is common is  life insurance shoppers who compare rates of carriers but don't realize that the carriers they are comparing will place them in different underwriting classes depending on risk appetite.  

                      Your Next Step

Your next step after research, in the life insurance process depends on your situation. If you are in excellent physical shape , you can use the quote tool and simply compare prices at the terms you want. If, however, you have some health issues, then you should check out ore health condition portal and submit a quote request with the tool or request a custom quote. The custom quote will take you a few minutes to fill out, as it is very detailed. The result winds up being a very accurate quote for people with health conditions.

 Thank you for visiting the Life Insurance Help Desk to research the top term life insurance carriers. Please do not hesitate to give us a call or drop us an email.

About the Author James Tobin, CFP

Jim Tobin is the owner of Life Insurance Help Desk, a Fairfield County, CT. life insurance agency. You can find him on LinkedIn and Facebook. Over the past 10 years, Jim has used his CFP-financial planning designation to help individuals with their life insurance needs. In addition to working with life insurance clients, Jim teaches ESL classes in his spare time. He resides with his beautiful wife Nicole and the 3 cats that rule their lives..

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