Benzinga’s Life Insurance Methodology
We aim to provide comprehensive and unbiased reviews on Benzinga to help users understand and learn about life insurance. Our goal is to help lead you to the best life insurance provider for you. We break down the criteria and scores below.
Meet the Reviewers
Janet has been working in, and writing about, the insurance industry for over 20 years. Her career has spanned customer service and personal lines of insurance to writing about insurance industry trends and reviewing insurance companies.
Our Methodology Scores
|# of Plans available||5%|
|Offers Term Life||1%|
|Offers Whole Life||1%|
|Offers Universal Life||1%|
|Offers Indexed Universal life||2%|
|Offers No-Medical Exam Coverage||5%|
|Guaranteed Issue Option||5%|
|Number of Riders/Endorsements Available||1%|
|AM Best Rating||1%|
|NAIC Complaint Index||3%|
|# BBB Complaints||3%|
|Return of premium term||5%|
|Maximum term option||2%|
|Minimum coverage amount||5%|
|Variable life insurance available||1%|
|Child life insurance available||1%|
|Local agents available||1%|
|# of payment options||1%|
|Length of free look period||4%|
|Types of customer service available||2%|
|Accelerated death benefits||1%|
|Survivorship policies available (SVUL)||2%|
|Final expense coverage available||2%|
|Other types of insurance offered as well (homeowners, auto)||2%|
|Multi-policy discounts available||2%|
|Investment services available||1%|
|Waiver of Premium available||1%|
|JD Power Score||3%|
For life insurance providers, Benzinga created a weighted scale based on 34 different data points. Reviewers meticulously researched each point and applied the score according to our criteria to arrive at an overall rating. From there we score 4 different categories:
We considered which policy and term options are available and indicated those options with the scores that are listed. Policy options are important part of selecting an insurance company for a variety of reasons. When a carrier offers multiple options, it can offer you bundled discounts along with more powerful policies that appear to be tailored to suit your situation. Additionally, the variety of policies you can choose from will help you purchase multiple policies that offer layers of coverage for you and your family.
These scores grow as a carrier helps you build an insurance package for your family that is both powerful and valuable. As you read further, you will discover that coverage limits, return of premium options, the number of available riders and maximum terms are weighted heavily to favor companies that allow you to hold policies for longer periods of time and obtain coverage that carries greater value.
|Offers Term Life||Y/N Y=1 N=0|
|Offers Whole Life||Y/N Y=1 N=0|
|Offers Universal Life||Y/N Y=1 N=0|
|Offers Indexed Universal life||Y/N Y=1 N=0|
|Offers No-Medical Exam Coverage||Y/N Y=1 N=0|
|Guaranteed Issue Option||Y/N Y=1 N=0|
|Variable life insurance available||Y/N Y=1 N=0|
|Child life insurance available||Y/N Y=1 N=0|
|Accelerated death benefits||Y/N Y=1 N=0|
|Survivorship policies available (SVUL)||Y/N Y=1 N=0|
|Final expense coverage available||Y/N Y=1 N=0|
|Coverage Limit||<$250k = 0, $250k-$1.5M = 3, $1.5M+ = 5|
|Number of Riders/Endorsements Available||<3 = 0, 3-5 = 3, 5+ = 5|
|Return of premium term||4 options = 5, 3 options = 3 2 options = 1|
|Maximum term option||30 yrs = 3 20 yrs = 2 10 years = 1|
|Minimum coverage amount||$1,000 – $5,000 = 5; $5,001 – $10,000 = 4 $10,001 – $50,000 =3 $50,001+ = 2|
Life insurance rates are calculated by a number of different factors including the age at the time of policy, if there are any pre-existing conditions, what plan and term you choose. You’ll pay a different premium depending on those factors—this section represents 10% of our overall rating.
As with any other financial instrument, you want to save money and spend as little as possible. Therefore, policies with lower prices are graded higher than those with higher annual premiums.
The profile used to generate these premiums was: male, 35, non-smoker, average health, United States.
We rated each carrier based on starting price as follows:
|5||$1 – $20 per month|
|4||$21 – $30 per month|
|3||$31 – $50 per month|
|2||$50+ per month|
We used a secret shopper to contact each life insurance company and rated them based on responsiveness. 5 is the highest score and 1 is the lowest. When speaking with a live agent representing the carrier, the secret shopper was looking for a friendly and knowledgable agent who was both responsive and quick to research any questions for which they did not have immediate answers.
The secret shopper also took into consideration which methods are available for contacting the company: phone, email, online chat and more. The category represents 2% of the overall rating.
|5||Replied or answered the phone in under 2 minutes|
|4||Replied or answered the phone in 3-5 minutes|
|3||Replied or answered the phone in 6-10 minutes|
|2||Did not answer but responded back within 24 hours|
|1||Did not answer or respond back within 24 hours|
These ratings considered the application experience in the rating, looking at things like whether an online application was available, how the mobile app functioned and whether a medical exam was required. The application experience also comes down to ease of use and how quickly the application is submitted or passed through to an agent for a quote.
|Y/N Y=1 N=0||All-online application|
|Y/N Y=1 N=0||Has mobile app|
|Y/N Y=1 N=0||Offers no medical exam coverage|