Life Insurance Company Ratings

Numbers. Letters. Plusses & minuses. Let's clear up this jumbled mess once and for all.


Independent financial and credit rating agencies, such as AM Best and Standard & Poor's (S & P), provide in-depth analysis of a life insurance company’s financial strength. They issue opinions on the life insurance company's ability to meet financial obligations such as paying death claims.

We display the company ratings for each company along with our quotes. We recommend you consider these ratings as one of several important factors when choosing a life insurance company.

These tables show how each company's rating categories are set up, with A++ being the highest for A.M. Best and AAA being the highest for S & P. Click on any rating category to see its definition.



A.M. Best Ratings

All A.M. Best ratings are opinions of A.M. Best of an insurer's financial strength and ability to meet ongoing obligations to policyholders.

See www.ambest.com for the most current rating information.

A++ (Superior 1st highest of 15)

Assigned to companies that have, in A.M. Best's opinion, a superior ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders.

A+ (Superior 2nd highest of 15)

Assigned to companies that have, in A.M. Best's opinion, a superior ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders.

A (Excellent 3rd highest of 15)

Assigned to companies that have, in A.M. Best's opinion, an excellent ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders.

A- (Excellent 4th highest of 15)

Assigned to companies that have, in A.M. Best's opinion, an excellent ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders.

B++ (Very Good 5th highest of 15)

Assigned to companies that have, in A.M. Best's opinion, a good ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders.

B+ (Very Good 6th highest of 15)

Assigned to companies that have, in A.M. Best's opinion, a good ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders.

B (Fair 7th highest of 15)

Assigned to companies that have, in A.M. Best's opinion, a fair ability to meet their current obligations to policyholders, but are financially vulnerable to adverse changes in underwriting and economic conditions.

B- (Fair 8th highest of 15)

Assigned to companies that have, in A.M. Best's opinion, a fair ability to meet their current obligations to policyholders, but are financially vulnerable to adverse changes in underwriting and economic conditions.

C++ (Marginal 9th highest of 15)

Assigned to companies that have, in A.M. Best's opinion, a marginal ability to meet their current obligations to policyholders, but are financially vulnerable to adverse changes in underwriting and economic conditions.

C+ (Marginal 10th highest of 15)

Assigned to companies that have, in A.M. Best's opinion, a marginal ability to meet their current obligations to policyholders, but are financially vulnerable to adverse changes in underwriting and economic conditions.

C (Weak 11th highest of 15)

Assigned to companies that have, in A.M. Best's opinion, a weak ability to meet their current obligations to policyholders, but are financially very vulnerable to adverse changes in underwriting and economic conditions.

C- (Weak 12th highest of 15)

Assigned to companies that have, in A.M. Best's opinion, a weak ability to meet their current obligations to policyholders, but are financially very vulnerable to adverse changes in underwriting and economic conditions.

D (Poor 13th highest of 15)

Assigned to companies that have, in A.M. Best's opinion, a poor ability to meet their current obligations to policyholders, but are financially extremely vulnerable to adverse changes in underwriting and economic conditions.

E (Under Regulatory Supervision 14th highest of 15)

Assigned to companies (and possibly their subsidiaries/affiliates) that have been placed by an insurance regulatory authority under a significant form of supervision, control or restraint whereby they are no longer allowed to conduct normal ongoing insurance operations. This would include conservatorship or rehabilitation, but does not include liquidation. It may also be assigned to companies issued cease and desist orders by regulators outside their home state or country.

F (In Liquidation 15th highest of 15)

Assigned to companies that have been placed under an order of liquidation by a court of law or whose owners have voluntarily agreed to liquidate the company. Note: Companies that voluntarily liquidate or dissolve their charters are generally not insolvent.

S (Suspended)

Assigned to companies that have experienced sudden and significant events affecting their balance sheet strength or operating performance whereby the rating implications cannot be evaluated due to a lack of timely or adequate information.

NR (Not Rated)

Assigned to companies reported on by A.M. Best, but not assigned a Best's Rating.


S & P Ratings

A Standard & Poor's issue credit rating is a current opinion of the creditworthiness of an obligor with respect to a specific financial obligation, a specific class of financial obligations, or a specific financial program (including ratings on medum tern note programs and commercial paper programs). The issue credit rating is not a recommendation to purchase, sell, or hold a financial obligation inasmuch as it does not comment as to markey price or suitability for a particular investor.

See www.standardandpoor.com for the most current rating information.

AAA

An obligation rated 'AAA' has the highest rating assigned by Standard & Poor's. The obligor's capacity to meed its financial commitment on the obligation is extremely strong.

AA

An obligation rated 'AA' differs from the highest rated obligations only in small degree. The obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is very strong.

A

An obligation rated 'A' is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher rated categories. However, the obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is still strong.

BBB

An obligation rated 'BBB' exhibits adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

Obligations rated 'BB','B','CCC','CC', and 'C' are regarded as having significant speculative characteristics. 'BB' indicates the least degree of speculation and 'C' the highest. While such obligations will likely have some quality and protective characteristics, these may be outweighed by large uncertainties or major exposures to adverse conditions.

BB

An obligation rated 'BB' is less vulnerable to nonpayment than other speculative issues. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions which could lead to the obligor's inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

B

An obligation rated 'B' is more vulnerable to nonpayment than obligations rated 'BB', but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor's capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

CCC

An obligation rated 'CCC' is currently vulnerable to nonpayment, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. In the event of adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, the obligor is not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

CC

An obligation rated 'CC' is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment.

C

A subordinate debt or preferred stock obligation rated 'C' is CURRENTLY HIGHLY VULNERABLE to nonpayment. The 'C' rating may be used to cover a situation where a bankruptcy petition has been filed or similar action taken, but payments on this obligation are being continued. A 'C' also will be assigned to a preferred stock issue in arrears on dividends or sinking fund payments, but that is currently paying.

D

An obligation rated 'D' is in payment default. The 'D' rating category is used when payments on an obligation are not made on the date due even if the applicable grace period has not expired, unless Standard & Poor's believes that such payments will be made during such a grace period. The 'D' rating also will be used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of a similar action if payments on an obligation are jeopardized.

NR

This indicates no rating has been requested, that there is insufficient information on which to base a rating, or that Standard & Poor's does not rate a particular obligation as a matter of policy.

All ratings 'AAA' to 'D' can be modified with the plus (+) or minus (-) modifier.



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