Life Insurance Companies

This product is usually sold through agents or brokers of licensed insurance companies. Companies need to be licensed by a given state's Department of Insurance in order to be permitted to sell policies in that state. They can be Mutual Life Insurance companies, or privately held corporations. Independent firms such as A.M. Best, Moody's and Standard and Poors rate them.

Most companies sell a variety of products including:

In addition, they will sell specialty products such as Juvenile Life insurance, along with other tax-deferred annuity or retirement plans. Many insurance companies are subsidiaries or divisions of large international insurance companies and will also sell home, auto and/or health insurance along with life.

Basically all insurance companies, whether they are Mutual Life Insurers or private corporations, provide two types of products: Term Life and Permanent Life insurance.

Term Life is a "death benefit only" product that is in effect for a specified period of time, usually 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. Premiums will not increase over the course of the term. If the insured outlives the term, they can usually renew the policy, but may be subject to a premium increase.

Permanent Life, as the name implies, remains in effect for the policyholder's entire life, as long as monthly premiums and other obligations continue to be met. Permanent Life also differs from Term in that all forms of permanent life insurance accrue a "Cash Value".

Lifeinsurance.org offers a list of 25 of the leading producers of this type of product. The list is presented alphabetically. Life insurance companies were selected based upon industry ratings (Moody's, A.M. Best, etc.) Ward's Listings, total revenues, number of employees and numbers of policies in play.

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