MetLife is one of the oldest life insurance companies in the U.S. and is currently the second-largest life insurance provider in the country. Although MetLife previously offered a range of individual and corporate life products, the company spun off its individual retail business to Brighthouse Financial in 2017. Currently, MetLife’s life insurance products are only offered as workplace-sponsored group insurance plans in the form of term or permanent group life plans.
MetLife Life Insurance Overview: Financial Strength, Availability, and History
As evidenced by multiple independent rating agencies, MetLife has a long and recognized history as a reputable and financially sound insurance company, both in the U.S. and across the globe. Each agency awarded MetLife their highest rating available, and all ratings are currently reported as stable with no foreseeable downgrades.
In addition to the traditional financial strength ratings, MetLife has earned several other honors and awards. It was most recently named one of Fortune Magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies,” mentioned in Bloomberg’s Gender-Equality Index for the fifth year in a row, and counted in the 100 Best Companies list for the 21st year in a row for its initiatives in support of working families.
According to popular ratings site YouGov, MetLife is the 17th most popular and the 12th most famous insurance brand. MetLife also received an A- rating from Better Business Bureau (BBB), although the BBB also reports an average of customer ratings below 1.5 out of 5 stars and nearly 300 complaints in the past 12 months, as of May 2020.
- In business since: 1868
- S&P Global financial strength rating: AA-
- Moody’s financial strength rating: Aa3
- AM Best financial strength rating: A+
- States served: 50
MetLife best for: Eligible employees with workplace-sponsored plans
- Strong financial stability ratings
- MetLife Advantages workplace benefits suite available to most policyholders
- Life policies can only be purchased through an employer-sponsored plan
|AM Best Financial Strength Rating||J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study Score||NAIC Customer Complaints|
|Northwestern Mutual||A++||5/5||Fewer complaints than average|
|State Farm||A++||5/5||Fewer complaints than average|
|Nationwide||A+||4/5||Fewer complaints than average|
|New York Life||A++||4/5||Fewer complaints than average|
|Mutual of Omaha||A+||4/5||Fewer complaints than average|
|Principal||A+||4/5||Fewer complaints than average|
*All information accurate as of 05/12/2020.
The Bottom Line
While you can no longer purchase MetLife policies individually, if your employer offers life insurance through MetLife, you should review your options. The company’s long history and reputable business practices make its life policies a sound financial investment, and the additional MetLife Advantages program can provide helpful tools for planning your family’s financial future.
MetLife Life Insurance FAQ
MetLife has a long history in the life insurance industry, dating back to its origins as Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in 1868. The company’s industry experience and financial stability ratings make it a sound financial choice for entrusting your life insurance needs. The company also pays dividends to eligible policyholders, and claims are paid as agreed once proper documentation has been submitted. The quality of customer service provided with MetLife is questionable, however. NAIC reports lower-than-average complaints with the company, but other metrics at BBB show a history of unsatisfied customers.
The average cost of life insurance with MetLife varies based on a number of factors. Since MetLife life insurance policies are only offered through your workplace, costs differ based on the size of your employer and the percentage of premiums covered by your employer.
Additionally, life insurance costs are affected by your age, gender, overall health status, occupation, and smoking status. Your premiums for a policy generally increase as the death benefit increases, and permanent policies are more expensive than term policies at the same benefit level.
Yes, MetLife pays out dividends to both common and preferred stockholders each quarter. Many of the company’s policyholders are also stockholders and receive direct benefits from these dividends. MetLife dividends are competitive for the industry, and MetLife most recently announced that it would increase the common stock dividend by 4.5% for the second quarter of 2020. The company historically offers dividends on common stock at an average 10.7% compound annual growth rate each year.
Since MetLIfe policies are now offered only through employer-sponsored plans, medical exams are typically not required. Employees can usually obtain standard levels of term or permanent life insurance through their employee benefits offerings without the need for a separate medical exam, although, coverage levels that exceed certain amounts may require a separate medical exam before the higher coverage levels can be approved, depending on the company.
Since MetLife policies are coordinated through employee benefits plans, changes or cancellations can be made each year during an employee’s open enrollment period or when a qualifying life event occurs. Employee eligibility for life insurance coverage may vary based on the employer’s policies