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New York Life has been helping clients find flexible life insurance coverage for more than 175 years. Where the company stands out from the competition is with flexible life insurance options. You can customize term policies for any term length between 10 and 20 years with a guaranteed premium, or renew each year with no-penalty cancellation. The company doesn’t fare as well online, however, with no web-based quote tool and limited online resources.
New York Life Insurance Overview: Financial Strength, Availability, and History
New York Life is available in all 50 states—and Washington D.C.—and has been serving insurance clients since 1845. The company also enjoys superior financial strength ratings from industry analysis firms including S&P, Moody’s, and AM Best, making it one of the most reliable life insurance providers in the country.
When it comes to customer service, New York Life earns 4 out 5 Power Circles from J.D. Power and it has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Public perception data collected by YouGov indicates that 10% of Americans have a negative opinion of New York Life, while 28% have a positive opinion. Perhaps more importantly for the brand, 79% of Americans have heard of New York Life. Combined with lower-than-average complaint numbers according to NAIC, New York Life has established a reputation for superior policy satisfaction.
- In business since: 1845
- S&P Global financial strength rating: AA+
- Moody’s financial strength rating: Aaa
- AM Best financial strength rating: A++
- States served: 50, plus Washington, D.C.
New York Life best for: Flexible coverage options
- Flexible term life insurance coverage that offers customizable term lengths and easy cancellations.
- Strong financial ratings from S&P, Moody’s, and AM Best provide peace of mind for policyholders.
- Partnership with AARP offers members both term and permanent life insurance with no medical exam.
- No online quote tool or website chat options—all contact is via phone or email
- Limited online support for policy questions or claims inquiries
- No extended-term life insurance coverage with maximum policy lengths of 20 years
|AM Best Financial Strength Rating||J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study Score||NAIC Customer Complaints|
|New York Life||A++||4/5||Fewer complaints than average|
|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|
|Mutual of Omaha||A+||4/5||Fewer complaints than average|
|Principal||A+||4/5||Fewer complaints than average|
All information accurate as of June 8, 2020.
The Bottom Line
New York Life has established itself as a leader in the life insurance space thanks to flexible term life policies that can be easily customized to suit client needs. The company is an especially great fit for AARP members since they’re able to access term and whole life insurance plans without the need for medical exams. For clients who need on-demand, in-depth help with their policy options or who prefer the ease of online resources or cost comparison tools, New York Life falls short.
New York Life Insurance FAQ
The company’s customizable term life offerings set it apart from the crowd, and its AARP partnership offers great value for members. New York Life is both reliable and financially stable, earning top marks from ratings firms such as S&P and AM Best. The company also enjoys an A+ rating with the BBB and offers a straightforward process for death benefit payouts—but it’s worth noting that its online customer service is less robust.
New York Life offers term, whole, universal, and variable universal life insurance products. Term policy lengths can be customized between 10 and 20 years, while universal policies offer the ability to invest and accrue cash value.
The cost of life insurance with New York Life depends on a variety of factors: your location, age, current health profile, medical history, and any outstanding issues—such as smoking—that could raise your overall insurance risk. With agents in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., it’s best to contact a local advisor to discuss your options.
In 2019, the company paid out $1.8 billion in dividends to policyholders. This year, New York Life is on track for its largest payout in history at $1.9 billion, which also marks 166 consecutive years of dividend payments.
Unless you’re an AARP member, insurance applications with New York Life may include a medical exam. Consult your local agent to determine if this requirement applies to your potential coverage package.
Policy cancellation is possible, but you’ll need to contact New York Life directly. In most cases, premiums are nonrefundable, but the company’s “Yearly Convertible” term life insurance option does include no-penalty cancellation.
While the company enjoys strong financial ratings and overall policy satisfaction, its online presence isn’t on par with other leading insurance providers, with no online quote tool or in-depth support options.