What Are A.M. Best Ratings and Why Do They Matter?


When shopping for life insurance coverage, you'll frequently see companies or agencies refer to the A.M. Best rating of the insurer issuing the insurance policy. The rating of the issuer of your policy can be just as important an issue as the amount of coverage you buy, the term period of an insurance policy, and how much you're paying. Suffice to say, you should pay close attention to exactly what the rating is.

These third-party ratings agencies are evaluating life insurance carriers on the nuts and bolts of the financial strength. Using varying examples of analytical rigor, ratings agencies evaluate how well-funded an insurance carrier is, how much risk it carries, and its operating performance. Each ratings agency has a different formula.

Ratings represent the opinion of the rating agency from the financial strength and skill to meet contractual obligations of the company being rated, in line with the rating agency's independent analysis. A rating isn't a guarantee of financial strength, but it can be viewed as an indicator.

While there are many independent rating agencies out there, A.M. Best is one of the most touted and respected in the life insurance coverage industry. A.M. Best. stands out among other rating agencies not just because of its longevity however for its specialization: It is the only ratings agency that solely rates insurance.

Why life insurance coverage company ratings matter

Before we talk specifically about A.M. Best, it's important to realise why you need to care about life insurance coverage company ratings. If you are like me, you most likely scour Amazon reviews before buying a big-ticket item and TripAdvisor reviews prior to making those summer vacation plans. Details are power. And that is exactly true in the insurance world. You wouldn’t want to make an essential financial decision such as purchasing life insurance to help protect your loved ones without evaluating the organization issuing the policy.

Life insurance providers receive ratings from independent agencies based on their assessments from the insurer's financial strength and claims-paying ability. Life insurance is only as good as the paper it's written on. You need to select a life insurance company that's well respected and it has received reputable ratings.

The higher the rating, the larger the rating agency's assessment that the insurer is going to be around to pay out the insurance policy for your beneficiaries. It can serve as a completely independent, objective opinion based on their analysis of items for example customer complaints, available cash flow, and acceptable risk.

The brief good reputation for A.M. Best

A.M. Best has been around business for any long time – since 1899. It was founded having a pursuit to report on the financial stability of insurers and also the industry as a whole. It is, actually, the oldest rating agency and something of the most widely recognized providers of ratings, financial data, and insurance industry news.

As we know, earthquakes are devastating for everybody affected, but the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and also the fire brought on by it place a.M. Best firmly into the spotlight. A.M. Best, only seven years old at the time, was the go-to source for insurance-related news after the quake. In addition to firsthand reports around the fire insurance losses related to the earthquake and fire, A.M. Best issued its “Special Report Upon San Francisco Losses and Settlements” in 1907, which detailed the insurance losses experienced because of the 1906 earthquake and ensuing fire.

This kind of expanded and reliable reporting and rating service was viewed as invaluable within the wake of the San Francisco quake, which bankrupted 12 American insurance providers and two European insurers. The newly appreciated need for a sign of long-term financial stability led to A.M. Best's impressive growth in part one of the 20th century.

More than A century later, A.M. Best is constantly on the enjoy a sterling reputation for its analysis of monetary stability inside the insurance industry.

How A.M. Best reports on financial strength

What's under the hood with regards to A.M. Best's rating system? Plenty.

A.M. Best issues financial strength and issuer credit scores. The financial strength ratings (FSRs) represent “an independent opinion of an insurer's financial strength and ability to meets its ongoing insurance plan and contract obligations.” In determining a rating, A.M. Best analyzes the insurer's company profile, financial performance, operating performance, balance sheet strength, enterprise risk management, performance vis-a-vis its peers, and management style.

The company's FSRs make use of a “report card” style of ratings, with the rating categories indicating not only how likely the insurer can meet its obligations, but additionally how vulnerable it might be to adverse underwriting and economic conditions. The FSRs are divided as follows by

A.M. Best:

  • A+/Superior: insurer includes a superior ability to meet obligations
  • A/Excellent: insurer has an excellent ability to meet obligations
  • B+/Good: insurer has a good ability to meet obligations
  • B/Fair: insurer has a fair ability to meet obligations and is vulnerable
  • C+/Marginal: insurer includes a marginal capability to meet obligations and is vulnerable
  • C/Weak: insurer includes a weak ability to meet obligations and it is very vulnerable
  • D/Poor: insurer has a poor ability to meet obligations and is extremely vulnerable

MassMutual's A.M. Best rating

Haven Every day life is backed and wholly owned by MassMutual, a more than 160-year-old life insurer by having an A++ rating from A.M. Best.* This is the highest rating available from this agency.

As an existence insurance startup, we recognize the significance of your family's rely upon our capability to be there when you really need us most. That's why we have your back, and MassMutual has ours. Every Haven Term policy we sell is issued by our parent company.

Other ratings and reviews to consider

A.M. Best certainly has an impressive pedigree with regards to rating agencies. Even so, you need to make other stops on the way to evaluating some insurance company or agency before buying a policy.

The top rating agencies

After you've seen exactly what a.M. Best says regarding your insurer (or prospective insurer), take a look at some of the other well-known rating agencies, for example Moody's, Standard & Poor's or Fitch.

What customers need to say

Don't hold on there. See what real-life people have familiar with your agency or insurer by searching out customer reviews and testimonials. Third-party review sites, for example TrustPilot and Consumer Affairs, are a good place to start when seeking real testimonials from real customers who've gone through the experience.

Using A.M. Best ratings to obtain the right coverage for you

You can never be too selective whenever your family's financial security is at stake. Place your insurer with the paces to help access the likelihood it will likely be there when it's needed most. Reviewing A.M. Best ratings for every insurer is a terrific starting point when you're researching life insurance.

Once you've identified the very best life insurance companies, the next stop on your journey should be to get an estimate based on how much an insurance policy will definitely cost. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised at how affordable term life coverage can be.