Best Life Insurance Companies

Which life insurance companies in Australia stand above the rest?

Life insurance

What exactly makes one life insurance company better than another? How many different companies do you need to look at? We've got you covered.

According to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) there are 29 listed life insurance companies in Australia (as of 2 April 2019). That's a lot of companies.

To make life easier, we've broken it down into a few categories so you can easily see the companies that stand out. The categories we looked were:

  1. Market share. To give you an idea of who the majority of Australians are going with.
  2. Claims performance. Which companies have a strong claims reputation.
  3. Financial strength. Which companies are financially secure.

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Best life insurance companies

Top ten life insurance companies by market share (2018)

Looking at a company's market share can give us an idea of who the rest of the market is choosing to insure their lives with.

Market share based on Total Risk Premium Inflows ending in Sept 2018 (Strategic Insight).

CompanyMarket Share
TAL Group17.80%
AIA Australia15.60%
MLC Insurance11.70%
AMP Group11.00%
OnePath Australia Group10.00%
CommInsure Group7.90%
BT / Westpac Group7.80%
Suncorp Group5.00%
MetLife Insurance4.50%
Zurich Group4.20%
Others4.50%

How we worked out the score

We assessed claims performance by:

  • How often a claim is accepted
  • The time it takes to accept or deny a claim
  • The rate of disputes

The data: Claims data is from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) from January 2018 to December 2018 (This is the most recent data available). The tables below focus 'death cover' claims across each purchase channel.

1. Claims performance for retail policies

Life insurance companies have traditionally sold policies through an adviser. This is called retail cover.

InsurerClaims accepted rateAverage claim time (months)Disputes per 100,000 lives insuredOverall claims performance score
Industry Average96.30%3.17B-
TAL98.40%0.99.2B+
Zurich96.30%1.43.4B
MLC97.90%2.46B-
Suncorp/Asteron97.20%1.98.8B-
Westpac95.00%2.22.6B-
OnePath96.50%4.35.6C+
AMP97.50%5.47C+
AIA97.40%2.39.4C+
CommInsure88.50%2.111.5C-
ClearViewN/AN/AN/AN/A
HallmarkN/AN/AN/AN/A
MetLifeN/AN/AN/AN/A
NobleOakN/AN/AN/AN/A

2. Claims performance for direct policies

Many life insurance companies now also sell policies directly themselves or through a brand e.g. TAL (company) sells it's cover through Virgin Life Insurance (brand). This is called direct life insurance.

InsurerClaims accepted rateAverage claim time (months)Disputes per 100,000 lives insuredOverall claims performance score
Industry Average88.00%3.315.7C+
ClearView97.70%2.43.8A-
Westpac94.60%3.18.3B+
Zurich94.30%2.414.1B
TAL72.80%3.118.9C+
CommInsure93.30%4.122.2C-
Suncorp/Asteron88.00%3.629.4C-
OnePath94.50%5.466.6C-
HallmarkN/AN/AN/AN/A
MetLifeN/AN/AN/AN/A
NobleOakN/AN/AN/AN/A
AIAN/AN/AN/AN/A
MLCN/AN/AN/AN/A
AMPN/AN/AN/AN/A

3. Claims performance for policies through super

Life insurance companies also offer policies which are obtained through a superfund. This is known as default cover.

InsurerClaims accepted rateAverage claim time (months)Disputes per 100,000 lives insuredOverall claims performance score
Industry Average98.20%1.30.8C
MetLife99.60%0.80.4A
MLC99.10%0.70.4A
AMP99.90%8.40.4B
TAL98.50%0.80.7B-
Suncorp/Asteron94.00%10B-
AIA98.50%0.81B-
Westpac98.40%1.60.5C
CommInsure96.50%1.30.8C-
OnePath97.10%1.21.6C-
ClearViewN/AN/AN/AN/A
HallmarkN/AN/AN/AN/A
NobleOakN/AN/AN/AN/A
ZurichN/AN/AN/AN/A

Top ten life insurers by financial strength (2017) - Standard & Poors rating

Looking at a life insurance company's financial strength can help us determine how "creditworthy" it is. It can indicate whether a life insurance company can pay out claims today and in a few years down the road. Life Insurance companies in Australia have a good to very strong financial security rating.

RankingCompanyStandard and Poors Ratings
1AMP Life Ltd.AA-
2National Mutual Life Association of Australasia Ltd. (The)AA-
3AIA Australia LtdA+
4Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society Ltd. (The)A+
5MetLife Insurance Ltd.A+
6OnePath Life Ltd.A+
7Westpac Life Insurance Services Ltd.A+
8Challenger Life Company Ltd.A
9Suncorp Life and Superannuation (Owner of Asteron Life Insurance).A
10Hallmark Life Insurance Co. Ltd.BBB+

Standard & Poors conducted a study in November 2017

APRA's register of life insurance companies in Australia

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Name Product Maximum cover Maximum Entry Age Minimum Sum Insured Cooling-off
(days)
Expiry Age Short Description
Virgin Life Insurance - Tailored Cover
$1,500,000
65
$3,000
30
80
Choice of cover options and flexible premiums to suit your budget. No lock-in contracts and fast application.
AAMI Life Insurance
$1,000,000
60
$100,000
30
99
Get life cover up to $1 million.
NobleOak Life Insurance
$15,000,000
69
$50,000
30
99
Get a quote for up to $15 million in life insurance cover.
Real Family Life Cover
$1,000,000
64
$100,000
30
No expiry age as long as premiums are paid
Get a refund of 10% of the premiums you've paid (in the first 12 months) with The Real Reward™.
ahm Life Insurance
$1,500,000
65
$100,000
30
No expiry age as long as premiums are paid
Get life cover up to $1.5 million. Plus, ahm health members can save 10% off premiums.
Medibank Life Insurance
$1,500,000
65
$100,000
30
No expiry age as long as premiums are paid
Get a quote & you could win a $1,000 eftops Gift Card. Offer ends 19 January 2020. T&C's apply.
nib Value Life Insurance
$1,000,000
65
$100,000
30
80
Receive one month's premiums off every year if you pay annually upfront. T&C’s apply.
Zurich Ezicover Life Insurance
$1,500,000
69
$50,000
30
99
Receive a 10% discount on the second person when two applications are submitted at the same time, and both policies are issued.
Insuranceline Life Cover
$1,500,000
65
$100,000
30
99
Take out a policy and get a $100 bonus gift after holding cover for 2 months. T&C's apply. Ends 31 March 2020.
Guardian Life Insurance
$1,500,000
64
$100,000
30
No expiry age as long as premiums are paid
Cover up to $1.5 million with Guardian Life Insurance.

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Which life insurance brands have the highest customer satisfaction?

According to a study by Roy Morgan on the 13 largest insurers in Australia, the top three insurers were Insuranceline, Allianz and AIA Australia.

Life insurance brand20172016Change
Insuranceline79.2%73.80%+5.4%
Allianz75.2%73.20%+2%
AIA Australia73.2%66.60%+6.6%
Real Insurance72.6%71.40%+1.2%
Suncorp Insurance72.2%72.10%+0.1%
Westpac69.6%69.70%-0.1%
TAL67.6%67.30%+0.3%
MLC66.9%67.50%-0.6%
Asteron65.9%78.10%-12.2%
AMP65.1%66.10%-1%
CommInsure64.2%68.40%-4.2%
OnePath63.4%67.10%-3.7%
Zurich60.9%70.80%-9.9%

Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) December 7 2017

What's the difference between a brand and a company?

There's a difference between a life insurance brand and a company.

  • Companies. These are the ones who create the policy and assess the risk of the applicant,
  • Brands. This is who distributes and sell the policies to customers online or through advisers.

Note: A company can also be a brand, e.g. TAL also sells under it's own brand TAL.

Company

Brands (If applicable)

AIA Australia Limited
  • Bendigo Bank
  • Citi
  • Rest Industry Super
Allianz Australia Life Insurance Limited
  • HSBC Bank
AMP Life Limited
  • AXA (Now AMP)
ClearView Life Assurance Limited
  • Bupa
Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society Limited (The)
  • Comminsure
Combined Life Insurance Company of Australia Ltd
General Reinsurance Life Australia Ltd
Hallmark Life Insurance Company Ltd.
Hannover Life Re of Australasia Ltd
  • Aussie
  • Doctors health Fund
  • Budget Direct
  • Guardian
  • Real Insurance
H C F Life Insurance Company Pty Limited
MetLife Insurance Limited
  • ING DIRECT
MLC Limited
  • Aviva
  • NAB
Munich Reinsurance Company of Australasia Limited
OnePath Life Limited
  • ANZ
Pacific Life Re (Australia) Pty Limited
QBE Life (Australia) Limited
RGA Reinsurance Company of Australia Limited
SCOR Global Life Australia Pty Limited
St Andrew's Life Insurance Pty Ltd
  • Bank of Queensland
  • Bankwest
St. George Life Limited
Suncorp Life & Superannuation Limited
  • Asteron
  • AAMI
  • GIO
Swiss Re Life & Health Australia Limited
  • Medibank
  • Woolworths
TAL Life Limited
  • AustralianSuper
  • InsuranceLine
  • nib
  • QSuper
  • Virgin Money
The National Mutual Life Association of Australasia Limited
    • CGU

  • Swann
Westpac Life Insurance Services Limited
  • BT
Zurich Australia Limited

A brief review of life insurance companies

We list products from retail (advised) and direct brands.

Retail vs direct brands

  • A retail brand is bought through an adviser who takes you through the application process and tailors your plan for your needs.
  • A direct brand is typical bought straight from an insurer and you will go through the application process yourself.
  • AIA - AIA Australia is a global life insurance company that has successfully combined its international presence with local expertise to offer some of Australia's most comprehensive and flexible life insurance policies. Products offered by AIA are constantly under review to ensure that the changing needs to Australians are always fully met in order to protect the things that matter to you the most.
  • AMP - A trustworthy financial institution that has been helping Australians for over 160 years, the AMP Insurance team is committed to their customers and aim to process insurance claims quickly and efficiently. AMP’s products are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that the insured person receives competitive cover.
  • Asteron - Asteron is the company that wrote the first life insurance policy in Australia and also made the first pay out not long after. Today, Asteron Life is a part of the ASX listed Suncorp Group, and continues to be committed to helping customers get and stay healthy for life through the Asteron Life Wellbeing Program.
  • BT - BT is the wealth management arm of Westpac Group. Customers have access to any of BT’s wealth services, including life insurance products from any Westpac or Westpac affiliated bank branch. BT is passionate about its customers and the wider community, involving itself in community organisations such as Clean Up Australia Day, Earth Hour and Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea.
  • CommInsure - Comminsure is a part of the Commonwealth Bank Group and although the name “Comminsure” was only established in 1999, it’s roots can be traced back to 1873 with the foundation of Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society. CommInsure prides itself on being one of the leading insurance providers in Australia with straightforward insurance solutions for its clients.
  • Macquarie (Zurich) - Macquarie Bank has offered Life Insurance for customers since 1990, and despite being a young operation, it is supported by people with the experience and expertise to make the operation a success. Macquarie is now managed by Zurich Life Insurance.
  • MLC - MLC Life Insurance is the asset and Wealth management arm of the National Australia Bank (NAB), offering multiple financial services such as superannuation, insurance and investment solutions to Australians since 1886 under its original name "The Citizens". MLC aims to continuously improve its customer service support with access to a diversity of investment managers from around the world.
  • OnePath - Now owned by ANZ bank, OnePath was formerly known as ING Australia. OnePath has operations in over 32 countries and provides its products and services to more than 8 million customers. A passion to help people protect is evident from the numerous awards that has been received such as Money Management/DEXX&R.
  • TAL - TAL is Australia’s Life insurance specialist, offering easy to understand, easy to get and easy to claim life insurance to 2.5 million customers in Australia. Owned by one of the worlds largest Life insurance companies, Japan’s Dai-ichi Life, TAL has won Life Insurer of the Year (Australian Banking and Finance Awards) for three years in a row, and numerous other awards.
  • Zurich - Zurich Life Insurance is a Swiss company that has been providing life insurance products in more than 170 countries all over the world. Established in 1872 in Zurich, Switzerland, it acquired the Commonwealth General Assurance Company (CGA) in 1961 and has provided excellent service and solutions to Australians ever since.
  • Guardian - Guardian Life insurance is owned by the Hollard Insurance Group of South Africa, with a presence in the Australian market since 1999.
  • HCF - HCF, a popular name in the area of life insurance, is the largest non-for-profit health fund in Australia. Established 80 years ago as the Metropolitan Hospitals Contribution Fund, HCF continues to provide numerous benefits for its members.
  • Metlife - Launched in Australia in 2005, it has rapidly established itself as a specialist provider of group and individual insurance solutions to business partners.
  • NIB - Newcastle Industrial Benefits (NIB), is a fast growing Australian health fund that provides first class affordable health cover to over 900,000 customers around Australia.
  • Q Super - A super fund for people working for the Queensland Government that offers insurance products through your superannuation package.
  • Real Insurance - Real Insurance is part of The Hollard Group, one of the worlds leading insurers, and entered the Australian market in 2005.
  • Suncorp - Suncorp Group is the largest general insurance group in Australia and the second largest in New Zealand. Suncorp Life offers specialised services in life insurance.

Who regulates the major life insurance companies Australia?

Companies that offers life insurance are financial services companies and are required to abide by the laws and regulations regarding the financial sector. These companies are regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to ensure that financial promises made by institutions are met within a stable, efficient and competitive financial system. APRA plays a critical role in protecting consumers and the financial well-being of the Australian community. The greatest concern of APRA is to ensure that life insurance companies are in a financially stable position to pay out possible claims made by customers, and that the insurance company will not go bankrupt.

Key precautions that APRA requires life insurance companies to adhere to:

  • APRA requires each Life Insurance Company to publish a Risk Management Strategy (RMS) that describes the approaches and processes for managing the risks that an insurer faces.
  • Risk identification and assessment - ensures that the life insurance company understands what risks it faces, and how they are controlling the risks faced.
  • Risk mitigation and control - not only do life insurance companies need to understand what risks they face, they need to make sure they have controls and mechanisms in place to deal with the risks.

Picture: GettyImages

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    SharonJuly 4, 2017

    Which type of provider is safest?

    Bank
    Health providers ie medibank or long standing insurance companies such as RAC?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayJuly 4, 2017Staff

      Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Both are brands are actually safe. Please note that all banks and insurers in Australia are overseen by this government department and consumer complaints can be submitted through the ombudsman.

      Cheers,
      May

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