Finding a life insurance provider can be a daunting task if you don't know where to look, but it doesn't have to be. We've put together this list of Australian life insurance companies and provided you with a break down of how they've performed in previous years. Meaning you can confidently find the right insurer for you.
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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:
- Market share. To give you an idea of who the majority of Australians are going with.
- Claims performance. Which companies have a strong claims reputation.
- Financial strength. Which companies are financially secure.
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List of insurance companies in Australia
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).
|OnePath Australia Group||10.00%|
|BT / Westpac Group||7.80%|
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.
|Insurer||Claims accepted rate||Average claim time (months)||Disputes per 100,000 lives insured||Overall claims performance score|
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.
|Insurer||Claims accepted rate||Average claim time (months)||Disputes per 100,000 lives insured||Overall claims performance score|
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.
|Insurer||Claims accepted rate||Average claim time (months)||Disputes per 100,000 lives insured||Overall claims performance score|
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.
|Ranking||Company||Standard and Poors Ratings|
|1||AMP Life Ltd.||AA-|
|2||National Mutual Life Association of Australasia Ltd. (The)||AA-|
|3||AIA Australia Ltd||A+|
|4||Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society Ltd. (The)||A+|
|5||MetLife Insurance Ltd.||A+|
|6||OnePath Life Ltd.||A+|
|7||Westpac Life Insurance Services Ltd.||A+|
|8||Challenger Life Company Ltd.||A|
|9||Suncorp Life and Superannuation (Owner of Asteron Life Insurance).||A|
|10||Hallmark Life Insurance Co. Ltd.||BBB+|
Standard & Poors conducted a study in November 2017
APRA's register of life insurance companies in Australia
Which life insurance companies 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 brand||2017||2016||Change|
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.
Brands (If applicable)
|AIA Australia Limited|
- Bendigo Bank
- Rest Industry Super
|Allianz Australia Life Insurance Limited|
|AMP Life Limited|
|ClearView Life Assurance Limited|
|Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society Limited (The)|
|Combined Life Insurance Company of Australia Ltd|
|General Reinsurance Life Australia Ltd|
|Hallmark Life Insurance Company Ltd.|
|Hannover Life Re of Australasia Ltd|
- Doctors health Fund
- Budget Direct
- Real Insurance
|H C F Life Insurance Company Pty Limited|
|MetLife Insurance Limited|
|Munich Reinsurance Company of Australasia Limited|
|OnePath Life Limited|
|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
|St. George Life Limited|
|Suncorp Life & Superannuation Limited|
|Swiss Re Life & Health Australia Limited|
|TAL Life Limited|
- Virgin Money
|The National Mutual Life Association of Australasia Limited|
|Westpac Life Insurance Services Limited|
|Zurich Australia Limited|
List of insurance brands in Australia
Australia has a dynamic life insurance market with a lot of options to choose from, which means that finding a life insurance company can be as easy as going online for a list of insurance providers. It is worth noting that insurance companies are the actual underwriters who assess risk levels and create policies, while life insurance brands are the ones who sell them and serve customers directly. For your life insurance needs, you will be working with the brands rather than the underwriters, so they are what you need to know about. Life insurance, sometimes known as death cover, is a type of protection that pays out in the event of your death. However, it can also include income protection, disablement and trauma cover. Navigate through the life insurance brands below to find out about each brands background and key benefits. Alternatively, you compare quotes from Australian brands with an adviser or directly with a brand.
Life insurance brand information listing
AAMI takes pride in offering a high level of customer service with around-the-clock support. Their pledge is to offer live assistance, without push-button menus or voice recordings, around the clock so you can quickly speak to someone no matter when you call. They have the track record to back it up, and boast regular customer satisfaction rates of 90% at their call centre.
AIA Australia Limited is an insurance company which has been providing different insurance products to Australians for 30 years. Previously known as AIG Life, AIA started to operate in Australia in 1970 and is the first insurance company in Australia to offer electronic application process to its clients. AIA is considered as considered as the largest independent insurance group in Pan-Asia which is publicly listed with an asset that totals to US$107.9 billion and offices spread in 15 countries all over the Pan-Asia continent. In Australia alone, AIA provides life insurance cover to more than 2 million Australians, a number which is 20% of the market share in the insurance industry on Australia. To date, AIA has 260,000 employees and 21,000 agents under its fold all over the Asia-Pacific region. A multi-award winning company, AIA has received some of the most prestigious awards from various life insurance giving bodies which include the Group Insurer of the Year and Best Life Cover Plan in 2011. With a support service called 'WeCare', AIA has continued to make innovative insurance products such as Life, Income Protection, TPD, Trauma, and other Business insurance solutions. Through their 'WeCare' project, it is easier and more convenient for clients to make a claim since they can do this over the phone or through email. Aside from making a claim, you can also seek legal advice and counselling, and get assistance for other insurance-related issues.
AMP is one of the oldest insurance companies in Australia. Established in 1849, the Australian Mutual Provident Society is considered as one of the largest financial advice networks in Australia and New Zealand with 4,100 financial advisers working in it. It has AU$159 billion in total assets and 945,000 shareholders employing 6,000 employees across the Asia-Pacific region. Aside from life insurance products, AMP is also considered as the largest provider of superannuation products. Other products and services provided by AMP include financial planning, banking, and managed funds. Because of this diversity, the company is divided into three business units namely, AMP Financial Services, AMP Capital, and AMP SMSF. AMP Financial services give financial and risk management advice, banking and insurance products, and other income products. AMP Capital, on the other hand, is the investment arm of the company; while AMP SMSF provides self-managed superannuation products and solutions. In 2011, AMP continued to expand as it merged with another financial giant, AXA providing more competition in the wealth management business. In 2015 AMP paid $944.7 million in claims across life insurance, trauma, disability and income protection plans.
In 1833 Asteron wrote the first life insurance policy in Australia, and is now one of the oldest operational life insurance brands in the country. Underwritten by Suncorp, they paid more than $300 million in total claims to more than 3,500 policyholders in 2014. Asteron's focus is on providing expert advice through financial advisors to help you find the right insurance cover. As part of the Suncorp Group, Asteron shares in its AUD$93 billion worth of assets and has 15,000 employees under its folds. Despite being part of the Suncorp Group, Asteron is independently managed by a group of financial experts and leaders. This expertise and dedication can be seen in the various awards the company has received over the years. For example, in 2011, Asteron emerged as the winner as the Life Company of the Year award, a title it has consistently held for 3 years now. Other awards include Best Risk Insurance provider and Trauma Insurance. Asteron has been known to provide some of the most innovative life insurance products for all your family and business needs. With the motto, 'Life, Health, and Well-being', Asteron has introduced a wide range of insurance products which also include income protection, Trauma, and TPD. Aside from life insurance, it also provides superannuation products and solutions giving you more options for a more enjoyable retirement.
Operating all around Australia, Aussie is perhaps best known for their home loans. However, they also have a thriving life insurance sector which many Australians now depend on. They take pride in offering competitive prices and a variety of products to suit the needs of every Australian.
AustralianSuper is dedicated to helping Australians leverage their superannuation funds to achieve their goals. They only offer insurance products to customers that already hold a superannuation fund with them and therefore may be a cost-effective option for those who are eligible. Their premiums are automatically deducted from your account and 15% of your premium costs with AustralianSuper are tax deductible.
Avant is a specialised financial services provider for medical professionals. Their life insurance service, known as Doctors Health Fund, is only available to Avant members who are registered medical practitioners between the ages of 20 and 45 at the time they purchase the policy.
Bankers Trust, or otherwise simply known as BT, is a financial service provider based in Sydney Australia. BT serves as the wealth management unit of Westpac, a banking and finance company as well as the second largest provider of wealth management products in Australia. BT started its operation in Australia and was originally a part of Deutsche Bank and Financial Planning Group until it was acquired by Westpac in 2008 after the merger with St. George Bank. Because of this merger, BT has amassed a total of $95 billion worth of investments which include superannuation, retirement, and other types of investments. In 2011 alone, BT has paid a total of $248.2 million to more than 1,400 customers to a variety of insurance claims such as life, income protection, sickness, and injuries. In 2012, it has further cemented its reputation as a major insurance provider as it bagged the Bronze Award as the Risk Company of the Year given by Money Magazine and DEXX&R. Some of the insurance products offered by BT include Income Protection, Term Life Insurance, TPD, Trauma Insurance, and Business Overheads Insurance. Aside from that, it also has a variety of superannuation products which include BT Super for Life, BT Lifetime ñ Personal Super, BT Super Wrap, and BT Life Time Super Employment Plan. Aside from its passion in giving different types of insurance solutions to people, BT also supports various non-profit organisations, such as Clean Up Australia, that advocate the environment.
Bank of Queensland
BoQ started as a Brisbane-based investment group but is now one of Australia's leading financial institutions, offering a variety of insurance products. Their subsidiaries include Virgin Money, and they now provide services to Australians all around the country. Their point of pride is low premiums and they try to offer cost-effective options wherever possible.
Bankwest, formerly known as the Bank of Western Australia, is a division of Commonwealth Bank which offers its own financial services including advice, financing and life insurance. Although based in Perth, they have branches all around Australia and anyone in the country can take advantage of the services they offer.
With their head office in Bendigo, Victoria, this institution has grown from a building society to a holistic financial services centre serving about 1.5 million customers around Australia. They focus on making things straightforward and easy, which is why they've bundled term life insurance, which pays out on death, with living insurance which covers things like income protection.
Budget Direct is a dedicated insurance company focused on delivering great prices by carefully assessing risk levels and turning away some of the riskier customers. Their biggest area is car insurance, but they also offer life insurance and other types, always with the focus on getting low-risk customers who let them pay fewer claims and therefore offer better prices.
Bupa is an international healthcare group. They originated in the United Kingdom but now have branches and offer services all around the world, including in Australia. As a dedicated healthcare insurer they are narrowly focused on helping people live healthier and happier lives and will even offer bonuses to people who stay healthy or get in better shape.
CGU distributes an enormous variety of financial products through a broad network of agents and partners. They are a leading provider of workers compensation insurance, and offer life insurance policies designed to be both affordable and effective.
A financial services giant that originated in the United States but now offering services all around the world, Citibank provides wide ranging financial services that encompass everything from mortgages to loans to life insurance. Their main life insurance product is Prime Life Cover, underwritten by AIA.
CommInsure burst into the insurance industry in 1999; however, its roots can be traced back to 1873 with the foundation of Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society. In 1995, Commonwealth Connect Insurance Limited (CCIL) was launched and in 1999, it changed its name to CommInsure, which has been adapted until this day. CommInsure is part of the Commonwealth Group which was established in 1912 by the same company. CommInsure prides itself on being one of the leading insurance providers in Australia with straightforward insurance solutions for its clients. Some of the products it offers include general insurance, life risk insurance, and immediate annuities. The General Insurance category has two product offerings - home and car insurance; while the Life Risk Insurance is sub-categorised into two as personal and group insurance. The Personal Risk Insurance sub-category includes Life, Income protection, TPD, and Trauma; while the Group Risk Insurance sub-category includes Life and Salary Continuance Insurance. For its Immediate Annuities products, it includes short-term cover, long-term cover, and lifetime retirement income. In 2010, CommInsure paid a total of $609 million in claims, $261.7 million of which were Life Insurance and Critical Illness Insurance claims; while $231.3 million are TPD and Trauma Insurance claims. CommInsure is also a recipient of various life insurance awards over the years which include the 2011 Income Protection Award from the Association of Financial Advisers.
An Australian insurer owned by Suncorp since 2001, GIO has been selling life insurance for decades. Reliability is their watchword and they're constantly gearing up to make sure anyone can make claims or get in touch around the clock, anywhere in Australia. Their holistic life insurance product is called Life Protect, while they also offer more specialised products for things like accidental death only.
Guardian tries to offer uncomplicated and straightforward insurance products wherever possible. Operating since 1999, they now have over 300,000 customers in Australia and endeavour to make sure everyone is able to easily purchase an insurance policy that fits their needs.
HSBC is a global financial services behemoth, with over 6,000 branches around the world serving millions of customers. In Australia alone their services include retail and commercial banking, financial planning, trade finance, cash management, securities custody and of course, life insurance.
InsuranceLine is all about providing a no frills, straight-talking financial services experience. Their corporate philosophy was built on the idea that life insurance and the peace of mind it brings is a necessity, not a luxury, and should be available to all Australians without breaking the bank.
Macquarie Bank has grown into a big entity, but hasn't forgotten its roots in community oriented financial services. Its life insurance products aim to bring flexibility and simplicity to an industry in dire need of these, and Macquarie strives to underpin everything it does with compassion and an eye for real solutions. One distinguishing characteristic of Macquarie Insurance is offering simple and quick life insurance solutions that do not require a pre-medical check-up. Aside from this, the company also offers insurance packages which include income protection, TPD, and life insurance cover rolled into one - innovative products coming from a company that might be consider a very young player in the insurance industry. Bursting into the insurance limelight scene in 1990, Macquarie Life Insurance is part of the Macquarie Bank Group, which was established in 1969; thus, despite the Life Insurance branch being young, it does not lack in people who have the experience and expertise to usher it to success and become a major player in the insurance industry at such a short time. In terms of assets and scope, Macquarie has an estimated AUD$1.3 billion market capitalisation listed in the Australian Securities Exchange; while its operation extends across 28 countries with 14,200 people under it. Furthermore, Macquarie is divided into 6 groups which are independently run while working closely with each other to provide the best services for its clients. Macquarie offers various insurance solutions but its feature product is the FutureWise insurance solutions which allows its clients to customise their insurance needs by choosing different insurance products and combining them into a single package. Furthermore, the FutureWise solution can be taken within your superannuation fund - a convenient and flexible way to get protection for you and your family.
Perhaps Australia's best known name in health insurance, Medibank Private is an integrated healthcare and health insurance company with about 3.8 million customers. As an Australian health specialist, their focus has always been on trying to help their clients and the rest of the country live healthier and fuller lives, and preferably not have to make any claims.
MLC Life Insurance
MLC Life Insurance or MLC Limited is the asset and wealth management arm of the National Australian Bank (NAB). MLC offers superannuation, insurance, and investment solutions to Australians since 1886 under its original name, 'The Citizens'; Assurance Company Limited. In 1982, Lend Lease took over 50% of the company until it fully owned the company in 1985. In 2000, it was finally acquired by the National Australian Bank up to this day. MLC is considered as taking the number one position in terms of personal insurance and annual in force premiums with an 18.4% market share as of 2011. It is also the second largest provider of superannuation products in Australia with a 20.9% market share of the same year. In terms of assets, MLC manages $123.5 billion worth of investments as of March 2012. This success can be attributed to the unique leadership style used by MLC called the 'manager of managers'; approach where investors are given access to different expert advice across the globe. Aside from the experts, MLC has a total of 1,800 financial advisers - both self-employed and salaried & across Australia. MLC, just like any other insurance providers, offer a variety of insurance products to Australians. Its featured insurance or flagship product, however, is divided into two ñ the MLC Insurance and MLC Insurance Super, the difference of which is one can be purchased outside your super fund; while the other can be purchased inside your superannuation fund. If other insurance companies focus on their products, MLC upped the ante by continuously improving its customer service support. This kind of support includes advice and education on how to choose the right insurance product that complements your needs and your budget.
NAB is one of the biggest names in Australian banking, and has done a lot to shape the financial infrastructure of the country. They have always tried to recognise the impact of banks on the nation's economy as a whole, and their life insurance is aimed at providing enough options to make sure anyone can find a policy that's right for them.
nib is a dedicated Australian healthcare company with its origins in health and life insurance. Rapid growth has seen them accrue more than a million customers across Australia and New Zealand. nib's business is built on a longstanding belief that everyone is entitled to the highest standard of medical care, and that the cost of it should not be an obstacle.
OnePath, formerly known as ING Australia, is a wholly owned subsidiary of ANZ. They recognise that it's their customers who make them great, and have built a corporate ethos of returning the favour by constantly looking to improve their services and products. In 1878 Mercantile Mutual was established in Australia which later on became ING Australia in 1987. Then in 2009, ING Australia was acquired by the Australia and New Zealand Bank. It was not until later in 2010, however, that the company changed its name to OnePath, the company we know today which provides different types of insurance and wealth solutions to more than 8 million people in 32 countries with 48,000 employees helping fulfill its mission and vision of protecting the Australian quality of life. This passion to help people protect and shape the paths they have taken in their lives is evident from the consistent recognitions it received from various award giving bodies, such as Money Management/DEXX&R. One Path has once again shown its leadership and dedication this year by bagging the Gold Risk Company of the Year Award, a position it holds two years in a row. It also received the 2012 Gold Winner Term Life, TPD and Trauma Award. For 130 years, OnePath has been providing different types of superannuation and insurance products which are divided into five different categories namely, investments, personal super and retirement, employer super, life insurance, and general insurance. These products are offered by the businesses owned by OnePath which include RI Advice Group, Millenium3, Financial Services Partners, SuperConcepts, and Oasis. Aside from its reputation of offering a wide range of life insurance solutions to people from all walks of life, OnePath has also a good claims history with an estimated $338 million worth of claims payment in 2011.
A Queensland company that offers financial services, primarily through superannuation, to residents of the sunshine state, QSuper is now one of Australia's largest superannuation funds. This lets them offer a variety of life insurance options at competitive prices. With their focus on holistic financial services, they offer a variety of possibilities for bundling insurance products at a competitive price.
REST Industry Super
REST Industry Super is an Australian superannuation specialist who automatically offers life insurance to members that sign up. Getting life insurance through your superannuation fund is a good way to get cost-effective protection for your beneficiaries or dependents should the unthinkable happen, so many REST Industry Super members choose to take advantage of this.
Real Insurance prides itself on offering real insurance options to real Australians. To them, this means uncomplicated signups, straightforward policies and competitive prices. As they say, real service, real savings and real trust.
Another insurance company that has a long history in providing life insurance solutions to Australians is TAL. Formed in 1869, TAL was formed by the New Zealand government and named Government Life Insurance Office. However, when it was launched in 1990 in Australia it became known as TOWER. Over the years, TAL has acquired other life insurance companies until it was demutualised in 1999. Then in 1996, the New Zealand and Australian chapters of TOWER separated which gave birth to TAL, a separate entity from the TAL Australia Group Limited. As TAL, the company has continued to grow gaining an 11% market share in the insurance industry and receiving awards and recognitions for its continuous efforts in providing life insurance solutions to the Australian public. In 2012 alone, TAL has gained the Silver Award for Risk Company of the Year, Term Life Insurance, and TPD Insurance given by Money Management/DEXX&R. Compared to other life insurance companies, TAL solely focuses its assets and investments in insurance. As the company motto says, TAL lives and breathes insurance. These insurance products include the Life, TPD, Critical Illness, Funeral, and Income Protection. To date, TAL has been providing insurance to its 2.8 million clients across Australia with $1.1 billion worth of in-force premiums. Over the years starting from its humble beginnings, TAL has never lost sight of its purpose of providing life insurance solutions that are both affordable and complementary with the unique needs of Australians. Just like its promise to help its clients to weather life's twists and turns, TAL has weathered its own share of trials and has emerged as one of the market leaders in the insurance industry.
Virgin is now a household name around the world, and Virgin Money is the name of their financial services arm. Their brand ethos is built around enjoying life and giving their customers both freedom and peace of mind. As such, life insurance is an obvious step for Virgin Money to take.
If you're in Australia, you probably know who Woolworths is. The supermarket has branched out from groceries to petrol to financial services, and is often regarded as a cost-effective option. Their intent is to make things easy, and make sure every Australian can get the insurance they need as easily as taking something off a shelf in a store.
Zurich Life Insurance Company
An investment and all around insurance specialists, Zurich now employs more than a thousand people across Australia in risk management, analysis and protection. Just like its name suggests, Zurich Life Insurance Company is a Swiss company that has been providing life insurance products in more than 170 countries all over the world. It was established in 1872 in Zurich, Switzerland but its presence in Australia was felt after it acquired the Australian insurance company, Commonwealth General Assurance Company (CGA) in 1961. After the acquisition, the company was renamed Zurich Financial Services Australia Limited. Globally, Zurich has a total asset of more than $55 billion in shareholders' equity and employs 60,000 people, 1,000 of which are in Australia. Despite the different types of insurance products it provides to its client, Zurich's crowning moment can be seen as the first insurance company to offer flood insurance in 2008 as a feature in its Business Insurance solution. In 2010 and 2011, Zurich paid 99.2% in flood insurance claims - the biggest ever done by a company. Zurich has dedicated itself to provide excellent service and solutions to its clients, work that has paid off with the Standard and Poor A+ ratings it received. Aside from the Life insurance products it offers, Zurich also offers superannuation and investment products which has $6.3 billion worth of managed funds in its various partnerships in strategic investment.
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.