Rating Methodology and Comparison of Providers

The Annuity.org editorial team employed a strict and fact-based methodology when comparing annuity providers. When creating this methodology, our goal was to measure companies based on elements like customer experience and satisfaction, financial standing, strength and availability.

Our team conducted research to determine which measurable factors would best serve as a strong and fair comparison between companies and consulted with multiple experts to hear their take on what makes for a strong annuity provider.

Headshot of Jennifer Schell, writer for Annuity.org
  • Written By
    Jennifer Schell

    Jennifer Schell

    Financial Writer

    Jennifer Schell is a professional writer focused on demystifying annuities and other financial topics including banking, financial advising and insurance. She is proud to be a member of the National Association for Fixed Annuities (NAFA) as well as the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA).

    Read More
    and
    Stephen Kates, CFP®

    Stephen Kates, CFP®

    Founder of Clocktower Financial Consulting

    Stephen Kates is a Certified Financial Planner™ and personal finance expert specializing in financial planning and education. Stephen has expertise in wealth management, personal finance, investing and retirement planning.

    Read More
  • Edited By
    Lamia Chowdhury
    Headshot of Lamia Chowdhury, editor for Annuity.org

    Lamia Chowdhury

    Financial Editor

    Lamia Chowdhury is a financial editor at Annuity.org. Lamia carries an extensive skillset in the content marketing field, and her work as a copywriter spans industries as diverse as finance, health care, travel and restaurants.

    Read More
  • Financially Reviewed By
    Chip Stapleton
    Chip Stapleton

    Chip Stapleton

    FINRA Series 7 and Series 66 License Holder

    Chip Stapleton is a financial advisor who has spent the past several years of his career working primarily in financial planning and wealth management. He is a FINRA Series 7 and Series 66 license holder and passed the CFA Level II exam in 2022.

    Read More
  • Updated: January 24, 2024
  • 14 min read time

Our Rating Panel

Stephen Kates, CFP® Headshot

 Stephen Kates, CFP®

Founder of Clocktower Financial Consulting

Chip Stapleton

Chip Stapleton

FINRA Series 7 and Series 66 License Holder

Ken Orenstein, FRC

Ken Orenstein

Federal Retirement Advisor

How We Reviewed Providers

Annuity.org ultimately decided to base its methodology on four key factors: NAIC Complaint Index score, AM Best Financial Strength Rating, availability of products and amount of direct premiums sold. These four variables helped create a strong mix of measuring a company’s reach and stature while also heavily emphasizing their stability and customer experience.

We then assigned a different weight to each of these categories.

Weighting Scale

  • NAIC Complaint Index: 35%
  • AM Best Financial Strength Rating: 30%
  • Annual Direct Premiums Sold: 20%
  • Availability: 15%

The NAIC Complaint Index score – which measures the number of customer complaints a provider has against their share of the market – was rated the heaviest since it provides the best look at real customer experience. 

Financial stability is a major concern for consumers when considering a serious financial commitment like an annuity, so a provider’s financial strength rating was also rated heavily.

The availability of a provider (how many states they are offered in) and their annual direct premiums sold provide an excellent way to capture the reach and success of a company. But these variables received smaller weights to account for the fact that smaller companies with strong offerings may still be good choices even if they are not as widely available.

The Process of Creating Our Ratings

Every provider that Annuity.org reviewed received a rating on a scale of five stars for each of the four categories. 

For example, a company with a Financial Strength Rating of A+ would receive five stars for that category, while a company of B++ would receive three stars.

After determining the rating for each category, a company’s four scores were then averaged together using the weights listed above. The final number was used as that company’s star rating. All companies’ final ratings are presented on a scale of one to five stars.

Example

Here is an example of how a hypothetical company’s rating would be calculated. Say that this company:

  • Received an NAIC score of 0.30 (which means there were fewer complaints than average)
  • Received a Financial Strength Rating of B++
  • Sold $850 million in direct premiums
  • Is available in all 50 states

The company is then given a star rating for each variable. It would receive five stars for its NAIC score, three stars for its Financial Strength Rating, four stars for its direct premiums sold and five stars for its availability.

Those four numbers are then averaged together based on the weights of each category. This means that the five stars from the NAIC score account for 35% of the final grade, while the five stars from being available in all states accounts for just 15%.

The company would receive a final rating of 4.2 stars.

Compare Annuity Provider Star Ratings

Allianz 4.65 star rating
American General Image showing a four star rating
American National Image showing a 4.7 star rating
Americo Image showing a 3.8 star rating
Aspida 4.5 star rating
Athene 4.35 star rating
Atlantic Coast Life Image showing a 3.35 star rating
Brighthouse Financial Image showing a four star rating
CL Life Image showing a 3.2 star rating
Clear Spring Life Image showing a four star rating
Delaware Life Image showing a four star rating
Eagle Life 3.65 star rating
Equitable Image showing a 4.7 star rating
Farmers Life Image showing a 3.55 star rating
Fidelity and Guaranty Image showing a four star rating
GBU Life 4.35 star rating
Global Atlantic 4.6 star rating
Guardian Life 4.6 star rating
Integrity Life Image showing a 4.1 star rating
Investors Heritage Image showing a 4.05 star rating
Jackson National 4.35 star rating
Liberty Bankers
Lincoln Financial Group Image showing a 4.7 star rating
MassMutual 5 star rating
Midland National 5 star rating
Minnesota Life Image showing a 4.1 star rating
Mutual of Omaha Image showing a 4.8 star rating
Nassau Life Image showing a 4.2 star rating
National Life Group 4.6 star rating
National Security 3.65 star rating
North American 5 star rating
Nationwide 4.65 star rating
New York Life 5 star rating
Oceanview Life and Annuity 4.35 star rating
Oxford Life 4.5 star rating
Pacific Life 5 star rating
Protective Life Image showing a 4.3 star rating
Prudential Image showing a 3.9 star rating
Pruco Life 4.65 star rating
Reliance Standard Image showing a 4.3 star rating
ReliaStar Image showing a 3.8 star rating
Sagicor Image showing a 4.7 star rating
Securian Image showing a 3.7 star rating
SILAC Image showing a 3.7 star rating
Symetra Image showing a 4.7 star rating
SBLI USA 4.35 star rating
Talcott Resolution Life Image showing a 3.5 star rating
TIAA Image showing a 4.1 star rating
Transamerica Image showing a 3.6 star rating
United Life 4.55 star rating
Venerable Image showing a 2.7 star rating
Western Southern 5 star rating
Please seek the advice of a qualified professional before making financial decisions.
Last Modified: January 24, 2024
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