Top 10 Life Insurance Companies in Australia for 2020

To find the most affordable life insurance policy that meets your and your family’s requirements, you might want to review some of the major life insurance brands available in Australia. You’ll generally want to find a comparison of the top life insurance companies by market share, price and customer satisfaction

Published January 29, 2020

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After many hours of research and analysing life insurance companies in Australia, we provide you with a list and comparison of Australia’s top life insurance companies. We hope this information helps you make an informed decision on which insurer will give you the best value for money.

Our criteria for ranking

Top 10 Life Insurance Companies in Australia

Market share refers to the portion of the overall life insurance industry maintained within any single company and is generally built on their organic growth, mergers and acquisitions and strategic partnerships, including with super funds.

  1. TAL Life Limited: 17.8% market share
  2. AIA Australia Limited: 15.6% market share
  3. Zurich: 14.5% market share
  4. MLC Limited: 11.6% market share
  5. AMP Limited: 10.5% market share
  6. BT Financial Group: 7.6% market share
  7. CommInsure: 6.6% market share
  8. MetLife Insurance Limited: 5% market share
  9. Others: 3.2% market share
  10. ClearView Life: 1.6% market share

Australian life insurance companies by market share

Source: Market share data from Plan for Life Actuaries & Researchers (21 January 2020 media release).

Company products and benefits

When reviewing a company, be sure to have a look at the type of life insurance policies they offer. Generally, you’d want a company that provides a wide range of policies, including the products you’re specifically interested in.

You might also want to have a look at a company’s free built-in benefits, as well as their optional riders (for example, accidental death and critical illness cover). Also, take into account the extra benefits which you can add at an additional cost to further increase the value of your protection, for example, premium waiver and accommodation benefit.

TAL

TAL Life Limited

Previously known as TOWER Australia, TAL was established in 1869 and is one of the largest bank-owned life insurance companies in Australia and a subsidiary of the Dai-ichi group. TAL offers Accelerated Protection Life insurance, Critical Illness insurance, TPD insurance and Income Protection.

Common Built-in Benefits for life insurance

Take note: Some of the above benefits might not be available when purchasing insurance through your super fund.

Learn more about TAL
AIA

AIA Australia

Established in 1972, AIA Australia remains focused on helping customer live healthier lives with their top-rated AIA Vitality program. Owned by the Hong Kong-based AIA Group Limited (AIG), the life insurance company continually strives to improve its customer and claims services with the latest technological advances.

Common Built-in benefits for life insurance

Take note: Some of the above benefits might not be available when purchasing insurance through your super fund.

Learn more about AIA
Zurich

Zurich

Zurich is a multinational insurance company based in Switzerland that’s been providing insurance for over 135 years. Zurich Wealth Protection includes products such as Death Cover, Total and Permanent Disablement Cover, Trauma Cover and Income Protection Insurance.

Common Built-in benefits for life insurance

Take note: Some of the above benefits might not be available when purchasing insurance through your super fund.

Learn more about Zurich
MLC

MLC

MLC has been providing insurance services for over 125 years, with the majority of the company owned by Nippon Life. The life insurer offers you a selection of products to protect you and your family from financial loss, including Life Cover, TPD Insurance, Critical Illness Cover and Income Protection.

Common Built-in benefits for life insurance

Take note: Some of the above benefits might not be available when purchasing insurance through your super fund.

Learn more about MLC
AMP

AMP

As of 31 January 2019, AMP life insurance no longer accepts new customers as it’s been sold to the UK business Resolution Life. Current AMP customers will not be adversely affected, management of AMP policies will merely be transferred to Resolution Life.

Learn more about AMP
BT

BT

The BT (Bankers Trust) insurance division is owned by the Westpac Group, the oldest banking corporation in Australia. The types of cover available from BT includes Term Life Insurance, Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD), Living Insurance and Income Protection.

Common Built-in benefits for life insurance

Take note: Some of the above benefits might not be available when purchasing insurance through your super fund.

Learn more about BT
CommInsure

CommInsure

CommInsure is the insurance arm of the Commonwealth Bank Group but is being sold to AIA Australia, subject to regulatory approval. The deal is expected to be concluded by the end of 2020 fiscal. Existing CommInsure policies will remain unaffected. CommInsure Protection products include Life Care, TPD Cover, Trauma Cover and Income Protection.

Common Built-in benefits for life insurance

Take note: Some of the above benefits might not be available when purchasing insurance through your super fund.

Learn more about CommInsure
MetLife

MetLife

MetLife Inc. is one of the largest life insurance companies in the world and launched MetLife Australia in 2005. The company aims to help more Australians protect their lifestyle, with insurance products like Life Cover, TPD Cover, Trauma Cover and Income Cover.

Common Built-in benefits for life insurance

Take note: Some of the above benefits might not be available when purchasing insurance through your super fund.

Learn more about MetLife
ClearView

ClearView

Previously known as NRMA, Clearview has been offering life insurance to Australians since 1976. The company provides a range of insurance cover to help Australians with their wealth protection needs, such as Life Cover, TPD Cover, Trauma Cover and Income Protection.

Common Built-in benefits for life insurance

Take note: Some of the above benefits might not be available when purchasing insurance through your super fund.

Learn more about ClearView

Standard & Poors rating for the top 10 life insurance companies

An insurer’s financial strength rating indicates how well and timely a company meets its ongoing financial obligations. Meaning, how likely the company is to pay claims when you suffer a financial loss as per their product definitions. You generally want a company to have a Standard & Poor rating of AAA (extremely strong), AA+ (very strong) or at least AA (very strong).

Best life insurers by financial rating

CompanyStandard and Poors ratings
1. TAL Life LimitedNot Rated
2. AIA Australia LimitedA+
3. ZurichA+
4. MLC Limited A+
5. AMP Limited A
6. BTA+
7. CommInsure A+
8. MetLife Insurance Limited A+
9.Others Not Rated
10. ClearView Life Not Rated

Source: Standard & Poors Financial Strength (as at January 2020).

Underwriting process and claims paid

Life insurance underwriting is the process of determining if the information you provided during application time represents an acceptable risk to the insurer. Retail policies purchased through a Financial Adviser, or broker, like Life Insurance Direct, is typically fully underwritten at the application stage, generally providing you with more certainty that a future claim will be paid. Be sure to enquire which type of underwriting process a company adheres to.

Another essential factor to consider is how a company deals with claims; for example, do they have a good record of accepting claims on time?

Australian life insurance companies claim statistics

CompanyClaims accepted rateAverage months it took to decide on claim statusDisputes per 100,000 people insuredPolicy cancellation rate
1. TAL Life Limited97.9%1.04.315.1%
2. AIA Australia Limited 97.6%2.05.016.4%
3. Zurich95.5%1.45.813.3%
4. MLC Limited 98.5%2.34.518.9%
5. AMP Limited 97.6%3.98.818.7%
6. Westpac96.2%2.05.714.9%
7. CommInsure 87.1%1.711.014.2%
8. MetLife Insurance Limited Number of claims too small for reliable resultsNumber of claims too small for reliable resultsNumber of claims too small for reliable results24.4%
9.Others N/AN/AN/AN/A
10. ClearView Life Number of claims too small for reliable resultsNumber of claims too small for reliable resultsNumber of claims too small for reliable results15.2%

Source: APRA 13 November 2019

Take note: The above claims statistics are based on Death cover purchased through a financial adviser.

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Life Insurance complaints and customer reviews

When deciding which Australian term life insurance company will best meet your requirements, it’s usually a good idea to check how satisfied current and previous customers are with their level of service.

Customer satisfaction rating

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (July 2018 to July 2019).

Life insurance company prices

Another important criterion to look at when comparing life insurers is their premium pricing. There’s no point in applying for a policy that meets all your requirements but doesn’t suit your budget.

Compare premiums pricing for the top 10 life insurance companies

CompanyMonthly premium
TAL Life Limited$29.59
AIA Australia Limited$33.62
Zurich$34.83
MLC Limited$34.24
AMP LimitedNot available
BT$31.25
CommInsure$36.77
MetLife Insurance LimitedNot available
Others Not available
ClearView Life$28.80
NEOS$30.61

Source: Lifeinsurancedirect Online Comparison Tool

Take note: The Premium data is for a 35-year-old female, non-smoker, based in NSW for $1 million life insurance (sourced on 22 January 2020).

List of life insurance companies in Australia

According to APRA, there are about 28 registered life companies in Australia. You can review the full list of companies registered under section 21 of The Life Insurance Act 1995 below:

Source: apra.gov.au (15 October 2019).

Choosing the best life insurance company

There is no one-size-fits-all best life insurance company. Every life insurance company claims to deliver the best value at the most affordable price, but ultimately you’re in control and should choose a policy best suited to you and your family’s requirements.

Before choosing a life insurance company, it’s important that you:

  1. Have a clear understanding of your personal requirements and financial circumstances.
  2. Determine the type and level of cover you need. Different insurers will suit different people. Carefully review your current circumstances and stage of life before deciding.
  3. Compare life insurance policies and review quotes, focusing on price differences, as well as their features, benefits, and terms and conditions.
  4. Speak to a specialist. A life insurance specialist can guide you toward the right information quickly and help you make an informed decision you’ll feel confident with.

Frequently asked questions and answers

  • Which life insurer offers the lowest rates?

    The rate you’ll pay for your policy depends on several factors, including your choice of policy, cover amount, age, where you live and premium type. You might want to shop around and compare quotes to determine which company offers you the lowest rates.
  • Which life insurance company is the best in Australia?

    The best life insurance company for you depends on your unique requirements, for example, your current lifestyle, budget, family responsibilities and health. Ask an insurance specialist to help you conduct a needs analysis to assist you in determining which insurer will meet your requirements.
  • Who regulates life insurance companies?

    Under the Insurance Act 1973, the Australian Prudential Authority (APRA) regulates life insurance companies. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is responsible for licensing financial services providers, including companies that offer life insurance products. ASIC also regulates consumer protection in the financial services industry.

    APRA determines how much capital a life insurance company must hold in reserve to pay claims. Under the Insurance Contracts Act 1983, life insurers must Act in good faith and not vary insurance contracts to the detriment of the policyholder, as well as provide documents detailing the insured person(s) chosen life insurance product.

  • How does life insurance companies make money?

    Life insurance companies generally make money from underwriting income where the premiums from customers are higher than the expected claims/claims paid. Insurers’ do this by better managing their risk exposure. Secondly, they make money by investing customer premiums into assets that they believe will provide a positive return.
  • Can you switch life insurance companies?

    Yes, generally you can switch from one insurer to another. With empowered consumers on the rise, there has been an increase in Australians choosing to change life insurers to find better value. However, to make sure you are covered between policies, do not cancel one policy before your new policy commences.
  • What the difference between whole vs term life insurance policies?

    A whole life insurance policy has both an insurance and investment component, thus providing customers with a surrender or cash value. Whole life policies are no longer available in Australia. Term life insurance policies expire at a specific term, as set out by your insurer. Although it does not offer a cash-back or investment option, it is generally cheaper than whole life and the most popular personal insurance policy type available in Australia.

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