Look into the five financial ratings companies when you want to purchase annuities or life insurance policies. According to “Use ratings when considering annuities, life insurance,” Claire Schwemlein of the Chillicothe Gazette explains the importance of these ratings. By knowing an insurance company’s financial strength ratings, you are better able to determine their ability to make good on your annuity and life insurance promises. Whether you have purchased a death benefit annuity or some other type, your guarantee is only as strong as the financial paying abilities of your insurer.
The five financial ratings companies are Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Weiss. Each company has its own way of rating insurance companies, but they take into account debt, historical customer payments, their current ability to pay claims, financial figures, and investment portfolios. Their financial strength ratings can be the determining factor on whether you are paid out the full value of your fixed annuities or life insurance policies. While financial strength ratings are very important, you should also research the company’s customer service abilities and the costs associated with the annuities or other policies you are looking into. Insurance companies have to pay the ratings agencies to rate them, so it is possible that your insurer isn’t rated by all or any of the firms.