Top 10 Life Insurance Companies In Australia

Published: January 17, 2018

You’ve made the decision to purchase life insurance; now you’re wondering which life insurance company is the best. Finding the right type of cover at the right price can help ensure your loved ones will be financially supported when you pass away.

Life insurance in 2018 promises to be a very interesting year, especially with all the changes that occurred the year before. In case you missed some things, here’s a quick breakdown of everything that happened:

  • AMP closed its Flexible Lifetime Protection (FLP) option to new business, as of 31 December 2017;
  • CommInsure is being sold to AIA, subject to regulatory approval;
  • MLC relaunched its wellness program, MLC OnTrack and
  • OnePath is being sold to Zurich, pending regulatory approval.

With all these insurance renovations and improvements, we’ve updated our list of Top 10 Life Insurance companies in Australia to reflect the most recent data.

Every person is different, so it makes sense that your policy should be specific to your unique requirements. ComparingExpert compares a number of Australia's top life insurance companies and policies free of charge.

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Your life insurance journey

There is no one 'best life insurance company'. If there were, we’d all buy from that company and have similar life insurance policies. The reality is, each life insurer is different. A company that’s well suited to a non-smoking father of 4 with a family history of heart disease might not be the best option for a single, career driven, 20-something male, smoking a pack a day.

Life insurance companies in Australia offer competitive premiums and benefits to suit people at different stages of their lives. However, some companies might offer better rates and coverage than other companies.

To help you get started with your insurance journey, we’ve compiled a list of life insurance companies in Australia, highlighting the top 10 by market share.

Top 10 life insurance companies in Australia:

  1. TAL Life Limited: Ranks 1st, with a market share of 17.6%.
  2. AIA Australia Limited: Ranks 2nd, with a market share of 15.1%.
  3. MLC Limited: Ranks 3rd, with a market share of 11.9%.
  4. AMP Limited: Ranks 4th with a market share of 11.8%.
  5. OnePath Limited: Ranks 5th, with a market share of 10.0%.
  6. Comminsure: Ranks 6th, with a market share of 9.8%.
  7. BT Financial Group: Ranks 7th, with a market share of 6.5%.
  8. Suncorp Life: Ranks 8th, with a market share of 5%.
  9. Zurich Australia Limited: Ranks 9th, with a market share of 4.1%.
  10. Metlife Insurance Limited: Ranks 10th, with a market share of 4.1%.

This top 10 list is based on Strategic Insight market share report as of September 2017. Market share fluctuates over the years due to a number of mergers and acquisitions within the insurance sector. Although a good indication of a company’s worth, it should not be the key determining factor when choosing the appropriate cover for your needs and circumstances.

All insurers are regulated by APRA to ensure they have sufficient financial reserves to meet their obligations.

How to choose the best life insurance company

The best life insurance company is the one that suits your needs and fits your budget while providing you peace of mind that your family will be protected when you pass away. There are various factors to consider before choosing a life insurer, like the features and benefits they provide in their policy and the short and long-term affordability of their premiums.

Adequate to your needs

Make sure the company you choose provides you peace of mind knowing your family will be able to live the life they are accustomed to, or if you’re single make sure your cover is enough for mortgage repayments and other debts. Also, consider life insurance that offers a funeral advancement benefit, so your loved ones won’t need to worry about paying for your final expenses.

Likelihood of claims being paid

All life insurance companies in Australia are regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), which helps to ensure the insurer will have the funds to meet their claims obligations.

However, according to the ASIC 498 report into life insurance claims, your claim has a 71% higher chance of being declined when purchased directly from the insurer (not- Advised) compared to purchasing life insurance through a Retail (Advised) distribution channel.

Terms and conditions

Finding the best policy for you and your family should be determined by the company’s policy offering terms and conditions which you can read up on in their Product Disclosure Statements (PDS). The offerings from a direct insurer vs a retail insurer and a group super fund are very different, which is why it’s so important that you carefully read through the product disclosure statement (PDS) of each policy you are considering.

Long-term affordability

Ensure you’ll be able to afford the policy premiums now and in the future. If you’re looking for short-term affordability, a stepped premium style might be best for you. On the other hand, if you’re able to start off with higher premiums, which don’t increase every year due to your age, then a company offering level premiums might be for you.

Quality ratings

Ratings are given by an independent entity such as Standard & Poors. While a rating from an independent source does not tell you how good a policy is, it does help you measure the insurers’ creditworthiness, which further indicates whether a company will be able to pay claims now and in the future.

If an insurer is rated as AAA, they are regarded as having extremely strong financial security characteristics. AA is very strong, and A is strong but somewhat more likely to be affected by adverse business conditions. The (+) or (-) sign following the rating show relative standing within the major rating categories

Life insurance reviews

Read customer reviews and complaints about the various companies to determine how their past and current members experienced them. 

Customer care

You might want to consider how easy or difficult it is to talk to a real human. When you have questions or need to submit a claim, it’s important to get hold of a competent customer care person to help you.

Discounts and rewards

Consider companies that add even more value to their policyholders by helping them save on their premiums and encourage them to live healthier lives. Although reward programmes should not be the deciding factor when choosing a company, it does add that something extra.

Compare top 10 best life insurance companies (2018)

Following your understanding of the cover you need, the best way to find the life insurer for you is to compare their products against other companies offering similar products and review the differences in premiums and coverage offered.

Note: The below example premium per month is based on $1Million of cover for a non-smoking male, aged 35 as of 15 January 2018. The cost of coverage will vary amongst companies, which is why you might want to consider getting life insurance quotes from at least a few companies for comparison.

Company Market Share Policy Standard & Poors Rating Example premium p/m Rewards & Discounts
TAL Life Limited 17.6% TAL Accelerated Protection Not Rated $37.87 TAL Health Sense
AIA Australia Limited 15.1% AIA Priority Protection A+ $33.31 AIA Vitality
MLC Limited 11.9% MLC Insurance AA- $43.52 MLC On Track
AMP Limited 11.8% AMP Flexible Lifetime AA- $40.85 AMP Elevate
OnePath Limited 10.0% OnePath Onecare A+ $47.80 Frequent flyer points
Comminsure 9.8% Comminsure Protection A+ $49.34 Earn discounts & frequent flyer points
BT Financial Group 6.5% BT Protection Plans A+ $52.42 Loyalty benefits & multi-policy discounts
Suncorp Life (Owner of Asteron Life) 5.0% Asteron Life Complete Not Rated $42.17 Healthy lifestyle discount
Zurich Australia Limited 4.1% Zurich Wealth Protection A+ $46.15 Multi-life discounts
Metlife Insurance Limited 4.1% MetLife Insurance Not Rated - -

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About the top life insurance companies in Australia

TAL Life Limited

Protects over 3.7 million customers across Australia and pays more than $4.5 million in claims every working day (as of July 2016). Permanent Australian residents and New Zealand citizens residing permanently in Australia between the ages of 18 to 74 can apply, however, level premiums are only available to applicants under the age of 59. The minimum cover amount offered is $100,000, and the maximum cover amount is $1,500,000.

AIA Australia Limited

Second largest life insurer in the world and protects over 2.5 million Australians, paying out more than $1.7 million in claims every year.  Life cover is available between the ages of 11 and 75 and expires at age 100. Level and stepped premiums are available, as well as optimum premiums (a hybrid between stepped and level premiums) which you can pay yearly, half-yearly or monthly.

MLC Limited

With over 1.7 million customers, eligible MLC policyholders have access to a network of over 500,000 medical experts through the Best Doctors service, which provides independent advice for medical conditions and injuries without any additional costs. Available to applicants between the ages of 11 and 70 years old. However, level premiums are only available up to your age 60. Minimum sum insured is $25,000, and there is no general maximum.

AMP Limited

Covers over 4 million customers with a minimum $100,000 and maximum $1 million benefit amount to choose from. Cover is available only to citizens or permanent residents of Australia between the ages of 16 and 60. Should AMP deem you to have an illness that will result in your imminent death, you’ll be provided with a terminal illness benefit equivalent to the amount of your life insurance benefit. Once claimed, cover will cease.

OnePath Limited

In 2013, OnePath Life paid out over $266 million in claims. Their EasyProtect Life policy is available to Australian and New Zealand citizens between the ages of 18 and 59. Minimum sum insured is $50,000, and the maximum varies according to your age; $1,500,000 for 18 to 44 years old, $750,000 for 45 to 54-year-olds and only $250,000 for people aged 55 to 59. If you take out cover for yourself and a second life insured you will get discounts off your premiums.

 

CommInsure

CommInsure is the insurance arm of the Commonwealth Bank Group (CBA) and paid out a total of $839.1 million in claims during 2014 with a customer base of more than 4.6 million. Their Simple Life cover option is available to all Australian residents between the ages of 18 and 50, with a minimum cover amount of $100,000 and a maximum cover amount of $1 million.

BT Financial Group

BT insurance forms part of the BT Financial Group Australia which is the wealth management division of the Westpac Group. Since 2015, BT protects more than 1 million Australians, and in 2015 they paid over $276 million in claims. They provide worldwide cover, 24/7 and you can choose between stepped premiums or level premiums. Available to applicants between the ages of 15 and 69.

Suncorp Life (Owner of Asteron Life)

Suncorp pays over $1 million in claims every day and has Australian based call centres. Available to all Australian and New Zealand citizens aged 18 to 60 (inclusive), with a minimum cover amount of $100,000 to a maximum or $1 million.

Zurich Australia Limited

Zurich paid a total of $165.9 million in claims in 2015 and had over 1100 employees to help customers with their life insurance. Their Ezicover life insurance offers the first month’s cover free and is available to all Australian citizens or people holding Permanent Resident status in Australia. Applicants must be between the ages of 19 and 69. The maximum cover amount available depends on your age, for example, $1,500,000 for 19 to 45-year-olds and $500,000 for people aged 60 to 69.

MetLife Insurance Limited

One of the largest life insurers in the world, with over 140 years’ experience. MetLife paid almost $50 Billion in claims worldwide in 2016 and is available to all Austrians between the ages of 16 to 79.

How many life insurance companies are there in Australia?

There are about 29 life companies in Australia (as of July 2016). Below is the complete list of registered companies in Australia, including the top 10.

  • AIA Australia Ltd
  • Allianz Australia Life Insurance Ltd
  • AMP Life Ltd
  • Challenger Life Company Ltd
  • ClearView Life Assurance Ltd
  • Colonial Life Insurance Company of Australia Ltd
  • General Reinsurance Life Australia Ltd
  • Hallmark Life Insurance Company Ltd
  • Hannover Life Re of Australasia Ltd
  • HCF Life Insurance Company Pty Ltd
  • Macquarie Life Ltd
  • MetLife Insurance Ltd
  • MLC Ltd
  • Munich Reinsurance Company of Australia Ltd
  • OnePath Life Ltd
  • Pacific Life Re (Australia) Pty Ltd
  • QBE Life (Australia) Ltd
  • QInsure Ltd
  • RGA Reinsurance Company of Australia Ltd
  • SCOR Global Life Australia Pty Ltd
  • St Andrew’s Life Insurance Pty Ltd
  • George Life Ltd
  • Suncorp Life & Superannuation Ltd
  • Swiss Re Life & Health Australia Ltd
  • Tal Life Ltd
  • The National Mutual Life Association of Australasia Ltd
  • Westpac Life Insurance Services Ltd
  • Zurich Australia Ltd

Frequently asked questions about life insurance companies

Can a life insurance company cancel my policy?

Yes, a life insurer can cancel your policy when:

  1. You don’t pay your premiums
  2. You fail to comply with your duty of disclosure
  3. Your policy reaches the expiry date.

If this is the case, generally you will not receive any refunds on the premiums that you had already paid, except when the cancellation was due to non-disclosure.

How do life insurance companies know if you smoke?

When completing your life insurance application form, you’ll be asked to disclose whether you smoke or use drugs. Whether you use drugs or smoke can make a big difference in how expensive your premiums will be, due to your increased risk of developing health problems.

A life insurer will generally not ask for the relevant blood tests at application time. However, when a claim is submitted your insurer will request your medical files from your doctor(s). If it is then revealed that you were not honest, your claim could be declined. Therefore best to fully comply with your duty of disclosure to ensure there are no issues around claim time.

ComparingExpert will help you compare and review life insurance companies so you can decide which one will provide you with the best coverage at the best price.

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Ask an Expert?

10 Comments

  • Jodie |

    What Australian insurance companies offer premium refunds?

    • SPECIALIST
      Anneke Van Aswegen |

      Hi, Jodie.

      Thank you for your question.

      Because I am not aware of your personal circumstances and whether you’re referring to refunds in regards to cancelling a policy, tax refunds or ‘money-back’ term policies I’m not able to provide you with an exact answer.

      However, by filling in the quote form above you can compare life insurance companies and find the one best suited to your budget and individual requirements.

      If you prefer to speak to a consultant directly, feel free to contact us on 1300 135 205.

      We look forward to assisting you with your life insurance journey.

  • Ken |

    Why is it that 71% of claims will likely be declined when the policy was bought through the insurer directly (not through an adviser)? I guess buying through a group fund like superannuation will be worse?

    • SPECIALIST
      Anneke Van Aswegen |

      Hi Ken,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The ASIC 498 report reveals some indicative reasons for the high rate of claims being declined on page 58. While this might not be a conclusive list it does show that Direct policies have lower underwriting criteria at application time which could lead to uncertainties during claim stage. Non-advised policies are also known for certain clauses that might make a successful claims outcome difficult.

      That’s why we make retail policies available to our audience because getting the right claims outcome is our priority.

      Another advantage of Retail policies, apart from having a better claims rates (as per the data in the ASIC report) is that you can choose to pay your premiums either through your personal funds or through your Super Fund.

  • annett |

    Hi. My husband will be 62 in October and I would like to choose the MLC on track policy. How do I go about this?

    • SPECIALIST
      Anneke Van Aswegen |

      Hi Annett,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Your first step to purchasing an MLC Life Insurance policy with the MLC On Track wellness program is by filling in the form above. You will then be directed to a page with on-screen quote comparisons where you can tailor the policy to fit your husband’s unique requirement and then simply click apply.

  • Domestic goddess |

    My husband and I are looking at getting a second mortgage. I am nervous about doing this with a growing family and my husband as the major breadwinner. We are in our 30s. What would be the best policy to get (for him) without spending too much money?

    • SPECIALIST
      Anneke Van Aswegen |

      Hi,
      I can understand your concerns and commend you for thinking ahead.

      While I am not familiar with your specific requirements, for example where in Australia you live and your husband’s smoking status, I cannot advise which life insurance policy would best suit your family.

      However, you can find affordable life insurance and protect your family without breaking the bank. There are many ways you can keep premiums reasonable, for example, choosing a level premium structure and removing optional extras.

      Please have a look at our comparison of the cheapest life insurance policies available in Australia. In this article, we’ve also listed and explained the various ways you can reduce your life insurance premiums.

      When you’re ready, fill I the quote form or call us on 1300 743 254 and a specialist will help you find the best policy for your circumstances and budget.

  • Kaxza44 |

    Hi. My husband has life insurance with AMP. His premiums have gone up again, so I am changing him to Onepath, which seem to be cheaper. He has had his AMP policy since 1990. Am I doing the right thing? My policy is from BT and I’m also considering switching to Onepath. Are they a reputable insurer? I’m really worried.

    • SPECIALIST
      Anneke Van Aswegen |

      Hi, thank you for reaching out.

      Because I’m not familiar with your personal circumstances and the type of cover that might suit you and your husband, I can’t know which life insurance company might fit your requirements.

      Please contact us directly on 1300 743 254 so a consultant may assist you in comparing policies from these insurers.