New York Life Insurance review

A well-established mutual with a good product portfolio and strong financials

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

A few customer service tweaks would make a good provider even better.


  • +

    Innovative policies

  • +

    Very strong financials

  • +

    Good but not great customer satisfaction


  • -

    Basic website

  • -

    Customer communication only average

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New York Life: What you need to know

New York Life is another mutual insurance company, meaning it pays out dividends to eligible policyholders when the business is performing well. It is also the oldest mutual life insurance company in the US. It certainly has an old-time feel about it, with a fairly basic website by 2019 standards that gives would-be customers plenty of encouragement to get on the phone and speak to the company direct. It won’t give you a quote online, and nor does New York Life offer a raft of other banking and financial services. That will be reassuring for some customers who want a specialist in the field, and frustrating for others who want a one-stop shop for their financial needs. It does offer annuities and long-term care insurance.

New York Life: Features 

  • Innovative term and whole life policies
  • Not all require medical information
Key features

Information support: Website

Customer support: Telephone, email and social media

Interface: Browser

New York Life is something of a life insurance specialist, and it shows in a list of products that is not the longest in the sector but has clearly been well considered.

New York Life offers term life policies of 10 and 20 years, and the premium stays the same throughout. You can convert either policy to whole life insurance in the first ten years, though the price will change. Interestingly, New York Life also offers a yearly convertible term life product that can be renewed each year with guaranteed annual price increases for 10 years. This policy is available even if you don’t want to provide medical information. 

Whole life options include flexible payment options, allowing you to pay off the coverage early (before you retire, for example) and an option that covers two people on one policy.

New York Life: Interface and usability 

  • Clear, concise but basic website 
  • Good agent network

You wouldn’t call New York Life’s website comprehensive. This is a spartan resource that offers basic information and points you in the direction of an agent. There are some basic articles on life insurance and life stage planning, a little on the business and its products, and not that much else. Still, it’s all well laid out and it’s easy to get to where you need to go.

Despite this basic website, in the JD Power life insurance survey New York Life scored four out of five for ‘interaction’. So between its local agents and financial advisors, its call centre and its website, the organisation is obviously dealing with customer queries and requests relatively well.

New York Life:  Quality of product 

  • Good but not great customer satisfaction 
  • Very strong financials
  • Few complaints

We like New York Life’s innovative life insurance products and so, on the whole, do its customers. The company scored four out of five stars for overall customer satisfaction in the most recent JD Power life insurance survey and achieved the same score for product offerings. Customers are generally happy with the variety of coverage options this provider offers and how closely they meet their needs.

In fact, New York Life placed seventh out of 23 providers ranked by JD Power, a decent result. It did especially well in ‘price’ and ‘application and orientation’ categories which, along with overall customer satisfaction and ‘product offerings’ achieved four out of five stars. It did less well in ‘statements’, ‘communication’ and ‘interaction’, awarded three stars in each. Three stars is considered “about average” by JD Power. 

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, New York Life attracts fewer than the median number of complaints to state regulators. It is also very financially strong, attracting a ‘superior’ A++ rating from A.M. Best, the highest possible. The financial strength of an insurance company shows its ability to meet financial obligations and pay claims. In this regard, New York Life is up with the best in the sector.

New York Life: Verdict 

New York Life is a long-established provider with a good range of policies and decent customer satisfaction scores.

It is particularly strong on innovative term life policies and its financial strength cannot be argued with. It offers other financial products but it has a keen focus on life insurance and feels like something of a specialist provider. 

Customers may just have to accept that New York Life is not an organisation at the technological cutting edge. Its website is quite basic and you can’t get an online quote for any life insurance product. It doesn’t have a mobile app, though it is not the only life insurance company to overlook a feature which would only be minimally useful anyway.

That aside, New York Life is clearly a reliable option with a history that suggests many customers stick with it for the long term. 

Hugh Wilson

Hugh Wilson writes about business and the interface of business and technology for a range of titles including The Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, The Times, BBC and MSN. He has written a large number of articles for Top Ten Reviews about insurance matters, accounting, and some business-to-business software and appliances.