What is Weiss Ratings?

Weiss Ratings assesses an insurance company’s financial health and ability to pay back debts.

Headshot of Policygenius editor Nupur GambhirRebecca Shoenthal author photo

By

Nupur Gambhir

Nupur Gambhir

Senior Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Nupur Gambhir is a licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert and a former senior editor at Policygenius. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service Cake.

&Rebecca Shoenthal

Rebecca Shoenthal

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Rebecca Shoenthal is a licensed life, disability, and health insurance expert and a former editor at Policygenius. Her insights about life insurance and finance have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, The Balance, HerMoney, SBLI, and John Hancock.

Updated|2 min read

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Life insurance is useless if an insurance company can't pay out the death benefit when you die. But how do you know if an insurer is financially stable? Weiss Ratings is a rating and research agency that provides information about an insurance company’s financial background. We recommend using Weiss Ratings, along with other reliable reviews and research, to make a more informed choice when buying life insurance.

Key takeaways

  • Weiss Ratings uses an insurance company’s financial data & history to assign a grade

  • A high Weiss Rating (A to C) indicates better financial stability

  • A low rating (D to F) indicates less reliability

What is Weiss Ratings?

Weiss Ratings is a financial rating agency that assesses the financial viability of insurance companies and other institutions. Its analysis helps buyers purchase policies from trustworthy insurance companies in good financial health with a higher chance of long-term solvency (ability to pay off debt). Weiss Ratings can be used alongside ratings awarded by Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), and Moody’s, when deciding between insurance companies.

Weiss safety ratings

Weiss provides two different types of ratings: investment ratings, which don’t apply to insurance companies, and safety ratings, which do. Safety ratings provide information similar to a credit report, showing financial dependability and payment history. The higher the grade an insurance company is awarded, the more likely it is to remain in good financial standing during an economic downturn.

Rating criteria

Insurance companies are awarded a final rating after a thorough review of their financial health. Each insurer is evaluated based on publicly available data, financial statements provided to state insurance commissioners, and supplemental information provided to Weiss Ratings.

All of the data is consolidated into separate indexes to designate a final rating. These indexes analyze the following:

  • Capital index: Determines whether an insurer is sensitive to market forces and can withstand negative economic conditions.

  • Investment safety index: Evaluates the quality and liquidity of an insurer’s investment portfolio.

  • Profitability index: Measures an insurer’s operating efficiency and profitability.

  • Liquidity index; Assesses an insurer’s ability to meet its financial obligations to policyholders.

  • Stability index: Analyzes whether or not an insurer can consistently retain its financial well-being.

If an insurance company receives a lower or higher rating on any of the above indexes, it will impact its overall score.

Weiss scoring guidelines

Weiss assigns an insurance company’s safety ratings on a grading scale, rating from A to F. A being the highest possible rating, and F being the lowest. Occasionally, Weiss will assign an insurance company a U (unrated) grade if they have not been evaluated by Weiss. Ratings can also receive a plus sign or minus sign to indicate they are in an upper or lower tier.

WEISS GRADEGRADE MEANING
AExcellent. The highest possible grade — the company is in outstanding financial health regardless of the economic climate.
BGood. Satisfactory financial health and likely to remain so in the long term.
CFair. Satisfactory financial health, but may not be able to withstand an unfavorable economic climate.
DWeak. The insurer's financial health may hinder its ability to fulfill policy obligations.
EVery weak. Unreliable, even in a positive economic climate.
FFailed. The insurer is either dissolved, liquidated, undergoing rehabilitation, or under the supervision of a regulatory authority.
UUnrated. No grade because the insurer's profits were too low or data wasn't readily available.

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How Policygenius uses Weiss Ratings

Policygenius uses third-party rating agencies to evaluate and determine the best life insurance companies out there.

2021 Weiss safety ratings

Weiss is just one of many rating agencies we consult to determine an insurer’s financial health, consumer confidence, and customer satisfaction. Learn more about our ratings methodology or reach out to a licensed Policygenius broker for free to learn more.