We've discussed life insurance company ratings a couple of times from an informational point of view. Today I want to discuss the topic from a practical point a view (i.e. what's the overall benefit to the end user?).
Some companies would have you believe that their top tier rating means only they have the ability to weather economic downturns and that everyone else is headed into receivership. I used to work for a career mutual where the inference was always “buy from us because we're well rated.” And in 2008 when my career company was the only one in the industry to be upgraded twice by two of the major credit rating agencies and increase its dividend interest rate, you'd better believe that we sang this news from the roof tops (in fact, I will have the full page Wall Street Journal ad Guardian took out just to gloat about these accomplishments).
But does it really matter? In 2008 (and let's be honest every year following) we those (now) Guardian agents had no problem brandying about the news of the company's financial success. But it's not like others who didn't fare as well have gone the way of Shenandoah Life (which is actually still alive and well).