Unbiased Life Insurance Review of TIAA

As part of our commitment to help our clients purchase the best life insurance at the best rates, we provide unbiased life insurance reviews.  Here we review TIAA, or TIAA Cref, as it was formerly known.

This review will cover their company information, types of life insurance they sell, financial ratings, and more.  So, let’s get started.

About TIAA

In 1918, The Carnegie Foundation founded the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of American (TIAA) to provide educators with life insurance and guaranteed retirement income.

In 1952, TIAA established the College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF) hence the widely recognized name, TIAA CREF.  To streamline their image, they shortened their name to TIAA in 2016.

Despite their roots in education, today they sell life insurance and financial products to the general public, are in over 50 countries, and provide financial protection to over 5 million customers.

TIAA-Cref life insurance

Since their founding, they have enjoyed a rich history and celebrated many milestones.  A few notable ones include:

  • Fortune Magazine called them number one in growth in 1967
  • The Congressional Committee cited them as an outstanding example in pension fund management in 1974
  • In 1979 they were one of the first major pension funds to invest in stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • In 2018, they were named the Best Overall Large Fund Company by Lipper for the 6th year in a row.
  • They celebrated their 100 years of service in 2018.

If you’re looking for more than life insurance protection, their financial products include:

  • Investments
  • Retirement planning
  • Education savings accounts
  • Banking
  • Mutual Funds
  • IRA’s
  • Annuities
  • Home loans
  • Trusts

If you’re looking for affordable life insurance, you’ll be happy to know that in 2017, Reviews.com named them one of the Four Best Cheap Life Insurance Companies.  And, in 2018, they named them one of the Best Term Life Insurance Companies.

When it comes to TIAA, you’d be hard-pressed to find a company with as many awards, recognition, and products but does that mean they are the perfect fit for you?  Let’s take a closer look.

TIAA Life Insurance Line-Up

TIAA offers both term and permanent life insurance.  In case you’re not familiar with the difference, term life typically costs less, but is only in force for a set length of time.   Permanent life offers lifelong protection as long as the policy premiums are made.  If you’re not sure which one you need, simply contact us and we’ll help you decide.

Their permanent life options include:

  • Universal Life
  • Survivorship Universal Life
  • Life Insurance with Long Term Care Benefits
  • Variable Universal Life
  • Survivorship Variable Universal Life

Term life insurance options include:

  • Pay for terms of 10, 15, 20 or 30 years
  • Available for people between the ages of 20 and 75
  • Early access to benefits in case of terminal illness
  • Flexibility to convert to a permanent policy

As you can see, TIAA has many life insurance options and can meet a variety of individual needs.  So the next main concern is to determine if they will be able to pay out on your death claim when the time comes.

TIAA Financial Ratings

You can rest assured that TIAA has a rock solid financial foundation and can pay out on their claims.  They have $243 billion in total invested assets (2016), $40 billion in statutory capital (2017), and a financial surplus of $35.5 billion.

Since 1918, they have paid out $394 billion in benefits and currently sit in the 82nd position on the New York Stock Exchange.

Independent insurance rating agencies rate them very high:

  • M. Best: A++ (Superior)
  • Standard and Poor’s: AA+ (Very Strong)
  • Fitch: AAA (Exceptionally Strong)
  • Moody’s: Aa1 (Very Strong)

As you can see, not only do they have a great life insurance line up, they hold the highest possible ratings from several rating agencies due to their stability, claims-paying ability, and overall financial strength.

In case you need another reason to like TIAA, they are very involved philanthropy in support of nonprofit organizations.

TIAA Corporate Giving

For the past 100 years, TIAA has been involved in corporate giving and supports people working for nonprofits.  Currently, they are accepting nominees to take part in their $1 million giving program.  The goal is to provide financial support to people making a positive impact in the world.

Some of their recipients include:

  • Mercola Mason who is using a vaccine to help dogs’ own immune system fight cancer.
  • Jennifer Bolstad and Walter Meyer who are using innovative design principals to help hurricane-ravaged communities in Puerto Rico and New York.
  • John Shinsky who is opening an orphanage to give children a chance to dream and succeed.

So with all these great things about TIAA, are there any cons?  Are they the right company for you?

How to Choose the Best Life Insurance Company

Certainly, TIAA provides excellent service and millions of people have placed their trust in them.  However,  they are very large and you may prefer a life insurance company with a narrower focus.

The bottom line is, there truly is no such thing as a one size fits all life insurance company and there are many other great companies to consider.

The only way to choose the best life insurance company is to compare your options.  Underwriting guidelines, rates, and your health situation will play a huge role in choosing the best company.

This is where we come in.

We can easily help you compare your options, rates, and coverage options to help you decide the best fit for your life.  All you have to do is provide us with some simple information and we’ll compare over 55 companies to find the best coverage, at the best rates.

What is Needed to Apply for Life Insurance

The questions you can expect us to ask include:

  • Age
  • Height/weight
  • Preexisting health conditions
  • Medications
  • Lifestyle habits (smoke, drink, fitness level)
  • Financial information (income/net worth)

We need all this to find the best company.  For example, let’s say you have high cholesterol and take medication.  One company might assign you to their standard plus rate class; however, another might assign you to their preferred rate class and save you a lot of money.  Finding the company with the best rates and coverage is our specialty.

As an independent agent, we’ll ensure you find the best plan, at the lowest rate, and get answers to all your questions.  There is no cost or obligation for this service. To begin, fill out the form below, and we can get started right away.

The opinions in this article are based on our knowledge of TIAA.  Guidelines and information are subject to change at any time.  We are not an employee of TIAA.  Their corporate headquarters are located at 730 Third Avenue, New York, New York.  Their phone number is 800-842-2252.


  • Ty Stewart

    Ty Stewart is a founder and contributor of SimpleLifeInsure.com. He started researching and studying about life insurance when he got his first policy for his own family. He has been featured as a life insurance expert speaker at agent conventions and in top publications. As an independent licensed life insurance agent he has helped clients nationwide to secure affordable coverage while making the process simple.

  • Bennett Bier

    I’m Bennett Bier, owner, author and fact checker of Simple Life Insure. I believe working with a small independent broker offers consumers more personal attention and superior customer service. As an independent agent licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia I have access to many of the top A+ rated life insurance carriers. This lets me locate a plan that you will qualify for while saving you money at the same time. Over the years I have mastered the art of underwriting, getting approvals even for my highest risk clients. I’m also likely the person that will answer the phone when you call.