How COMDEX Ratings Help You Choose Disability or Life Insurance

With so many different life insurance and disability insurance policies to choose from, physicians need to do their due diligence in selecting the right one. And selecting the right policy begins with finding the right insurance company.

When choosing a life insurance or disability insurance policy, many people rely on the advice and recommendations of independent insurance agents and financial advisors. Others prefer to do their own research, obtain individual quotes, and weigh the pros and cons of various policy terms and benefits.

Whether you have an expert helping find the best policy or prefer to do the legwork yourself, here’s something that may help you make an informed decision:

Comdex ratings.

Every physician needs the protection of life insurance and disability insurance. If you’re in the market for your first policy or looking to get an additional one, here’s how Comdex ratings can help you choose a life and disability insurance company.


What Is Comdex?

Comdex is a composite index that averages the financial ratings of various insurance companies and produces an average score based on how multiple financial agencies rate each company. It is put together by Ebix, which is traded on the NASDAQ Global Market under the EBIX symbol.

Ebix builds software infrastructure for the healthcare, financial, and insurance industries. Through the EbixExchange, insurance agents and other service providers can access everything from CRM software to order-entry platforms to risk assessment solutions.

Founded in 1976, the company currently operates more than 50 offices around the world including in:

  • The United States
  • Singapore
  • India
  • Canada
  • The U.K.
  • And other countries

Comdex scores are often referred to as ratings, but they’re actually rankings. These rankings give prospective policyholders a glimpse into how all the biggest insurance companies stack up against the competition.

The purpose of these rankings is to provide consumers with an overall view of every major insurance company’s financial strength, as rated by a variety of other rating organizations.

Comdex rankings are not an in-depth view into an insurer’s position in the market, nor do they provide any information on specific policies.

Comdex rankings simply rate insurers on a 1 to 100 scale, with those at the top being the strongest, in their opinion, financially at that time.


What Agency Ratings Does Comdex Rely On?

Individual consumers often rely on rating agencies such as the BBB to see how other customers rate a company or a service.

Ebix, however, gathers their data from the four most well-known financial rating agencies:

  • A.M. Best
  • Moody’s Investors Service
  • Fitch Ratings
  • Standard & Poor’s

A.M. Best

A.M. Best is a trusted rating service that rates the creditworthiness of insurance companies worldwide. A.M. Best is globally recognized by international commissions and authorities, including the SEC in the U.S., the European Securities and Markets Authority in the E.U., and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.

Standard & Poor’s

Standard & Poor’s is best known for creating financial market indices, such as the S&P 500 Index. In existence since the 1860s, S&P is also one of the nation’s largest credit rating agencies and serves individual consumers, businesses, and investors with the tools to make smart investments.

Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings has been in business for 100 years, providing individuals and investment firms worldwide with analyses, indices, and tools to help increase financial growth and manage investment risks. Fitch rates over 20,000 business entities around the world, including insurance companies.

Moody’s Investors Service

Moody’s was initially established in 1914. Along with Fitch, S&P, and A.M. Best, the SEC made Moody’s a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization. They are best known for assigning ratings and assessing the risk of bonds, stocks, and government entities.


How Do Rating Agencies Work?

Rating services determine their ratings by assessing a company’s debts, ability to pay claims, and ability to meet their financial obligations promptly.

The goal of these agencies is to provide consumers with insight into how strong each company is financially and to determine if the company is a safe investment.

To receive a Comdex ranking, an insurance company needs ratings from at least two of these four agencies, as Comdex needs at least two ratings to create an average. Comdex rankings update every few weeks, and each score is subject to change at any time.


How Does the Comdex Ranking System Work?

Two businessmen shaking hands

Comdex scores are assigned on a 1 to 100 basis, but you will often see many companies hold the same rank position. The higher the number, the more financially sound the company is.

If a company receives a Comdex ranking of 80, it doesn’t mean that there are 20 better companies. It simply means that they are in the 80% percentile of all companies and rank better than 80% of all the other companies on the list.


Why Do Comdex Rankings Matter?

Like the four individual financial strength ratings, the Comdex is an overall assessment of a company’s cash flow, creditworthiness, profitability, potential for future growth, and financial stability.

But because the Comdex is an average of multiple ratings, the ranking is not perfect. It can, however, be valuable to some extent. What it can partially do is save you time when you’re trying to find an insurance company or make any other sort of investment in your future.

That’s because it’s much easier to check the Comdex ranking than to review the ratings and assessments of each of the four credit rating agencies.

Why?

Because every rating agency has its own methodology and way of assigning ratings. It may seem logical to assume that an A+ rating is the best rating a company can have, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Here’s a snapshot of how the different rating systems rank and rate insurance companies and other financial entities:

A.M. Best Ratings From Highest to Lowest, Based on Financial Strength:

  • Superior: A++ or A+
  • Excellent: A or A-
  • Good: B++ or B+
  • Fair: B or B-
  • Marginal: C++ or C+
  • Weak: C or C-
  • Poor: D

S&P Ratings From Highest to Lowest, Based on the Ability to Repay Debt and Pay Claims:

  • Extremely strong: AAA
  • Very strong: AA+, AA, AA-
  • Strong: A+, A, A-
  • Adequate: BBB+, BBB, BBB-
  • Faces major future uncertainties: BB+, BB
  • Faces major uncertainties: B
  • Currently vulnerable: CCC
  • Currently highly vulnerable: CC
  • Has filed for bankruptcy: C
  • In default: D

Fitch Ratings From Highest to Lowest, Based on Long-Term Credit Ratings:

  • Best companies: AAA
  • Quality companies: AA
  • Economic situation may be a factor: A
  • Medium class companies: BBB
  • Companies prone to changes: BB
  • Companies whose financial situation varies: B
  • Currently vulnerable companies: CCC
  • Vulnerable companies: CC
  • Highly vulnerable companies, may already be in bankruptcy: C
  • Companies that have already defaulted: D

Moody’s Investor Service Ratings From Highest Rank to Lowest, Based on Their Credit Risk:

  • Lowest risk: Aaa
  • Very low risk: Aa1, Aa2, Aa3
  • Low risk: A1, A2, A3
  • Moderate risk: Baa1, Baa2, Baa3
  • Substantial risk: Ba1, Ba2, Ba3
  • High risk: B1, B2, B3
  • Very high risk: Caa1, Caa2, Caa3

Professional investors and financial advisors likely know these subtle nuances in ratings like the back of their hand. For a physician, though, comparing one agency’s AA+ to another agency’s A++ can be both time-consuming and frustrating.

Ebix averages all these ratings together to create one easy-to-understand score. Thus, making it clear where each company stands in comparison to other companies in the insurance business.

New to investing? Read: How to Work With An Investment Advisor.


Where to Find Comdex Rankings

Ebix updates Comdex rankings and scores every few weeks, and you can locate the most current reports through the VitalSigns. VitalSigns is part of Ebix’s VitalSales Suite, an online insurance sales tool that provides reports, quoting tools, year-end financial data, and all sorts of valuable information on insurance providers.

But you’ll need a paid membership to VitalSigns to access the information directly from Ebix.

Without a paid membership, you can still gain insight and check the current Comdex rankings with a simple Google search. A variety of insurance companies and agents list this information on their websites. Your insurance agent may also be able to provide you with the most up-to-date information.

The following companies consistently earn strong ratings as some of the most financially sound and stable insurance companies for life insurance and disability insurance:


Should I Check the Comdex Rankings Before Choosing a Life Insurance Policy?

Person signing paper contract with pen

The Comdex rankings are not the be-all and end-all of determining an insurance company’s worth or value. Some companies don’t have ratings from every agency, but multiple ratings are necessary to compile an accurate score.

For Ebix to compile its ranking, every company on its list needs ratings from at least two of the four major reporting agencies.

And not all companies want all four agency ratings.

Why is that?

Because every individual rating costs a rather hefty fee.

Credit Ratings are Expensive

A disclaimer in Fitch’s terms of use states that reporting fees can cost between $1,000 and $750,000 per rating or for a single annual price of $10,000 to $1,500,000. Moody’s Disclosure Policy states even higher fees, with appraisal and rating service fees ranging from $1,500 to $2,500,000.

Fees vary from rating agency to rating agency and from company to company. Bigger insurance companies can expect to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) to have all four agencies provide them with a financial rating. For some companies, this expense simply isn’t worth it.

This creates a significant problem with the Comdex ranking, as the fewer agency ratings a company has, the lower their score may be. When assessing Comdex rankings, take into consideration how many agency ratings they have factored into their score.

The Comdex ranking can help determine the top-rated companies, but it is only one of many factors you should consider when choosing a policy.

Life insurance and disability insurance companies offer various insurance products, and they vary considerably in terms of cost, benefits, terms, and eligibility. Before selecting a policy, be sure to read and understand all disclaimers and terms so that you know exactly how the policy works and pays benefits.

Related: 9 Common Life Insurance Riders that Physicians Should Know.


Do You Need Life and Disability Insurance?

As high-income earners, some physicians don’t recognize the need for life and disability insurance.

Most physicians have cash in the bank plus investments in real estate, stocks, and bonds. Most have retirement accountsIRAs, and 401ks. Most think that they have more than enough money to leave their heirs in a comfortable financial position in the event of their death.

But that’s not the only thing that life insurance is for.

There’s more to life insurance than just leaving your loved ones a death benefit when you die. Yes, a death benefit can provide added financial protection for your heirs, but you can also use it as an investment vehicle and a way to build wealth throughout your career

Disability insurance, on the other hand, is income replacement insurance and guarantees you a way to earn income if you are too sick or injured to work. With individual disability insurance you can continue to earn a portion of income until retirement age, and you can use that income for any purpose, including to pay life insurance premiums that you can use to grow wealth.

If you choose a mutual life insurance company that pays dividends you may be able to earn additional income on your policy. Select a permanent life policy that builds cash value and you can master the art of infinite banking. Opt for an indexed universal life insurance policy, and you can earn tax-free gains based on the stock market index.

Universal life, term life, whole lifepermanent life

There are many insurance policies you can take that will provide you with different benefits or opportunities to build wealth over time. And you can use the replaced income earned through disability insurance to pay for any and all of your life insurance policies..

For more information on the different types of life insurance policies, read Life Insurance for Retirement: The Right and Wrong Approach, the Types of Life Insurance for Physicians, and How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?.

Life insurance and disability insurance are crucial financial tools that you need in your investment portfolio, no matter your medical specialty.

For more guidance on how to find the best insurance companies and secure the right policies for your needs, contact Physicians Thrive now.

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