Annuities were first introduced in the Roman times as a pension lifetime income stream for the dutiful Roman soldiers and their families. The Latin word "annua" means payment, and is the origin of today's word...annuity. That first Roman annuity is today's version of a Single Premium Immediate Annuity (SPIA).
Finding the best annuity company for your specific situation is, in essence, finding the highest contractually guaranteed number after shopping all carriers. Annuities are commodity products, and the quotes change every 7 to 10 days like a gallon of milk. The only way to lock in a quote is to be moving through the application process.
Think of buying an annuity like you buy a plane ticket. You put in your specific personal information, and then choose the best deal. Shopping for annuities should be exactly the same. Never let an annuity agent or advisor "steer"you toward their favorite product, or tell you that one company's offering is the best one for you. That's typically a play for them to make a higher commission.
After you find the highest contractual number for your situation, then you start the process of looking at the carrier's claims paying ability. I recommend using COMDEX rankings which is a compilation of the 4 major ratings services (AM Best, Moody's, S&P, Fitch).
Contact Stan The Annuity Man for the best and highest contractually guaranteed quotes with all carriers using Stan's proprietary annuity calculators. You can also receive Stan's 6 Annuity Owner's Manuals for free and under no obligation, and see a live feed of the best fixed rates for your specific state of residence.