Aviva and Legal & General scooped up the majority of advisers' protection business in 2018 – but neither provider topped satisfaction polls.
A 20-page report produced by Defaqto, based on an online survey of 225 advisers between June and September 2018, showed more than 70 per cent had recommended an Aviva or Legal & General policy last year.
Aegon remained in third place of providers most advisers had used, with LV in fourth place ahead of Royal London.
Zurich maintained sixth position, which it also held in 2017.
Scottish Widows continued to establish itself and was now eighth in line for advisers' support when it comes to recommending a protection policy.
On average, advisers revealed they used 5.4 protection providers in 2018 compared with 5.2 in 2017, with three being the most common number of providers used.
When it comes to satisfying the needs of financial advisers, the first position for categories such as claims handling, product design and online services was dominated by Canada Life, British Friendly and AIG Life.
Defaqto noted the providers occupying the top three positions for satisfaction in each category were typically those that offered a specialist proposition or a premium product.
Overall, advisers rated their satisfaction levels as follows:
Claims handling and administration
New business processing
Existing business administration
Provider strength and brand
Commission and remuneration
Business development managers
The survey also revealed in terms of the individual protection products used by financial advisers, the sector continued to be dominated by level term assurance, critical illness with life cover, and decreasing term assurance.
However, the support for a number of products decreased in 2018 including income protection insurance, which dropped by eight percentage points.
This year, for the first time, Defaqto also asked advisers whether they sold prepaid funeral plans and 9 per cent indicated that they did.
Kevin Carr, chief executive of Protection Review, said: "It comes as little surprise that the overall industry results from a relatively predictable survey haven’t changed too much.
"Paying claims, underwriting and customer service are always going to be the most important areas for advisers when it comes to protection and where there have been some changes it has been quite small.
"I suspect advisers will be more interested in the results for individual companies though."