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Last updated on Jan 09, 2020

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Review

A standout option for whole life insurance ​
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12 companies compared

2 features evaluated

5 ratings analyzed

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Review

Northwestern Mutual ranks among the top life insurance providers in the industry. With a full range of coverage options and add-on riders for term, whole, and universal life insurance, its policies can be customized to fit the individual needs of any family. Northwestern Mutual also has a strong dividend history and good cash value offerings, making it one of the best whole life insurance providers out there.

The only place where Northwestern Mutual falls short is in online resources — its site lacks the support and learning materials that are useful for first-time life insurance buyers. However, it earns the top spot in J.D. Power’s study of life insurance customer satisfaction, so it’s likely that you’ll have a good experience reaching out to agents for questions.

Pros Cons
Term-to-permanent conversion option
High customer satisfaction and financial strength scores
Flexible coverage
Limited online resources
No online quote tool

The Life Insurance Factors We Analyzed

Customer experience

Northwestern Mutual is the winner of J.D. Power’s life insurance customer satisfaction survey. Customers were asked to rate an insurer’s product offerings, prices, insurance statement clarity, interactions, communication, and application process, and Northwestern Mutual earned five out of five stars in all categories except statements and application process. That’s probably because its online experience could be better — the Northwestern Mutual website is well designed and offers an online insurance calculator to help you decide how much insurance you need, but information is limited and there is no online quote tool.

Other than that, all signs point to Northwestern Mutual being easy to work with. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the insurer received far fewer complaints than average in 2018.

Coverage and rider information

Like most life insurance companies, Northwestern Mutual offers a full range of term, whole, and universal policies. What makes this company stand out, though, is the flexibility it offers within each type of life insurance. A range of options for termination, extension, and conversion means that your insurance policy will flex and change as your life does.

For example, Northwestern Mutual lets you alter your policy length if your insurance needs change unexpectedly. Its cash surrender option offers an early out, and term-to-permanent conversion gives you the opportunity to extend coverage beyond your original term. We really like Northwestern Mutual’s permanent policy conversion options, in particular, which made it one of our favorite whole life insurance providers.

Along with a flexible policy selection, Northwestern Mutual carries a wide variety of coverage add-ons (also known as “riders”). This means that you can customize your policy to fit your individual needs. Some unique options include an accidental death rider (which pays up to double the policy’s value if you die in an accident), a critical illness rider (which pays a lump sum at the time of diagnosis), and a disability income rider (to supplement your income if you can’t work).

We also appreciate that Northwestern Mutual offers an accelerated death benefit rider. This is widely considered to be one of the most important riders, as it lets the policyholder access their death benefit early to cover medical bills, treatments, and other costs associated with a life-threatening illness. It can save you family a lot of financial strife in the event of a critical diagnosis down the road.

Life insurance coverage features

Insurance types offered Term, whole, universal
Term lengths offered 10 or 20 years
Standout coverage features Accelerated Death Benefit rider
Disability Waiver of Premium
Long-term care insurance
Guaranteed term-to-permanent conversion

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Overview: Financial Strength, Availability, and History

Northwestern Mutual has been providing financial products and insurance for more than 150 years, and the NAIC ranks it as the second-largest insurer in the world behind MetLife. The good news is that the company has the financial clout to back up its huge number of policies — Northwestern Mutual earns some of the best financial strength ratings from independent agencies A.M. Best, S&P Global, and Moody’s. Its superior financial scores ensure the confidence and peace of mind you need when choosing an insurer that will be with you for the long haul.

  • In business since: 1857
  • S&P Global financial strength rating: AA+
  • Moody’s financial strength rating: Aaa
  • A.M. Best financial strength rating: A++
  • States served: 50 plus Washington, D.C.

The Competition

Reviews.com Score
Customer Experience Score
Financial Strength Score
Northwestern Mutual
State Farm
New York Life

All information accurate as of January 9, 2020.

The Bottom Line

Northwestern Mutual is a strong life insurance provider all around, with reliable financials, well-rounded coverage, and highly rated customer service. Its flexible policy terms and whole life insurance providers makes it one of whole life insurance providers. We always recommend pulling quotes from multiple providers to see which offers you the most affordable coverage; however, if you’re looking for a policy that will be with you for the long run, Northwestern Mutual is definitely worth including on that list.

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance FAQ