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Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Review 2018

January 24, 2018

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Northwestern Mutual

  • Earned No. 1 spot in NerdWallet's ranking of best life insurance companies
  • It ranked high in a J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey
  • The company is owned by its policyholders, which means eligible customers can receive dividends


As a mutual company, Northwestern Mutual is owned by its policyholders, some of whom are eligible to share in annual dividends when the company does well. The company expects to pay $5.3 billion in dividends in 2018.

NerdWallet rank: 1st

Northwestern Mutual ranked No. 1 out of 18 large companies scored by NerdWallet. NerdWallet’s life insurance company rankings combine its A.M. Best rating, consumer complaints and J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction score.

» MORE: The best life insurance companies

A.M. Best financial strength rating: A++ (superior)

Northwestern Mutual’s financial strength is “superior,” according to ratings agency A.M. Best.

Financial strength is important because it indicates how well an insurer can pay claims. It’s especially important when choosing a life insurance company, because claims might not be made until many decades after a policy is purchased.

Consumer complaints: Better than the median

Northwestern Mutual drew significantly fewer than the median number of complaints to state regulators in 2015 for a company of its size, according to the latest data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

The association assigns a complaint ratio score to insurance companies, based on the number of complaints to state insurance commissioners, adjusted for market share. The median score is 1. A score less than 1 means fewer complaints. Northwestern Mutual’s score for individual life insurance in 2016 was .03.

J.D. Power ratings: Better than most

Northwestern Mutual ranks among the best life insurance companies for customer service, according to research firm J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Life Insurance Study. The company had the fifth-highest score overall among 24 of the largest U.S. life insurers.

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance customer satisfaction scores
Overall satisfaction Better than most
Billing and payment Better than most
Price Average
Policy offerings Better than most
Interaction Among the best
Source: J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Life Insurance Study

More about Northwestern Mutual

Types of life insurance soldOther products & services
  • Term life
  • Whole life
  • Universal life

  • Annuities
  • Disability insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Education funding plans
  • Investment and wealth management services
  • Special insurance options

    Disability insurance for part-timers and stay-at-home spouses: Northwestern Mutual offers disability insurance policies designed for part-time workers and stay-at-home spouses. The coverage for part-time employees is geared to people who work between 15 and 29 hours. The coverage can expand if their jobs become full-time. The policies for stay-at-home spouses are geared to people who provide care for children or elderly or disabled family members.

    Two types of universal life insurance: The “Single-Premium” universal life policy can be purchased with a single lump-sum payment. The “Custom Universal Life Accumulator” policy lets the policy owner adjust the death benefit and the price for coverage as needs change.