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Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Review 2020

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Northwestern Mutual

  • Ranked high in a J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey.
  • Eligible customers can receive dividends.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, not all companies are accepting new life insurance applications. For the latest information on how to cope with financial stress during this emergency, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

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 $6 billion in dividends in 2020, the highest payout in its history.

Northwestern Mutual life insurance

5.0 NerdWallet rating

Northwestern Mutual earned 5 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and financial strength ratings from A.M. Best.

Based on these ratings, Northwestern Mutual is among NerdWallet’s Best Life Insurance Companies for 2020.

Northwestern Mutual offers term, whole and universal life insurance policies. The company’s term and universal life insurance options give customers flexible payment and coverage choices. With whole life insurance, premiums stay level for the life of the policy.

Term life insurance policies can have level payments that don’t change over the length or your term, or premiums that start low and increase each year. Northwestern Mutual’s term policies can be converted to whole life policies without a medical exam.

Additionally, Northwestern Mutual offers 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” policy lets the policy owner adjust the death benefit and the price for coverage as needs change.

» MORE: Compare life insurance quotes

Northwestern Mutual complaints and customer satisfaction

Over three years, Northwestern Mutual has drawn significantly fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size, according to a NerdWallet analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Additionally, Northwestern Mutual ranks highly for customer service, according to research firm J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study. The company scored highest overall among 24 of the largest U.S. life insurers.

Customer satisfaction categoryNorthwestern Mutual's score
Overall satisfactionAmong the best
Policy offeringsAmong the best
PriceAmong the best
Billing and paymentBetter than most
InteractionBetter than most
CommunicationAmong the best
Application processBetter than most

Methodology: Life insurance ratings

NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on weighted averages of complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance, and financial strength ratings from A.M. Best, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims. To calculate each insurer’s rating, we adjusted the NAIC and A.M. Best scores to a curved 5-point scale.

These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews.

Methodology: Insurer complaints

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2016-2018. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.