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Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Review 2020

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Northwestern Mutual

  • Earned No. 1 spot in NerdWallet's ranking of best life insurance companies.
  • Ranked high in a J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey.
  • 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 $6 billion in dividends in 2020, the highest payout in its history.

Northwestern Mutual life insurance

Northwestern Mutual ranks No. 1 out of 20 on NerdWallet’s list of the best life insurance companies. NerdWallet ranks the country’s largest life insurance companies based on financial strength, customer satisfaction and consumer complaints.

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 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: The best life insurance companies

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: 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 and life insurance.