Among the many different life insurance companies in the United States, not many folks have heard of the National Western Life Insurance Company unless their agent brought it their attention.
Although they aren’t a massive carrier, they do have a certain void which they fill in the industry, and you may just have a need for one of their product choices.
NWL also has a pretty wide selection of products, including simplified products (where no medical exam is required), which many others don’t.
This helps them to carve a piece of the market to call their own, and their product could just be the right for you and your family.
But first, we break down everything you should know about National Western so you can understand the company, it’s brief history, and the value their products provide.
As we recommend during each review, this should be a supplement to your own research before you make a decision to buy life insurance. Let’s begin.
Our National Western Life Review
Coming up on its 60th year in business National Western Life began its short history after being founded in the state Colorado. Since its inception, it has grown to expand into 49 different states, the District of Columbia, and even internationally.
National Western operates in Haiti, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, and more. With more than 15,000 agents contracted worldwide, they have laid the foundation to grow several aspects of their business for years to come within the global marketplace.
National Western Life Insurance Company does not offer products in the state of New York at this time.
Financials & Ratings
National Western Life Insurance Company is considered a strong carrier by more than one independent rating agency. NWL has received an “A” rating by A.M. Best, as well as an “A” rating by Standard & Poor’s.
They also maintain an “A+” with the Better Business Bureau, although this typically isn’t a measure of strength or financial status, but rather product or customer service.
National Western Life is a public company traded on the NASDAQ under the ticker NWLI. In 2014, the company had more than $500M in revenue, with a net earnings of more than $77M. This numbers, although large, are more representative of a smaller company within the insurance industry.
Life Products Available
There are many different products, and many different types, available through National Western Life. They have a comprehensive selection of:
- Term Life
- Universal Life
- Indexed Universal Life
- Whole Life
There is a product to meet virtually any need which arises. NWL even has payroll deducted life insurance options (offering policies through a workplace). Finally, they are one of just 15 companies who have no medical policies available.
Term Life Insurance
While available, their term products and modified benefit products are less popular. There are two types available, a fully underwritten (exam required) and simplified (no exam required).
- NWL® Term and NWL® Secure Term
- NWL® Rapid Issue (Term)
- NWL® Graded Death Benefit (Term)
- NWL® Living Benefit Term
The only fully underwritten term life insurance policy is the first, the NWL® Term and NWL® Secure Term options. The others are all simplified issue, meaning there are less questions and no blood tests.
While it’s more convenient, prices are higher per thousand since the carrier knows less about you.
Universal Life Insurance
Universal life insurance products are the backbone of this carriers selection, with both traditional universal and indexed universal available.
The traditional offers a guaranteed amount of protection, flexible premiums, and a cash value component within the policy.
The indexed universal, or also called IUL, has an additional growth measure through using indices to hedge risk while still allowing more cash value increases than standard interest rates.
Here’s the lineup:
- NWL Life 100®
This is your most basic universal life contract, and does require the exam to be purchased. If you’re looking for the most affordable permanent option, this is it.
- NWL Lifetime Returns®
- NWL Lifetime Returns Select®
- NWL® Lifetime Returns Solutions
These permanent policies have a cash portion tied to a market index (usually the S&P500) to offer the potential for additional gains throughout the life of the policy. While not guaranteed, there are stated minimums.
It should also be noted, the 2nd and 3rd options are offered without an exam.
Whole Life Insurance
National Western does have quite a few different whole life policies, all of which are simplified issue. A whole life is like a universal, but typically has better guarantees and is not tied to mutual funds or other investments directly. Here’s what they offer:
- NWL® Rapid Issue (Whole Life)
- NWL® Graded Death Benefit (Whole Life)
- NWL® MAXWealth
Special thought should be given before applying for any of these, as you may be able to get a better value with another carrier who allows you to apply for whole life as fully underwritten. Since you’ll be paying for the policy for the rest of your life, every dollar saved per month really adds up, and the death benefit would be immediate.
If you’re looking for an indexed universal life insurance policy, you may want to take a look at National Western Life when comparing all available companies, but otherwise they serve a small niche.
They are somewhat non-competitive in many other markets, though they do offer insurance for a range of consumers others do not, like graded products for wide age groups.
The term life insurance products aren’t competitive, on the whole, and you can likely find better value elsewhere. If you prefer to skip the exam, and need more death benefit than NWL offers, we recommend Haven Life, Foresters, and 5Star.
For a small group, NWL may be a fit, though we tend to think this is a company who will get lost in the crowd for the vast majority.