Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company

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Northwestern Mutual is an outstanding life insurance company from top to bottom, with excellent ratings, minimal complaints, and a range of affordable policies.

A.M. Best




J.D. Power


The Good

  • Affordable coverage
  • Highest satisfaction ratings
  • Exceptional safety/security
  • Potential dividends
  • Policy options
  • Full financial planning

The Bad

  • Requires captive agent
  • No online application

Product Availability

Policy Types
  • Term
  • Universal
  • Variable Universal
  • Whole
  • Disability income
  • Term conversion
  • Waiver of premium

Review Breakdown





Financial Strength


User Experience


Product Availability





When you buy life insurance, it’s important to pick a company that is financially solvent and has a solid reputation.

Beyond that, you should choose the provider that offers the policy you need at the lowest price.

Northwestern Mutual’s rates are reasonably low by comparison, offering affordable premiums for term and permanent coverage.

While Northwestern Mutual’s rates are average for young applicants who are in relatively good shape, their rates are usually among the lowest for smokers, as well as for older applicants in great physical health.

In the 2019 J.D. Power U.S. Life Insurance Study, Northwestern Mutual received 5/5 stars for price. 

Though, if you just want cheap term, you can find better rates elsewhere.

The highest score possible, this indicates that Northwestern Mutual’s cost of coverage is “Among the Best” in the industry, as a whole.

Financial Strength

Life insurance is a major investment. As such, the company that issues your policy should be a financially stable institution you can depend on.

Northwestern Mutual lives up to its reputation.

A Fortune 500 company, it has almost $220B assets under its management and paid out $4.8 billion to policyholders or their beneficiaries in 2018.

The company has earned a spot as the best life insurance companies in strength and stability by all four credit rating agencies, as you can see here:

A.M. BestA++
Standard & Poor’sA++

Only a very short list of life insurance companies have been able to achieve such superior ratings across the board, one of the crowning achievements for the insurance industry.

As a mutual life insurance company, Northwestern Mutual is owned by its policyholders.

It currently has the highest dividend payout of any of its competitors in the industry, by nearly three times. This dividend is built into the structure of its policies, though not guaranteed.

When it comes to financial strength, Northwestern Mutual is at the top of its class.

User Experience

Buying life insurance should be a simple and straightforward process. 

A great company provides you with the customer service and online resources you need to learn more about the company, apply for a policy, and file a claim.


Reviews from J.D. Power and the Better Business Bureau provide useful assessments of Northwestern Mutual and other life insurance companies: 

  • J.D. Power: 5 / 5
  • BBB: A+

J.D. Power’s annual survey ranks life insurance companies based on their communication with clients, website, ease of application, and more.

Their most recent survey named Northwestern Mutual as the number one life insurance provider in the nation, giving them above average rankings in every category and the highest possible score for overall satisfaction.


Northwestern Mutual’s website is simple to use and readily provides basic details on all of its policy options.

It also has a useful calculator tool that helps you determine your coverage needs. 

Policyholders can make payments, access their policy details, and view their billing and account history online.


To get a quote or apply for policy from Northwestern Mutual, you’ll have to interact with one of their agents. 

When you use the online calculator tool, you’ll be prompted to connect with a local advisor to take the next step.

Northwestern’s policies are medically underwritten and the application process is standard.

J.D. Power gave the application process a 4 out of 5, designating it as “Better than Most” based on the ease of applying, turnaround time, and the documentation requirements.

Product Availability

You’ll have about everything you could need from Northwestern Mutual when looking for policy variety.


From Northwestern Mutual, your term life options are as follows:

  1. Level Term 10
  2. Level Term 20
  3. Term 10
  4. Term 80

The Level Term 10 is, actually, a 20 year policy, but the first 10 years are level and then it while the premium resets for the second decade of the policy. 

The Level Term 20 is truly a 20 year level- term policy, where the premium starts and stays at one price from beginning to end.

Their Term 10 options is the cheaper way to secure a 10 year term, by allowing you to purchase a policy which will start low and increase annually until the tenth year. 

Likewise, the Term 80 will start at the insured’s age, and increase up until their 80th birthday, when coverage ceases.


The Custom Universal Life (CUL) – Accumulator is the main universal life insurance option from the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.

It’s the most affordable way to get a permanent death benefit, and have potentially flexible premiums along the way. 

There is cash growth within the policy, as well, though the guarantees aren’t quite as strong as the whole life.

If you want to pre-pay all premiums, you could utilize the Single Premium UL option, but there are different tax considerations here because it creates a Modified Endowment Contract, or MEC.


If growth is a key feature you’re looking for, consider a variable universal life insurance policy from Northwestern through the help of one of their registered representatives. 

The cash portion of the contract can be invested into mutual funds or other market related avenues, giving you the potential to accumulate more within the policy (assuming a level of risk, to do so).


Finally, the core products for Northwestern Mutual are its whole life policies. These policies come with a range of flexibility and permanence. 

Coverage is guaranteed for life, but you can choose to make payments up to a certain age, like 65 or 90.

With a whole life policy, you get permanent coverage and an accessible cash value account that is guaranteed to grow at a certain rate and never decrease.

.You can also purchase a survivorship whole life policy from Northwestern Mutual


Northwestern Mutual is one of the longer standing life insurers in the United States today, having been in business well over 150 years.

The company began as the Mutual Life Insurance Company of the State of Wisconsin back in 1857.

Then and today, they have put a strong emphasis on policyholders and their well being.

Northwestern Mutual’s dividend structure has been maintained annually since 1872, which the company is extremely proud of.

Northwestern is also unique is its formation of the Examining Committee of the Board of Trustees, which allows for policyholders, not members of the company’s board, to inspect the operations and financial actions of the company, to ensure they are strictly for the benefit of the policyholders.

Having long been a company strictly focusing on its sales of life insurance products, NW Mutual entered another product, disability income, back in 1969. 

Today, it operates on a full line of products including long term care insurance, financial products for retirement, employee benefits for small and large businesses, and more.

The company now has $1.8 trillion of life insurance policies in force and has an overall client base of 4.5 million people.

NW Mutual is also dedicated to philanthropy, with its own organization, the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, focusing largely on the prevention of childhood diseases like cancer.

Additionally, Northwestern Mutual has partnered with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (better known as the NCAA) in supporting higher education for young adults. 

It is a proponent of secondary education and offers internships for those who are looking for real world experience.

With an active presence on social media, both at the company level and local agent level, Northwestern Mutual engages with its customers on yet another level, further solidifying its name brand recognition.


There is a strong consensus among industry experts and policyholders alike that Northwestern Mutual is an excellent choice for life insurance. 

Consistently ranking high atop the lists of best life insurance companies far and wide and securing strong customer ratings, Northwestern Mutual is a commendable carrier.

A true mutual insurance company, Northwestern Mutual stands to separate itself from the rest by holding true to the foundation which has made it so strong today. A truly unique carrier, they are a model for many and a trusted name.

Though you’re required to work with one of Northwestern Mutual’s agents to secure coverage, that could be to your advantage as you’ll get top-notch service and attention to your needs.

Whether you require simple term life insurance or advanced planning with life insurance and long term care, Northwestern has what you need.

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company

(866) 950-4644
720 East Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Company Name (and subsidiaries)

  • Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company
  • Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC. (NMIS)
  • Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company


Jason Fisher

Jason Fisher is the founder and CEO of, LLC. and a multi-state licensed life insurance agent who has helped over a million Americans seek out affordable coverage, compare quotes, or get their family and businesses covered.