Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Review 2021

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If you’re estate planning to make sure your loved ones are cared for after you’re gone, life insurance should be an essential part of your planning. There are many companies selling life insurance, and the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company is among the highest-rated of all companies.

Northwestern Mutual reviews from customers place the company at the top when it comes to customer satisfaction. Take a closer look at the Northwestern Mutual insurance products available.

Northwestern Mutual life insurance

The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance company offers a variety of life insurance policies. Northwestern Mutual is structured as a mutual company, which means that life insurance policyholders own a portion of the company and are eligible to earn dividends. Annual dividends aren’t guaranteed, but Northwestern Mutual has been paying them out every year for almost 150 years.

Types of life insurance policies offered

Northwestern Mutual offers three types of life insurance: term, whole and universal.

A term life insurance policy is temporary — it covers you for a predetermined period of time, such as 10, 20 or 30 years. Whole and universal life insurance are permanent — as long as you continue to pay your premiums, you’re insured.

Here’s a closer look at what the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance company has to offer in each category.

Term life insurance

Northwestern Mutual’s term life insurance policies come with a fixed premium that won’t change over time. The premium depends on your age, term length and death benefit amount. The death benefit is paid out to your designated loved one(s) tax-free.

A typical term life insurance policy would be 20 years with a death benefit of $500,000, but you may choose the length and amount of your choice. You can choose a term insurance policy that converts your term into a permanent policy after the term is up without having to take another medical exam.

Whole life insurance

Whole life insurance is permanent, meaning it doesn’t end after a certain amount of time. As long as you continue paying your premiums, your whole life insurance policy is in effect.

Whole life insurance policies have higher premiums because the amount you’re paying has two components — the death benefit for your loved ones and a growing, tax-deferred cash value amount you can draw and borrow from. The cash value sits in an interest-bearing account in your name. Use the cash value at any time to grow your retirement savings, put a down payment on a house or help kids or grandkids pay for college.

Universal life insurance

Similar to whole life insurance, universal insurance is permanent. It adds a couple of features that set it apart from whole life insurance — flexibility when it comes to how often you pay your premiums and a potential investment element.

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance has two main types of universal insurance:

  • Single premium: The option to pay a single lump sum towards your permanent policy. It’s ideal for someone who’s received an inheritance or settlement and can pay the policy in full.
  • Custom universal life: The standard universal life policy with flexible annual payments.

There’s more to Northwestern Mutual insurance’s universal products. The company provides a fixed universal life insurance policy with a set amount of interest you’ll earn on your account’s cash value.

Then there’s the variable universal life insurance policy, invested more aggressively for higher growth. Remember that investment comes with risk — the cash value account could mirror the condition of the markets, experiencing peaks and valleys.

When deciding on which type of universal life insurance policy from Northwestern Mutual to choose, have an idea of when you expect you’d need to draw on the cash value. If you won’t be accessing it for years, a variable universal insurance policy has a better chance of growth. But there’s a caveat — you’ll have to weather the highs and lows of the market.

If you think you’ll need the money in the next five years, a fixed universal life policy may make more sense. Your cash value amount will grow slowly but the amount you contribute will be there when you’re ready to access it.

Northwestern Mutual ratings, reviews, customer satisfaction and complaints

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance reviews from customers are impressive. The company ranks high across the board when it comes to financial stability and customer satisfaction. Here’s how Northwestern Mutual insurance rates:

Northwestern Mutual ratings
A.M. Best Company A++
Better Business Bureau (BBB) A+
Fitch Rating AAA
J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Survey Ranks as #1 with 5 out of 5
Moody’s Aaa
S&P Global Ratings AA+

Reasons Northwestern Mutual is a great option


  • Top-ranking life insurance company in customer reviews
  • Coverage for smokers and older individuals available
  • Permanent policies build cash value
  • High financial strength ratings


  • Requires a medical exam for underwriting
  • No online quote tool — policies only available through insurance agents

Additional policies offered by Northwestern Mutual

Besides high-quality life insurance products, Northwestern Mutual offers:

  • Annuities
  • Disability insurance
  • Long-term care insurance

Frequently asked questions

What is the best life insurance company?

The best life insurance company meets your specific needs at a price you can afford. Based on Northwestern Mutual company reviews and financial strength, Northwestern Mutual may be the best. Weigh what other insurers have to offer in Bankrate’s best life insurance companies review.

Will I need a medical exam with Northwestern Mutual?

You’ll need a medical exam for a life insurance policy with Northwestern Mutual, but you can always convert your term policy to a permanent one without the need for an additional medical checkup.

What is a life insurance dividend?

Insurance companies with the term “mutual” as part of their name are owned by the policyholders. Buying a life insurance policy from a mutual company means you’re part-owner of the company and entitled to a dividend, which is a portion of the profits paid back to a company’s owners. Northwestern Mutual has paid dividends every year for almost 150 years.

Written by
Cynthia Paez Bowman
Personal Finance Contributor
Cynthia Paez Bowman is a finance and business journalist who has been featured in Bankrate, Business Jet Traveler, MSN,, and She regularly travels to Africa and the Middle East to consult with women’s NGOs about small business development and works with select startups and women-owned businesses to provide growth and visibility.