Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company is one of the largest, most stable life insurance companies in the USA. The company offers a full range of life insurance policies, as well as financial and investment packages. They have one of the lowest incidences of customer complaints, which indicates a no-fuss approach to payouts. However, it's not the lowest-price, so it may pay to shop around to be sure you're getting the best rates.
Extremely low number of customer complaints. Northwestern Mutual has a solid financial backing for its claims, getting the highest possible grade at four of the five ratings agencies, and a very high A-minus rating from Weiss. The company has one of the lowest ratios of consumer complaints according to state insurance regulators. The Better Business Bureau gives it its highest A-plus rating. It's one of the biggest life insurance companies in the country -- sixth in size according to the Insurance Information Institute. Its complaint index is 1/32 of the national median.
A full-service company. Northwestern Mutual Life offers a full range of life insurance products, including term life insurance, several types of permanent life insurance and hybrid policies that combine the two. They don't offer auto or home insurance but do have disability and long-term care insurance as well as financial and retirement investment products, and 529 educational plans. It's somewhat pricier than companies that are not as solid, so if cost is your primary driver, it can pay to shop around.
1. Better Business Bureau
Northwestern Mutual has been an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1939. It earns the highest grade of A-plus for being trustworthy, with a good history of resolving customer complaints. This report gives general information about the 12 complaints Northwestern Mutual's headquarters location has had filed with the BBB during the past three years and how they were resolved.
Review: BBB Business Review, Editors of Better Business Bureau, As of February 2014
2. National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Customer complaints filed with state insurance commissions are summarized here, where you can look up companies by name. The "closed complaint ratio report" shows how many complaints were upheld against a company in a year per market share (so you can compare big companies with small ones and compare them against the national median). For Northwestern Mutual, the number of upheld complaints is extremely low.
Review: Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, Editors of National Association of Insurance Commissioners, As of February 2014
3. Weiss Ratings
Weiss Ratings is considered by some consumer advocates to be the most stringent of the financial raters, and it doesn't accept payments from the companies it rates. Ratings look-ups are free but require registration.
Review: Strongest and Weakest Links, Editors of Weiss Ratings, Editors of Weiss Ratings
4. Best's Review
This report honors insurance companies that have maintained stellar financial ratings at A.M. Best for at least 75 years. Northwestern Mutual is one of 60 insurers to make the list, and it currently enjoys A.M. Best's highest rating of A++.
Review: Standing the Test of Time, Editors of Best's Review, July 2013
5. Fitch Ratings
Northwestern Mutual is one of only four life insurers to earn the highest AAA insurer financial strength rating from Fitch. This rating is "assigned only in the case of exceptionally strong capacity" to meet financial obligations, which is "highly unlikely to be adversely affected by foreseeable events." Ratings are free to view, but registration is required.
Review: Fitch Ratings, Editors of Fitch Ratings, As of February 2014
At Moody's, only three U.S. life insurers -- including Northwestern Mutual -- earn the highest financial strength rating of Aaa. These companies offer "exceptional financial security." Free registration is required to access the site, however.
Review: Insurance Financial Strength Ratings, Editors of Moody's, As of February 2014
7. Standard & Poor's
Northwestern Mutual earns an AA-plus, Standard & Poor's second highest rating for long-term financial strength. This rating means the company is one of the most likely to meet its financial obligations.
Review: Insurance Rating List: Life, Editors of Standard & Poor's, As of February 2014