National Life Group Insurance Review

Quality life insurance and annuities products with excellent customer service

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National Life Group Insurance

National Life Group Insurance

overall rating
4.0

Our Take

National Life Group Insurance is one of the country’s first mutual insurance companies, selling insurance products for over 170 years. The company enjoys an excellent financial strength grade from the credit rating agency AM Best. However, a 2019 class-action lawsuit accusing the company of participating in an illegal pyramid scheme may give consumers pause before obtaining a policy.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Offers term, whole, universal, variable, and indexed variable life insurance

  • Offers annuities

  • Provides retirement planning

  • Offers living benefit rider

Cons
  • Company facing a class-action lawsuit alleging illegal pyramid scheme

  • No online quotes

  • Limited rider options

  • Commission-based sales representatives may be incentivized to sell certain products

Key Takeaways
  • Founded in 1848, National Life Group is one of the first insurance companies in the U.S. 
  • Total life insurance in force reached $170 billion in 2019.
  • Sales representatives are independent contractors who work on commission.
  • National Life Group specializes in whole, term, universal, indexed universal, and variable universal policies.
  • The company also offers annuities, mutual funds, IRAs, and retirement plans.
  • National Life Group enjoys an “A” (Excellent) rating by AM Best.
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1848
  • Kinds of Plans Whole, term, universal, indexed universal, variable universal
  • Number of Plans 5
  • Payment Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually
  • Official Website https://www.nationallife.com/

Introduction

National Life Group is an established insurance provider offering a variety of life insurance products, annuities, mutual funds, and IRAs. The company has provided insurance to its policyholders for over 170 years. 

We reviewed the company’s policy options, riders, website resources, customer satisfaction ratings, and financial strength ratings to help you compare the life insurance policy options of National Life Group with the competition.

Company Overview

National Life Group is the trade name of National Life Insurance Company, which was founded in 1848. The company makes its headquarters in Montpelier, Vermont, and it is licensed to conduct business in all 50 states.

National Life Group’s website claims they are the second-largest seller of indexed universal life insurance in the United States. The website doesn’t offer the ability to get free quotes or sign up for policies online. If you need more information or you wish to sign up for an insurance product, you’ll have to contact an independent sales agent that sells National Life Group policies.

Note that the company is facing a class-action lawsuit filed by the Girard Sharp law firm in February 2019. According to the firm’s website, the site accuses National Life Group of participation in an illegal pyramid scheme. The filing alleges the plaintiffs sought to target Chinese, Vietnamese, and Filipino immigrants while promising high returns for recruiting others to buy and sell universal life insurance policies.

Warning

Signing up for an insurance policy may take longer than it takes to enroll online because you must work with a sales representative.

Available Plans

National Life Group offers five different types of life insurance policies, including term, whole, universal, indexed universal, and variable universal. The company also provides a living benefit rider. 

All of National Life Group’s insurance products are fully underwritten, so you’ll have to fill out an application and take a medical exam to be eligible for life insurance coverage.

Unfortunately, the company’s website doesn’t delve into many policy specifics and you’ll need to speak with a sales representative for policy quotes and details.

Term

Term life insurance provides temporary coverage for a defined number of years or until the insured reaches a specific age. Premiums for term life policies are typically lower than other types of life insurance, which may be helpful for individuals working within a budget, and they feature a guaranteed death benefit for your beneficiaries if you pass away during the term. There is no cash value on these policies, which means your beneficiaries will not receive any money if you do not pass away during the policy’s defined term.

National Life Group appears to offer two term life insurance options: a level term life option with a fixed premium rate and a renewable term life alternative with premiums that increase as you get older. Depending on your needs, you can choose the option that best suits you and your family.

Whole

Whole life insurance is ideal for those seeking a guaranteed death benefit and who want to maintain coverage for the “whole” of the rest of their life. Unlike term life insurance, whole life coverage carries a cash value that grows over time. 

And, since National Life Group is a mutual company, you may receive dividend payments that add to your policies cash value. The website points out that dividends are not guaranteed, but they are usually declared annually by the company.

Important

Dividend payment is the distribution of a portion of a company’s profits to its shareholders. While dividends are not the only criteria for selecting a policy, it’s a good idea to choose an insurance company with a strong record of annual payouts.

One of the primary benefits of whole life insurance is level premiums that remain unchanged during the policy term, even as you grow older or face health challenges.

Universal

National Life Group also offers universal life insurance, which provides its policyholders more flexibility than whole life insurance. Universal life insurance recognizes your needs may change over time. As such, this policy allows you to change the death benefit or the premium as needed (subject to additional underwriting approval).

Also, National Life Group sets an interest rate to the policy’s cash value. While the interest rate is subject to change, it will never be below the guaranteed minimum interest rate stated in the policy.

Indexed Universal

In 2019, National Life Group debuted FlexLife IUL and Peak Life, its first indexed universal life insurance policies. Indexed universal life insurance may offer the best of both worlds: death benefit protection and a cash value component.

The cash account is tied to an underlying index, such as the S&P 500. If the underlying market index earns a positive return, the policy’s cash account will receive a credit up to the limits outlined in the policy. But, if the index that underpins the cash account loses value, the principal in the cash account remains protected. The cash value will not decline due to decreases in the underlying index.

Both FlexLife IUL and Peak life offer enhanced living benefits riders. These riders allow you to access your benefits if you suffer a qualifying critical injury or if you are diagnosed with a qualifying terminal or chronic illness.

Variable Universal

National Life Group’s variable universal life insurance policy is for those who need life insurance but want to choose how the cash value account is invested.

The return for the cash component of the policy is tied to mutual funds or another investment option. This structure carries the potential for higher yields, albeit with more inherent risk.

Available Riders

Riders are additional benefits you can add to your insurance policy to help you address specific needs. You can typically add a rider to your policy by agreeing to pay an additional premium. 

National Life Group currently offers one rider you can add to your policy:

Living Benefits Rider

A living benefits rider is supplemental coverage you can add to your life insurance policy for additional benefits and protection, such as the option to receive a portion of your death benefit while you’re still alive.

The rider is optional and it may not be available in all states or with all products. Contact a sales representative for National Life Group for specific details.

Payment of the living benefits rider will lower the amount of your policy’s cash value and death benefit. It may be wise to consult your tax professional to determine how accepting a living benefits payment could affect your tax status.

Customer Service: Limited Options

Unlike most insurance companies, National Life Group doesn’t sell its policies on its website or through its dedicated agents. By contrast, it uses commission-based independent contractors as its sales representatives. 

If you’re looking for a policy quote, you’ll need to contact one of these representatives as they do not offer quotes online. For general inquiries regarding life insurance options, you can contact National Life Group’s customer support at 1-800-732-8939. Customer service hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday. 

A contact form is available on the website for general company inquiries only; the company does not support policy-related questions through the form.

Customer Satisfaction: Above Average 

As with any financial product, it’s wise to research the company’s customer satisfaction record. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NIAC) releases the results of its annual poll of insurance company complaints which allows you to compare the complaint records of an insurance company against the national average for companies of a similar size. 

A 1.0 score indicates a company receives an average number of complaints, while a score greater than 1 means the company has more than the average number of complaints. National Life Group’s complaint ratio stands at 0.29, as of 2020, a mark lower than expected for a company of its size. The score is more than a full point improvement over the 1.32 complaint ratio in 2019.

Financial Strength: A (Excellent)

National Life Group earned an “A” (Excellent) rating from the credit rating agency AM Best in 2020. The agency attributes the rating to the company’s positive business stature and strong operating performance. According to AM Best, the high rating reflects National Life Group’s continuing balance sheet strength, including maintaining its greatest level of risk-adjusted capitalization. 

Cancellation Policy: Varies

National Life Group Insurance, like most insurance companies, offers customers a free look period, which is generally 10 days or even longer in certain states. The free look period provides you with extra time to review your life insurance policy. If you cancel your policy during the free look period, you won’t incur any penalties, and you can get a full refund of the premiums you’ve already paid. 

Cancellation policies are not published on the National Life Group website, and they may vary per policy. Before you sign up for a policy, make sure you ask your agent about your cancellation and surrender options.

If you want to cancel your policy, you’ll need to contact your National Life Group sales representative for account termination.

Price of National Life Group Life Insurance: Varies

Unlike other insurance companies, National Life Group doesn’t offer you the ability to obtain an online quote for their policies. To get pricing information for any policies you are interested in, you must speak with a sales representative.

Tip

While it is not a substitute for an online policy quote, National Life Group does offer a life insurance calculator to help you gauge the amount of coverage you should have. Knowing your coverage needs beforehand may be helpful when you contact a sales representative for a policy quote.

How National Life Group Compares to Other Life Insurance

We compared National Life Group to another life insurance company, Northwestern Mutual, to see how their offerings match up.

National Life Group vs. Northwestern Mutual Review

National Life Group and Northwestern Mutual are both financially strong mutual life companies founded in the mid-1800s. Both have strong AM Best ratings, but while National Life Insurance can be proud of its 0.29 complaint ratio from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Northwestern Mutual boasts a 0.02 complaint ratio that is nearly zero.

When it comes to dividends, Northwestern Mutual comes out on top. National Life Group states on its website, “dividend payments are generally declared,” although we couldn’t find a record of a recent payout. By contrast, Northwestern Mutual has paid dividends to its policyholders every year since 1872, including a company record payout of $6.2 billion in 2020.

National Life Group is a solid mutual insurance provider with a strong record of customer satisfaction. However, Northwestern Mutual Life is the better choice due to its wider variety of insurance policies, impeccable customer service record, and remarkable 148-year dividend payout streak.

National Life Group vs. Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance
National Life Group Northwestern Mutual
Market Share Not applicable Largest in U.S., 8.2%
Number of Plans 5 17
Dividends for 2020 Not applicable $6.2 billion
Service Method Sales representative Financial Advisors and Agents
Financial Strength (AM Best Rating) A (Excellent) A++ (Superior)
Price Rank N/A Among the best
Complaints Trend 0.29 0.02

Final Verdict

While National Life Group has established a solid reputation spanning 173 years, its recent class-action lawsuit alleging involvement in an illegal pyramid scheme is a cause for concern. Still, the company’s A (Excellent) grade from AM Best indicates its financial strength remains intact.

National Life Group offers various life insurance and annuities policies, but it’s difficult to find policy specifics on their website. The only way to get quotes or policy details is to speak with a commission-based sales representative, making it hard to tell if the advice you’re getting best serves your family’s interests.

Methodology 

All of our reviews of life insurance companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company's offerings, customer service, financial stability, cost, and more. For each company, we compared the life insurance products offered, as well as available features, and reported customer experiences. Visit our life insurance review methodology for the full breakdown of what we evaluated for over two dozen companies.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of NLV Financial Corporation and Its Insurance Subsidiaries." Accessed Apr. 28, 2021.

  2. Truth in Advertising. “Premier Financial Alliance Pyramid Scheme Claims.” Accessed Apr. 28, 2021.

  3. Girard Sharp. “National Life Insurance Pyramid Scheme Investigation.” Accessed Apr. 29, 2021.

  4. NAIC. "Complaint Index - National Life Insurance Company." Accessed Apr. 29, 2021.

  5. Northwestern Mutual. “Northwestern Mutual Announces Record $6.2 Billion Dividend Payout to Policyholders.” Accessed Apr. 29, 2021.