Northwestern Mutual Disability Insurance Policy Review

A disabled employee at work
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Too often, one of your most important assets may be the one you give the least amount of thought to—your ability to work. How would you manage living day-to-day and handling all your expenses without the promise of a steady income? Disability—caused by a severe accident, injury, or illness—can happen at any time.

Disability income insurance helps protect you and your family against life’s most unexpected events. Even if you already have an income protection plan through your employer, an individual income protection plan can fill in gaps and leave you with more complete coverage and peace of mind. 

Northwestern Mutual also offers Annual Renewable Disability Income (ARDI) insurance that can be combined with other payment options.

Company Overview

Founded in 1857, Northwestern Mutual is one of the oldest insurance companies in the United States. It is the largest direct writer of life insurance in the U.S. As a mutually owned company, it is owned by its policyholders instead of investors. Northwestern Mutal is headquartered is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual) is the writer for disability insurance policies issued by the company. The following insurance rating organizations give Northwestern Mutual excellent financial strength ratings:

In the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Life/Fraternal Market Share report, which ranks companies by countrywide premium, Northwestern Mutual ranks as the second-largest U.S. life insurer with $10.5 billion in direct premiums for a 6.33% share of the U.S. life insurance market.

Northwestern Mutual products include life insurance, disability insurance, long-term care insurance, employee benefits services, mutual funds, and annuities through more than 330 local offices across the United States.

Northwestern Mutual Disability Insurance

Northwestern Mutual offers long- and short-term disability insurance plans, which provide coverage depending on the contributions you make and the policy you select—these include four alternative definitions of total disability and a partial disability coverage option if you are only able to work part-time.

Policy Premium Payment Options

There are five premium payment options available through Northwestern Mutual. Higher premium options come with higher costs for the benefits you receive:

  • Non-Cancelable Guaranteed Renewable: For a higher premium, you can get guaranteed renewable coverage with a fixed policy premium and benefit options.
  • Guaranteed Renewable: Your policy cost will be lower. Although your benefits cannot change with this option, premium amounts can change by class.
  • Level Premium Coverage: With a level option, your premium will remain level while the policy is in force (active).
  • Annually Renewable Disability Income (ARDI): With this option, you will start out with lower than level premiums that will gradually increase. You have the option to upgrade this to the Level Premium Coverage option.
  • Level/ARDI: This is a combination of the Level and Annually Renewable Disability Income plans.

Optional Disability Insurance Benefits

  • Additional Purchase Benefit: The additional purchase benefit will allow you to purchase additional disability insurance as long as the coverage meets Northwestern Mutual’s underwriting guidelines.
  • Future Increase Benefit: Provides inflation protection of 6% which compounds annually.
  • Indexed Income Benefit: If you’ve been disabled for twelve months, you have inflation protection of up to 6% compounded annually.
  • Social Insurance Substitute Benefit: An optional benefit that supplements Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Other Available Products and Services

In addition to disability insurance, Northwestern mutual also provides financial services that include retirement planning, life insurance, annuities, investment services, college savings plans, estate planning, and business services.

Financial articles are provided as a resource to consumers and cover a range of life and money subjects. These articles include topics on family, home, career and money basics. Financial and investment advisors are available for customer counseling to help them find the products they need.

Pros & Cons

Northwestern Mutual's pros outweigh the cons. The one downfall of Northwestern Mutual is that there is no ability to receive a quote online so you must contact a company representative for a quote or to purchase coverage. The pros:

  • Very strong financial strength ratings from all the major insurance rating organizations as well as an excellent record in customer service.
  • The disability income insurance policy has many customizable policy options to fit your unique needs and life situation.
  • The company has many options available to fit a customer's needs.

Contact Information

You can visit the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company website to learn more about purchasing a disability income insurance policy or the company’s other insurance products. You can also call 414-271-1444, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST Monday through Friday (excluding holidays).

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