Northwestern Mutual Disability Insurance Policy Review

A disabled employee at work

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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 a steady income? Disability 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. It can give you more complete coverage and peace of mind. 

Learn more about Northwestern Mutual's disability insurance options.

Company Overview

Northwestern Mutual was founded in 1857. It is one of the U.S.'s oldest insurance companies. It is also the U.S.'s largest direct writer of life insurance. 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. It has $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 U.S.

Northwestern Mutual Disability Insurance

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


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

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. Here are the options:

  • 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

There are also a variety of optional benefits you can buy. These include:

  • 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%; this compounds annually.
  • Indexed Income Benefit: If you’ve been disabled for 12 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. These 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. This can help you find the products you need.

Pros & Cons

Northwestern Mutual's pros outweigh the cons. This is one downfall of Northwestern Mutual: There is no ability to receive a quote online. That means you must contact a company representative for a quote or to purchase coverage.

But the upsides of Northwestern Mutual include:

  • It has very strong financial strength ratings from all the major insurance rating organizations. It also has an excellent record in customer service.
  • The disability income insurance policy has many customizable policies. You have a good chance of finding something to fit your unique needs and life situation.
  • The company has many options available.

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).