Most consider life insurance as a transparent process—just enter your desired death benefit amount, the length of time, and you’ve got a policy. This assumption is the farthest from the truth. If you know nothing about the products a company offers and how it has matched to other companies, you are not doing yourself any favors.

Of course, you can avoid reading a company’s review and just work with a trustworthy independent broker who can assist you in choosing the right company. Nevertheless, we like to go the extra mile and review National Western Life Insurance Company and compare it to its rivals to see if you need to consider them when buying life insurance.

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National Western Life Insurance Company History

National Life Insurance Company was founded in 1956 and headquartered in Austin, Texas. The company is authorized to sell insurance products in 49 US states (does not market or solicit life insurance in the state of New York) and has offices in Central America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, and Asia.

Their mission is to provide high-quality insurance products in global and domestic markets to meet security and financial needs for clients. Since 2011, it has about 278 employees and more than 13,000 licensed insurance agents.

National Western Life Insurance Company Ratings

  • A.M. Best: A (Excellent)
  • Standard & Poor’s: A- (Strong)

Products Offered by National Western Life Insurance

NWL offers annuities, permanent and temporary life insurance. On the life insurance side, they market term, whole, and universal life policies, and they offer is based on traditional underwriting (exam required) and simplified underwriting (no exam required). This review will go over the life insurance products only.

national western life insurance products

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance also referred to as temporary protection, is a life insurance coverage that protects your loved ones for a specified period. The terms (contract’s length) are typically 10–30 years with a 20-year term to be the most popular choice. National Western Life offers guaranteed level premiums for 10, 15, 20 or 30 years.

That means you always know what your payments will be for the selected contract’s period. At the end of the term before the age of 65, you can elect to convert your term policy to permanent life insurance without proving eligibility (no exam or underwriting), or you may continue coverage until the age of 95 by selecting the annual renewable option. (That is a pretty lousy choice as premiums would be astronomical.)

NWL provides a few term life insurance choices:

  1. NWL Term: This is the default term option with the lowest cost because it limits the conversion product in which you can use once the term is over. In other words, you will have one choice—whatever National Western Life makes available at the time of conversion.
  2. NWL Secure Term: With this option, you can convert your term coverage to any permanent life insurance policy NWL provides. They will also give you conversion credit if you elect to convert it in the first five years.
  3. NWL Rapid Issue: For this coverage, the applicant will not be required to undergo an exam as part of the underwriting process. It’s simplified underwriting with a few health questions. The benefits are from $25,000 to $250,000. The underwriting decision will be at the time of sale.
  4. NWL Graded Death Benefit: This is a graded benefit life insurance which pays a portion of the full death benefit should the insured die within the first four policy years. The maximum amount one can buy is $150,000 in benefit.
    • Fist year: The death benefit is the return of premium plus a minimum of 15% in interest.
    • Second Year: The death benefit increases to a minimum of 30% of the face amount.
    • Third year: Your beneficiaries are eligible to receive 60% of the death benefit amount.
    • In policy years 4 through 10, the death benefit is 100%.
  5. NWL Living Benefit Term: A no-exam term life policy which comes with a living benefit rider at no extra cost. This allows the insured to accelerate the death benefit in the event of chronic, critical, or terminal illness.

Note: NWL Rapid Issue, NWL Graded Death Benefit, NWL Living Benefit Term are simplified issue plans and do not require the applicant to undergo an exam as part of the underwriting process.

Whole Life

As the name implies, whole life lasts your entire lifetime. The death benefit and the premiums remain level throughout your life. Additionally, whole life insurance provides cash value accumulation element which grows on a tax-deferred basis.

The policyholder can access that cash via loans or withdrawals. Whole life insurance offers worry-free protection because there is no expiration date, and therefore, your beneficiaries are guaranteed to collect the death benefit upon your death.

National Western Life provides three types of whole life coverage:

  1. NWL Rapid Issue: A whole life coverage without the need to undergo an exam. The premiums and death benefit are guaranteed to remain the same. The face value amount is $25,000–$250,000.
  2. NWL Graded Death Benefit: This policy also does not require an exam and has the same graded benefit schedule the term one has. If you die within the first year your beneficiaries will collect 15% of the death benefit, 30% the second year, 60% the third year, and only in year four and afterward, 100%.
  3. NWL MAXWealth: A fully underwritten whole life policy that guarantees 3% interest rate on the cash in your savings account.

Universal Life Insurance NWL Life 100

Universal life or UL is a type of permanent solution that offers guaranteed death benefit to be paid your heirs upon your death and a cash value component which grows on a tax-deferred basis. It is also a sort of a hybrid solution between term and whole life insurance. With term life, you get the lowest cost, but the policy expires after a period of time.

With whole life, you get something that lasts for life but with higher prices. Universal life removes the restrictiveness other policies have and gives you flexibilities to design your coverage based on how life unfolds. For instance, you can elect to adjust your premium payment or even skip payments as long as there is enough cash value in the account.

You may also want to reduce or increase the face amount based on life’s circumstances, such as having a newborn, buying a new house, or kids are older and are no longer dependent on my income. As life changes, so does your policy, by increasing or decreasing the death benefit amount to match your current situation. National Western Life guarantees the interest rate on the account balance will be at least 3.0% annually. The minimum face amount is $25,000.

Indexed Universal Life

Indexed universal life is another permanent type of protection which offers cash value accumulation and guaranteed death benefit to beneficiaries. The main difference between traditional UL and IUL is in the way the cash invested.

With IUL, the owner can allocate cash value amounts to either a fixed account or an equity index account such as S&P 500 or the NASDAQ 100. It’s worth noting that the cash is not invested directly in an indexed but rather mimics its movement. If the index goes up 7%, your cash value grows by 7%, and if it falls, then no credit occurs.

National Western Life offers three types of IUL:

  1. NWL Lifetime Returns: A flexible premium universal life policy that merges the features of guaranteed interest rate and the potential to have credited interest linked, in part, to the S&P 500. It’s developed for clients who seek strong cash value accumulation with affordable protection. You get the flexibility and liquidity should you need it in the future along with the most important thing—a guaranteed, tax-free death benefit to be paid to your heirs.
  2. NWL Lifetime Returns Select: Offers four interest crediting options, plus the choice of Single Pay, 5-Pay, or 10-Pay Premium Payment Periods.
  3. NWL Lifetime Returns Solutions: Provides three indexed interest options without the downside risks or a fixed interest option. The client can also select a 5- or 10-year payment option.

Note: NWL Lifetime Returns Select and NWL Lifetime Returns Solutions are simplified issue plans and do not require the applicant to undergo an exam as part of the underwriting process.

National Western Life vs. Other Carriers’ Sample Monthly Rates

Male 20-year Term $250,000

 CompanyAge 30Age 40Age 50Age 60
 Banner $13.05 $19.01 $40.44 $110.28
 Protective $13.05 $17.80 $41.26 $110.61
 AIG $13.17 $19.37 $42.24 $118.76
 Pacific Life $13.18 $18.79 $41.44 $110.29
 Lincoln$13.28 $18.16 $41.15 $109.77
 Mutual of Omaha $13.55 $20.64 $45.80 $134.59
 Principal $14.00 $18.55 $41.19 $109.81
 North American $14.30 $20.02 $43.56 $115.06
 SBLI $14.59 $20.76 $49.60 $147.70
 National Western $19.80 $27.81 $61.41 $163.09

Female 20-year Term $250,000

 CompanyAge 30Age 40Age 50Age 60
 Banner $11.61 $15.39 $32.21 $78.83
 Protective $11.76 $15.44 $31.65 $77.17
 AIG $11.67 $16.59 $33.90 $87.98
 Pacific Life $11.71 $16.00 $31.83 $77.91
 Lincoln$11.82 $15.67 $31.57 $82.47
 Mutual of Omaha $12.26 $17.63 $35.69 $101.91
 Principal $12.54 $16.19 $32.07 $77.18
 North American $12.76 $16.94 $34.10 $81.84
 SBLI $13.06 $17.72 $34.71 $90.37
 National Western $16.47 $23.14 $51.62 $117.70

Male 20-year Term $500,000

 CompanyAge 30Age 40Age 50Age 60
 Banner $20.00 $32.68 $73.52 $204.89
 Protective $20.01 $28.75 $75.24 $207.86
 AIG $20.01 $30.27 $76.86 $218.79
 Pacific Life $20.19 $30.26 $75.22 $207.36
 Lincoln$20.39 $30.50 $74.99 $213.02
 Mutual of Omaha $21.29 $32.90 $82.78 $249.19
 SBLI $21.32 $34.97 $87.00 $286.85
 Principal $21.43 $30.54 $75.82 $213.06
 North American $22.44 $33.44 $79.20 $218.68
 National Western $33.38 $49.40 $116.59 $319.96

Female 20-year Term $500,000

 CompanyAge 30Age 40Age 50Age 60
 Banner $17.37 $25.20 $58.35 $150.93
 AIG $17.44 $26.85 $58.05 $161.51
 Pacific Life $17.51 $25.69 $56.10 $144.97
 Protective $17.53 $25.11 $54.88 $138.51
 Lincoln$17.68 $25.64 $55.31 $144.95
 SBLI $18.18 $27.33 $63.08 $173.03
 Mutual of Omaha $18.28 $28.17 $61.71 $172.65
 Principal $18.52 $25.81 $57.58 $147.79
 North American $19.36 $28.16 $61.60 $154.88
 National Western $26.70 $40.05 $97.01 $229.18

Male 20-year Term $1,000,000

 CompanyAge 30Age 40Age 50Age 60
 AIG $32.83 $53.35 $141.42 $415.02
 Lincoln$32.91 $53.12 $142.11 $409.07
 Protective $33.78 $51.67 $141.51 $393.73
 SBLI $34.34 $55.91 $147.73 $457.62
 Pacific Life $34.72 $54.10 $141.44 $406.55
 Principal $36.21 $54.51 $145.08 $418.34
 Banner $36.33 $54.74 $141.41 $411.08
 Mutual of Omaha $36.34 $59.56 $157.60 $470.64
 North American $39.61 $60.28 $150.92 $427.24
 National Western $60.52 $110.36 $226.95 $633.68

Female 20-year Term $1,000,000

 CompanyAge 30Age 40Age 50Age 60
 Banner $25.98 $46.96 $110.42 $294.55
 Protective $28.50 $43.52 $101.32 $265.48
 AIG $25.99 $44.80 $109.78 $311.56
 Pacific Life $28.73 $44.50 $103.19 $274.04
 Lincoln$27.48 $43.41 $102.73 $282.01
 Mutual of Omaha $30.32 $48.38 $112.88 $327.88
 Principal $30.35 $44.89 $105.26 $283.06
 North American $32.12 $48.84 $113.08 $283.80
 SBLI $29.04 $43.67 $103.07 $270.11
 National Western $47.17 $73.87 $240.30 $452.12

*All rates quoted on this page are for a super-preferred healthy individual who does not use tobacco. Monthly rates are updated as of Jan 2019 and are subject to underwriting approval.*

Bottom Line

National Western Life offers a broad range of life insurance coverages and many of them on a simplified issue basis (no-exam needed). If you need a universal or indexed universal life, get a quote from them as I don’t have the rates and can’t comment much on their pricing.

However, I can attest to its term life insurance rates —they are far from being competitively priced among other carriers (see table rates above). They are even worse when it comes to their no-exam rates and can’t compete with SBLI, American National, or Sagicor for that matter which also offers no exam policies.

This National Western review is an excellent example of why you should not buy life insurance by yourself—you may not know what other possibilities are out there, finding out years later you just bought the wrong coverage at the highest possible price.

I appreciate the fact that they offer IUL and Ul policies without an exam, however, don’t let this fool you. You are the one who pays for the convenience of not taking the exam, and if you want to save money on life insurance, considering taking the clinical exam is the most important suggestion I can give you.

As an insurance broker, my loyalty is to my clients and not to any insurance carrier. My job is to find a company who can issue you a policy at the lowest possible price based on your overall health, needs, and goals. Give us a call today at 866-326-3053. We work with more than 50 companies and promise to present all options so that you can make an informed decision. Alternatively, you can go ahead and use the form on the right-hand side to get instant life insurance rates.

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