National Life Group is among the oldest and most well-established life insurance companies in the United States, tracing its origins back to 1848. In this review, we will delve into the company’s history, financial ratings, and product offerings to help readers determine if National Life Group is the right fit for their unique needs and objectives.
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About National Life Group
National Life Group is a conglomerate of affiliated financial-services companies, whose history dates back to the founding of the original National Life Insurance by the Vermont state legislature before the American Civil War in 1848. As one of the original mutual insurers formed in the U.S., National Life has maintained the mutual company structure throughout its history.
The company’s marketing efforts highlight its long-standing history of financial stability and resilience, citing examples of its ability to pay claims stemming from historical events like the sinking of the Titanic, the Hindenburg disaster, the Spanish Flu epidemic, and both world wars. National Life Insurance Company is the group’s principal life insurance affiliate, with headquarters in Vermont’s capital city of Montpelier and a facility in Addison, Texas.
Available in all 50 States
National Life markets life insurance and annuities in all fifty states through a network of independent agents and brokers.
Other members of the National Life Group include Texas-based Life Insurance Company of the Southwest and Sentinel Investments out of Boston. National Life’s products qualifying as securities are distributed through its affiliate, Equity Services, Inc.
National Life Group’s charitable arm, the National Life Group Foundation, focuses on charitable causes oriented toward helping children and has an annual budget of about $2 million.
National Life Group Financial Ratings
- A.M. Best: A
- S&P: A+
- Moody’s: A2
- Fitch: NR
- Comdex Ranking: 82
National Life’s financial ratings place it around the top 25% of the top rated U.S. life insurance companies, as judged by the major ratings services.
According to National Life’s 2019 report, it was among the top ten U.S. companies in life insurance sales.
In 2019, National Life’s earnings totaled about $285 million, and the company held around $34 billion in total assets.
Its strong balance sheet makes National Life a low-risk company for insurance purchasers and puts it in a good position to pay out policyholder dividends, which it did to the tune of almost $50 million in 2019.
National Life Group Consumer Ratings:
Though not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, National Life holds an A+ rating from BBB. That rating generally means that National Life is responsive to complaints filed with BBB by consumers.
The total number of BBB complaints for National Life seems a little higher than average for a company its size. In consumer ratings on BBB’s site, National Life earns just under two stars (out of five), in a sample size including 27 reviews.
What Products Does National Life Group Offer?
National Life’s main focus is life insurance, with a variety of term, whole life, universal life, indexed universal life, and variable universal life policies available from the company.
National Life also markets retirement products and services and annuities.
Annuity products include fixed, variable, and indexed annuities, with immediate, deferred, and flexible-payment options available.
For businesses, National Life offers retirement account administration and products designed to facilitate business continuity.
Life Insurance from National Life Group:
National Life offers a full menu of life insurance, with term, whole life, universal life, indexed universal life, and variable universal life all on offer.
Indexed Universal Life seems to be a point of emphasis for National Life, as the company’s 2019 report proudly declares that National Life was second in IUL sales for 2019.
Riders available with National Life policies include terminal, chronic, and critical illness accelerated-benefits riders, a premium waiver rider (waiving premiums if the insured becomes totally disabled), and a children’s term rider (extending term coverage to the insured’s children until age 23).
Term Life Insurance from National Life Group:
National Life sells level term life insurance policies with initial term periods of 10, 15, 20, and 30 years. Coverage amounts start at $100,000 and can go over $1 million for qualifying applicants.
New applicants for term coverage can be any age from 18 through 75, though older applicants are not eligible for longer terms.
After a policy’s term expires, policyholders can renew coverage annually (for a higher premium) until the insured reaches age 95.
All of National Life’s term policies include a built-in conversion option, allowing policyholders to convert term coverage to a permanent policy. The option can be exercised until the end of the policy’s initial term or the insured reaches age 70 (whichever happens first).
No exam life insurance is available for eligible applicants between 18 and 60. National Life offers “EZ Underwriting,” which involves a health-history and medical records review but does not require a physical exam or body fluid samples, such as blood and urine.
In addition to the longer term policies, National Life also sells annual renewable term (“ART”) policies that provide coverage that can be renewed on a year-to-year basis, with premiums increasing upon each renewal.
Whole Life Insurance from National Life Group:
National Life’s whole life insurance policies provide permanent coverage with a guaranteed death benefit, fixed premiums, and cash value that grows tax-deferred.
Whole life policies are participating life insurance and are eligible for dividends, which National Life has paid out every year since 1856.
Whole life policyholders can add a guaranteed insurance option (allowing future purchase of additional coverage) and additional paid-up option (allowing purchase of paid-up insurance increasing cash value and death benefit).
Universal Life Insurance from National Life Group:
National Life’s Universal Life Insurance policies provide permanent coverage, with death-benefit and premium flexibility.
Like whole life, UL policies accrue cash value that grows tax-deferred. The growth measure varies depending on the type of policy—standard UL, indexed UL, or variable UL.
Standard UL grows at a set rate, with a guaranteed minimum. Credited amounts depend on market conditions and the general performance of National Life’s assets.
Indexed Universal Life Insurance grows based on the performance of a selected index, such as the S&P 500. IUL policies come with a no-loss guaranty, ensuring policies won’t decrease in value in bad markets. In return, policy growth is subject to a cap (maximum interest credited) and/or participation rate (percentage of index growth actually credited to the policy).
VUL policies emphasize the investment aspect of a policy and are distributed by Equity Services, Inc., National Life Group’s broker/dealer affiliate. Growth rates are determined according to performance of investment “sub-accounts” made available by National Life and selected by the policyholder. Sub-accounts include stocks, bonds, and money markets, and poor investment performance can result in loss of a policy’s principal.
Lastly, it’s important to note that…
While National Life Group has a long and reputable history, and offers a variety of life insurance and annuity products, it may not be the best fit for everyone. It is important for potential policyholders to shop around and compare policies from multiple insurers to determine which one best fits their individual needs and goals. Ultimately, only through comparison and careful consideration can a person determine if National Life Group, or any other insurer, is the best choice for them.