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National Western Life Insurance Company Review

National Western Life

Reviewed By: Rob Pinner

Rob PinnerRob Pinner is the founder and CEO of Pinner Financial Services servicing all 50 states. Rob started his insurance career in 2002. Full Bio >

Checked By: Holly Mitchell

Holly Mitchell’s background in life insurance insurance goes back to 1985 when she worked for her father who was a New York Life agent. Holly has a marketing degree from Auburn University and has had a life insurance license since 2008. In addition to advising life insurance for customers all around the country, Holly is our website fact checker.
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Last Updated: November 26th, 2023

National Western Life Insurance Company (NWL) is not a well-known insurer.

They have a range of niche insurance products that provide unique choices.

These offerings have helped National Western Life Insurance Company serve particular customers.

Here, we explore National Western’s history, industry ratings, and insurance offerings so you can understand the value the company provides and determine whether they are a right fit for you and your family.

About National Western Life Insurance Company

National Western Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of the National Western Life Group, Inc., was established in 1956.

With headquarters in Austin, Texas, the company has grown extensively to provide quality insurance products in 49 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

The insurer also operates internationally with over 15,000 agents in Asia, Europe, Haiti, and Central and South America.

The company does not offer life insurance products in New York at this time.

National Western Life Insurance Ratings

National Western Life Insurance Company is publicly traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol NWLI.

National Western Life manages over $22.5 billion combined life insurance with $12.4 billion in consolidated total assets and $2.2 billion in consolidated stockholder equity.

The company ranks well among independent credit rating agencies:

  • A.M. Best: A
  • Standard and Poor’s: A-

National Western Life Insurance Products and Riders

National Western Life Insurance offers a wide range of life insurance products. These include term, universal, indexed universal, and whole life insurance.

Term Life Insurance

National Western’s term life insurance coverage ranges from 10 to 30 years.

The company charges a level premium during the policy term and allows the insured to convert a term product into permanent life coverage.

National Western provides both fully underwritten and simplified term products.

NWL Term and NWL Secure Term

  • Persons ages 20 to 75 are eligible
  • Fixed terms of 10, 15, 20, and 30 years
  • Fully underwritten
  • Level death benefits are guaranteed for up to age 95

The company also has a living benefit rider on its NWL Term and NWL Secure Term products.

The rider offers an advance of the death benefit for critical illness, terminal illness, or chronic illness.

Additional features include Accidental Death Benefit, Children’s Term Life Insurance, Other Insured Term Life Insurance, and Waiver of Premium Disability Benefit Riders.


  • Applicants aged 20 to 65 are eligible
  • Fixed terms of 10, 20, and 30 years
  • Simplified underwriting
  • Guaranteed level death benefits up to 95 years


  • Applicants aged 20 to 75 are eligible
  • Limited terms of 10, 20, and 30 years
  • Simplified underwriting
  • Guaranteed level death benefits up to 95 years

The death benefit paid concerning the face amount is as follows:

  • Year 1 – premium plus 15%
  • Year 2 – 30%
  • Year 3 – 60%
  • Years 4-10 – 100%
  • Year 11-30 – No less than 50%

If death occurs due to an accident during the first three years, the death benefit paid is 100% of the full face amount.

Optional life insurance riders include Accidental Death Benefit, Children’s Term Life Insurance, Other Insured Term Life Insurance, and Waiver of Premium Disability Benefit.

Universal Life Insurance

National Western’s universal life insurance products are a form of permanent life insurance.

This means the insured receives a death benefit amount and a growing cash value component that remains tax-free unless withdrawn.

National Western’s universal life product includes:


The NWL Life 100 provides comprehensive insurance for any life stage, offering flexible premiums until the maturity date.

It is an excellent option for those needing funds for living expenses, estate taxes, funeral costs, and other needs.

In addition, earnings are tax-deferred until you withdraw the funds.

The Living Benefit Rider included in the policy also pays the insured benefits of $250,000 or 75% of the face amount, whichever is lesser, on terminal illness diagnosis.

Indexed Universal Life Insurance

Indexed universal life insurance policies provide a return on the cash value component determined by the performance of underlying market indices like the S&P 500.

However, if the market performs poorly, the principal amount invested remains protected.

National Western offers three Indexed Universal Life insurance policies, all of which do not require a medical exam:


This universal indexed policy allows for flexible premium payments to pay for the face amount you select. The minimum face amount is $100,000.

It has two death benefit options:

  • Option 1 – death benefit equals the face amount
  • Option 2 – death benefit equals the face amount plus the account balance

There are four interest rates available, with three being index interest options and the other a fixed option.

The account balance is protected and will never reduce due to poor market performance alone.

Optional Riders include Accidental Death Benefit, Children’s Term Insurance, Living Benefit, Monthly Disability, and Spouse Term Life Insurance.


The NWL Lifetime Return Select has four interest rates linked to the S&P 500 with participation and cap rates and competitive fixed premiums.

The face amount varies according to age, sex, and credit rating and ranges from $100,000 to $700,000.

Single-pay premiums fund this policy. Included in the policy are Accelerated Benefits for Terminal Illness, Living Benefits, and Paid-Up Life Insurance Riders.

Optional riders include Accidental Death Benefit.


A Single Premium Immediate Life Annuity funds this flexible premium universal life policy.

There are four interest rate options available, and face amounts range from $200,000 to $700,000.

And with this indexed universal life policy, the insured can get loans with variable interest rates.

Included in the policy are the Accelerated Benefit Rider for Terminal Illness, Paid Up, and Living Benefit Riders.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance from National Western offers a guaranteed death benefit and fixed premiums throughout the policy’s life.

These life insurance products are excellent for customers looking for affordable premiums and lifetime coverage.

In the event of death, the death benefits are immediate. The cash value grows with a set interest rate, which the insurance provider determines.

Whole life policies are similar to universal life policies. But whole life policies typically have better guarantees and are not tied to market investments like mutual funds.

National Western’s whole life insurance products do not require a medical exam. They include:


National Western’s Rapid Issue whole life policy is much like the term policy. It is available to persons age 20 to 75 and can convert to permanent life insurance for a fee.

This policy offers level death benefits and premiums up to the age of 121. Rates differ depending on age, sex, BMI ratio, and tobacco use.


National Western’s Graded Death Benefit policies return a death benefit less than the full amount of insurance.

  • For Years 1-3, death benefits are the premium plus a minimum of 15% of the face amount for the first year, 30% of the face amount for the second, and 60% of the face amount for the third.
  • For Years 4 and onward, death benefits are 100% of the face amount


NWL MAXWealth is premium-interest-sensitive whole life insurance that enables the insured to increase their assets.

Should living expenses increase, the insured can benefit from additional income after the fifth year of the whole life policy.

The policy increases cash value amounts by 10% of the single premium, providing a monthly payment.

The insured can also liquidate cash value amounts less any loan balances.

Eligibility and Application Process

Anyone aged 18 to 75 can apply for National Western Life Insurance Company products.

Applications start with downloadable forms, over the phone or online.

National Western Life Insurance Pros and Cons


  • A financially stable company operating for over 60 years
  • Excellent graded death benefit plans and simplified plans
  • Fast approval, often the same day, but typically take 1 to 3 days
  • Guaranteed renewable premiums for up to age 95
  • A wide range of riders are available


  • Conversion from term to permanent life insurance comes at a fee
  • The higher cost of premiums compared to similar non-medical insurance products
  • The maximum death benefit is relatively low ($250,000)

Is National Western Life Insurance Best For You?

Overall, National Western Life has great financial ratings and offers some competitive universal life insurance products and annuities.

If you are in the market for a term or whole life policy, you may be better off looking into other life insurance companies.

Doug Mitchell, CLU

Doug Mitchell, CLU

Doug Mitchell, CLU holds a BA degree in Finance from Auburn University as well as having obtained a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College in Bryn Mahr, PA. Doug has spent close to 30 years in the life insurance and financial planning industry and has held licenses to sell securities, long-term care insurance, health. Some other notable items about Doug: Top of the Table Million Dollar Round Table member (MDRT). (MDRT is a global, independent association of the world’s leading life insurance advisors) | Premier Partner with Lincoln Financial and Cabinet Member | Served two years as President of the Auburn/Opelika Association of Financial Advisors | Life Millionaire status at Horace Mann Insurance Company and was awarded the Life Agent of the Year Award | New York Life, Executive Council Member | Currently serves as President of Ogletree Financial, a life insurance General Agency. | Doug is also a financial blogger addressing the topics of life insurance, annuities and retirement income planning.

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