National Life Group Insurance Review

Life insurance products sold through independent contractors

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National Life Group

National Life Group 

Our Take

National Life Group is a trade name for a group of financial services companies. Through the National Life Group brand, the company sells multiple individual and group life insurance policies. As of 2019, it had over $170 billion of life insurance policies in force. 

National Life Group sells its insurance products through independent contractors who work on commission. Its sales model has been the subject of controversy, and National Life Group is involved in a class-action lawsuit where the plaintiffs allege that the company operates a pyramid scheme. 

However, the company has received relatively few complaints from customers and has an excellent financial strength rating from AM Best, the credit rating agency focused on the insurance industry.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Multiple policy options

  • Accelerated benefits available

Cons
  • Representatives have a financial incentive to sell you certain products

  • Online quotes not available

  • Company is a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit

Key Takeaways
  • The company was founded in 1848 and is headquartered in Montpelier, Vermont.
  • National Life Group sells its insurance products and annuities through independent contractors.
  • The company sells term, whole, universal, term, variable, and indexed variable life policies.
  • Besides life insurance, National Life Group also sells annuities and mutual funds.
  • National Life Group has over $170 billion of life insurance policies in force as of 2019.
Company Overview

National Life Group has a long history. Founded in 1848, it’s an independent company headquartered in Montpelier, Vermont. According to the company, it is the second-largest seller of indexed universal life insurance in the United States. 

National Life Group only sells its insurance products through independent contractors and insurance agents. To get quotes or details about its insurance plans, potential customers must contact an agent. 

National Life Group sells life insurance in all 50 states.

  • Year Founded 1848
  • Kinds of Plans Term, whole, universal, indexed universal, variable universal
  • Number of Plans 5
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually
  • Customer Service Sales representatives
  • Phone 800-732-8939
  • Official Website www.nationallife.com

National Life Group is not one of our top-rated life insurance companies. You can review our list of the best life insurance companies for what we think are better options.

Pros Explained

  • Multiple policy options: While many life insurance companies only offer one or two types of life insurance, National Life Group sells five different policies: term, whole, universal, variable, and indexed variable. Whether you want an inexpensive temporary policy or flexible permanent coverage, National Life Group has options to meet your needs. 
  • Accelerated benefits available: National Life Group allows you to add accelerated benefit riders to your policy. If added, you can access a portion of your death benefit early if you are diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness. 

Cons Explained

  • Representatives have a financial incentive to sell you certain products: National Life Group sells its insurance policies through independent contractors paid by commission based on product sales and referrals. These representatives have financial incentives to direct you toward certain products and coverage amounts, even if they aren’t the right fit for you. 
  • Online quotes not available: You cannot get rate quotes or details about National Life Group’s policies online. The only way to get that information is to speak with a sales representative. 
  • Company is a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit: As of 2021, National Life Group is named in a class-action lawsuit. The complaint alleges that the company was involved in a pyramid scheme. 

Available Plans

National Life Group offers multiple forms of life insurance, but all of them require you to contact a sales representative to get quotes or policy information. Its policies are all fully underwritten, meaning you have to complete a health questionnaire and pass a medical exam to qualify for coverage. 

National Life Group sells five types of insurance: 

Term

As the least expensive form of life insurance, term life policies offer temporary coverage. When you purchase a policy, you select a term. Usually, terms range from 10 to 30 years. If you pass away during the covered term, your beneficiary will receive the policy’s death benefit. However, they receive nothing if you die after the policy’s term ends. 

Whole

Unlike term life insurance, whole life policies are permanent and last for your lifetime, giving your beneficiaries a guaranteed death benefit when you pass away. Whole life policies can also accumulate cash value over time. You can borrow against that cash value or use it to supplement your retirement later on. 

Universal

Universal life policies are a form of permanent life insurance. Like whole life insurance, universal policies accumulate cash value, but they offer more flexibility with adjustable premiums. For example, you can pay more to add to the cash value. Over time, as cash value builds, you can even decide to skip payments. 

Indexed Universal

Indexed universal life policies offer adjustable premiums and the potential to increase your cash value. With indexed universal life policies, you can typically invest in either a fixed account or an equity-indexed account linked to major stock market indices like the S&P 500. 

Variable Universal

Variable universal life insurance is a form of permanent life insurance. It has a built-in savings component that allows you to invest the cash value. Variable universal life policies usually have a maximum limit and a minimum on the investment returns you can earn. 

Available Riders

As with other insurance companies, National Life Group allows you to add insurance endorsements or riders to your policy. While adding riders to your policy will increase your premiums, you can customize your coverage to address your specific needs. 

National Life Group offers the following rider: 

Living Benefits

By adding optional living benefit riders to your policy, you can use some of your death benefit while still living if a qualifying chronic, terminal illness, or critical illness occurs. You can use the benefits as you wish, but they are typically used to pay for medical care. 

Customer Service

While most insurance companies sell their policies through their own dedicated agents or directly to consumers through their websites, National Life Group has a different sales model. It uses independent contractors to act as sales representatives, and those individuals earn commissions and referral fees based on the policies they sell. They also can earn money for recruiting other sales representatives. 

You must contact a National Life Group representative to get a quote for its policies; you cannot get rate quotes online. 

If you have general questions about National Life Group’s life insurance options, you can contact customer support at 800-732-8939. 

Class-Action Lawsuit

In 2019, a class-action lawsuit was filed against the Premier Financial Alliance and National Life Group. The lawsuit alleged that the companies led a pyramid scheme whereby they make money from recruiting associates rather than selling insurance policies. The complaint alleged that the vast majority of associates averaged net losses. 

Complaint Index

Before selecting an insurance company, spend some time researching its customer service record. A useful resource is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Each year, the NAIC releases company complaint ratios that reflect how many complaints the company received relative to its share of the insurance market. 

The national complaint index is 1.0. Ideally, a company would have a complaint ratio below 1.0; that means it received fewer complaints than typical for its size. If a company’s complaint ratio is above 1.0, it has more complaints than expected. 

In 2020, National Life Group’s complaint ratio for its individual life insurance segment was 0.29, lower than expected for its share of the market. That’s a marked improvement over its complaint ratio for 2019, when it was 1.32. 

Third-Party Ratings

In 2020, AM Best, the credit rating agency dedicated to the insurance industry, affirmed National Life Group’s “A” (Excellent) rating. The agency said the rating reflected the company’s strong balance sheet, favorable business profile, and operating performance. 

National Life Group is not one of the 24 companies ranked in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study. 

Cancellation Policy

Like all other insurance companies, National Life Group gives customers a free look period. Free look periods are typically 10 days in length, but they may be longer in your state. During the free look period, you can review your policy documents and decide to cancel without penalty. As long as you cancel within the free look period, you’re entitled to a full refund of all premiums you paid. 

After the free look period ends, how cancellations are handled are dependent on the type of policy you have. Review your contract carefully for details. 

To cancel your policy, contact your National Life Group sales representative. 

Price

While other companies allow you to get online quotes for some policies, National Life Group doesn’t offer that option. You must work with a sales representative to get pricing for all of its life insurance options. 

Like the other life insurance companies Investopedia has reviewed, National Life Group requires you to select either “male” or “female” on your insurance application. Being nonbinary doesn’t disqualify you from getting life insurance; however, be aware that most insurance companies haven’t updated their underwriting processes to reflect a current awareness of gender issues.

Competition

National Life Group offers multiple coverage options, including more complex insurance plans like indexed universal life policies. However, it has a limited number of riders available, and you have to work with a sales representative to get details on policy options. With those drawbacks in mind, we compared National Life Group to Prudential, our choice for the best overall life insurance company. 

Like National Life Group, Prudential sells multiple life insurance plans, including term, whole, universal, indexed universal, and variable universal life coverage. However, Prudential allows you to get quotes for some insurance plans online, and you can even purchase term life coverage through the company’s website without having to speak with an agent. 

Where Prudential really stands out from National Life Group is the variety of riders it offers. With Prudential’s available riders, customers can get coverage for their children, purchase accidental death benefits, and waive premiums if they become disabled.

  National Life Group Prudential
Market Share Not applicable Fifth-largest in the U.S., 4.6%
Number of Plans 5 11
Dividends for 2020 Not applicable  Not applicable
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives Not applicable  Not applicable 
Service Method Sales representative Financial professional, online
AM Best Rating A (Excellent) A+ (Superior)
Price Rank N/A Average
Complaints Trend 0.29 2.51
Final Verdict

While National Life Group offers several life insurance and annuity policies, it’s difficult to get information about them without speaking to a sales representative that works on commission. For many, having to work with a sales representative that has a financial stake to sell you insurance can be intimidating since you aren’t sure if you are getting the best policy for your family’s needs. 

Other life insurance companies offer greater transparency, allowing you to review policy documents and get quotes on your own before speaking to an agent or submitting an application. Plus, other companies may have more customization options with insurance riders.

How We Review Life Insurance Companies

Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative life insurance methodology and approach that analyzes each insurer on their stability and reliability, customer service, claims experience, diversity of product lines, and cost. We compare the terms of each type of policy offered—including available coverage amounts, optional riders, and premium payment options—with that of other major life insurance companies. Lastly, we look at how the company is rated by third-party organizations to determine its reliability and overall reputation.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Truth in Advertising. "Premier Financial Alliance Pyramid Scheme Claims." Accessed April 1, 2021. 

  2. NAIC. "Complaint Index - National Life Insurance Company." Accessed April 1, 2021. 

  3. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of NLV Financial Corporation and Its Insurance Subsidiaries." Accessed April 1, 2021.