Nationwide Life Insurance Company Review

Originally a part of the loosely-related Farm Bureau insurance companies, Nationwide has grown to become one of the country’s largest multi-line insurance carriers. Although Nationwide’s roots are in property and casualty lines such as automobile and homeowners insurance, the company also offers a full line of life insurance products.

Nationwide’s major companies are all currently rated an A+ (superior) by A. M. Best for financial security. The company has been rated A+ for nearly 40 consecutive years. Nationwide also holds an A+ rating from Standard and Poor’s and a A1 rating from Moody’s.

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History and Structure

Originally named the Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Nationwide Life Insurance was founded in 1926 in Columbus, Ohio, by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation strictly as an automobile insurer. Originally the company only wrote policies for Ohio-based farmers, but by 1934 had expanded to other states and to urban markets. In response to its increasing national presence, in 1955 the company renamed itself Nationwide Insurance.

Originally a mutual insurance company, Nationwide demutualized and went public in 1997. Today Nationwide is a true multi-line insurance underwriter, offering farm, commercial, flood, identity theft and even pet insurance in addition to the traditional property and casualty and life products.

Like several other insurance companies in recent years, Nationwide has entered the retail banking business. Nationwide Bank is a full service online bank which offers checking and savings accounts, CDs, IRAs, mortgages, credit cards and other types of loans.

Over the years Nationwide has become a major corporate citizen in the Columbus, Ohio, area. Upon completion in 1978 its downtown Columbus headquarters was one of the largest buildings in the state. The company was also instrumental in founding the Columbus Blue Jackets professional ice hockey team in 2000. The team plays its home games in Nationwide Arena.

Nationwide’s main life insurance companies are Nationwide Life Insurance Company and the Nationwide Life and Annuity Insurance Company. Nationwide Investment Services Corporation (NISC), serves as the broker/dealer for the company’s variable products.

Term Life

The following product discussions are intended to be a generic representation of the policies Nationwide Life Insurance offers. Not all products may be available in every state as described. In addition policy features and underwriting requirements may change without notice. Consult with a Nationwide Life Insurance agent for the most up-to-date information.

Nationwide Life Insurance’s term life policy is the YourLife Term II. This policy is available in terms between 10 and 30 years. Available riders include estate protection, which can pay estate taxes, and a policy split option, which can turn a two-party survivorship policy into two separate policies in the event of divorce or a change in federal estate tax law.

Whole Life

The whole life product offered by Nationwide Life Insurance is the YourLife WL. This policy is available in two forms, one of which is a “20-pay,” or a policy designed to be paid in full after 20 years. The other option is designed to be paid up at age 100. The policy is available up to age 80.

Available riders on the YourLife WL include 20-year term spouse, children’s term insurance, accidental death benefit, guaranteed insurability, and waiver of premium riders for both the insured and policy owner.

Universal Life

Nationwide Life Insurance’s universal life policies are available with no-lapse guarantees and in a two-party survivorship plan. A one-pay or single premium product is also available. Available riders include a rider that pays a benefit upon the death of an insured’s child, a convertible term spouse rider, accidental death benefit, long-term care and a waiver of monthly deductions rider.

Nationwide’s variable universal life (VUL) products include the more traditional YourLife Protection VUL and the Yourlife Accumulation VUL, which can act as both life insurance and a retirement savings vehicle. A two-party survivorship VUL is also offered. A wide variety of separate accounts managed by Nationwide and third-party asset management companies are available for all VULs. As with any VUL, the policy’s cash value mechanism is not guaranteed and may decrease based on market performance.

Annuities and Other Products

Nationwide Life Insurance offers both immediate annuities (i.e. annuities designed to begin distributions right away) and deferred annuities (i.e. annuities designed to begin distributions at a later date) in both fixed and variable varieties.

The Nationwide Eagle Plus and Platinum III fixed annuities are single premium deferred annuities designed for conservative investors. The other deferred fixed annuity products, Platinum V, Quatro Select and Trio Select+, offer guaranteed interest rates for a certain period of time.

Nationwide offers 14 different variable annuities. Similar to the VULs, there are a wide range of separate accounts to choose from. Some of these accounts are directly managed by Nationwide while others are managed by third-party asset management companies such as Fidelity, Franklin Templeton, T. Rowe Price, American Century and others. These funds range from conservative bond and money market funds to aggressive small cap, international and emerging market stock-based funds.

In addition to annuities, Nationwide offers non-annuity retirement plans such as the IRA and 401(k) in both traditional and Roth versions. The company also offers the lesser-known 403(b) – a special kind of retirement savings vehicle available primarily to teachers and employees of certain non-profit organizations such as churches and non-profit hospitals – and the 457 plan for government employees.

Group life insurance is available to employers. Group life is available to cover accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) and can provide an accelerated death benefit. Although group life face values are often considerably less than individual policies, they are often available to employees with little or no underwriting. Nationwide requires an employer to have at least 51 eligible employees to qualify for their group life plans.

Nationwide also offers long-term care (LTC) insurance. These insurance policies provide benefits in the event one finds himself or herself in a medical facility such as a nursing home for an extended period of time. LTC insurance usually requires one to document being in an institution for a certain period of time, however the coverage can protect against a significant loss of assets in such a situation.

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