Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 17, 2022

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Key InfoCompany Specifics
Year Founded1910
Current ExecutiveCEO - Knut Olson
Number of Employees400
Total Sales / Total Assets$137,000,000 / $4,500,000,0000
HQ AddressTwo East Gilman Street
Madison, WI 53703
Phone Number1-800-548-2962
Premiums Written - Group Life $547,139,332
Financial Standing+4% from Previous Year
Best ForStable Financial Ratings
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Deciding to purchase life insurance is an important decision that will help your family long after you pass. As noble as it may be, it can be a scary and daunting experience.

Even if you can put aside the emotional feelings that come with it, you’re still likely to be confused by the seemingly limitless number of policies and companies available.

In this article, we take a look at one such company, National Guardian Life Insurance Company or National Guardian Life (NGL).

Starting in 1909, National Guardian Life became a sturdy and consistent company. But some bad decisions and poor customer service may spell trouble for the company soon.

National Guardian Life’s Ratings

Without oversight, a company is likely to abuse the trust of their customers through sheer ignorance. But thanks to third-party rating services, insurers are kept in check with both their financial liability and the way they treat their customers.

National Guardian Life’s ratings range from mid-range to good across the board. While they are a stable investment, there are some things to keep your eye on as well.

A.M. Best

A.M. Best rates a company on its financial strength as well as the long-term credit risk to your investment. Their rating isn’t reflective of any specific policies — only the overall risk and strength of the company.

National Guardian Life Insurance Company has scored an A- (Excellent) for its financial strength. As the second-highest rating, they have shown strength while still having room to improve.

For their long term credit risk rating, they have an A- (Excellent) which is the third-highest rating available for that category.   AM Best is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating information source. Ratings current as of 03/24/21.

They have maintained these ratings for the last five years, proving to be a stable investment.

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Arguably the most popular rating site out there, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) focuses on how a company treats its customers. They look at public information such as complaints, lawsuits, and financial information when deciding their rating.

The BBB has given National Guardian Life an A+ rating, which is their highest rating. This is reflective of a constant commitment to serving their customers’ needs.

That said, the BBB has 15 registered complaints on their site, most coming from bad customer service or a customer’s problem with a product.

NAIC Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) compiles information from their own research as well as the findings of state organizations.

They rate a company based on the number of closed complaints they experience each year. The industry standard is set at 1.00, with any number lower being better, and a higher number is worse.

Surprisingly, for such a small company, National Guardian Life has 1.00 on the complaint scale. They have exactly or near the average number of complaints compared to other companies that sell individual life products.

For such an intimate workplace, such a high complaint ratio, by market comparison, isn’t something that will normally draw customers in. There is an average chance you’ll face issues during the length of your policy.

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Company History

In 1909, in a little hamlet called Madison, Wisc., The Wisconsin State Life Insurance Company was born. After deciding that name didn’t accurately depict their goals and ambitions, the founders changed the company’s name to Guardian Life Insurance Company a year later.

In response to a German company taking almost the exact same name in 1918, they added “National” to become National Guardian Life Insurance Company by 1920.

The Board of Directors decided to make National Guardian Life a mutual company in 1936. This allows for the company to be solely owned by its policyholders and allows the option for those policyholders to get dividends.

This seemed to be a wise decision because, only 12 years later, they reached $100 million in assets.

In 1995, National Guardian Life partnered with an Indianapolis insurer to begin selling individual term life policies.

National Guardian Life organized the Kentucky Home Life Insurance Company in 1998 in the Kentucky Commonwealth. Later that year, they would merge with Kentucky Home Mutual Life Insurance Company and acquire 19,000 policies and all their subsidiaries with it.

Only a year later, in 1999, they continued their expansion with the purchase of All Nation Life Insurance Company from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Delaware and with it 3,900 policies. Later that same year they would also purchase a section of policies from another Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s subsidiary.

As if that wasn’t enough, they finished out the century strong with one last purchase — Settlers Life Insurance out of Bristol, Va. With it came a whopping 350,000 policies plus subsidiaries.

As good as they seemed to be doing in the previous year, they ended up selling their subsidiary NGL Security Services LLC in 2000. Due to their purchases the year before, they now boast $4 billion in assets.

In 2001, they would begin purchasing again with the acquisition and merger of Milwaukee Life Insurance Company.

National Guardian Life decided it was time for some big changes in 2005. They ceased their business in the term life insurance market and got rid of their universal life policies.

A year later, they would earn another 80,000 policies from the Central American Life Insurance Company.

Their growth has only continued since, with National Guardian Life now holding an astonishing $3.8 billion in assets, doubling what they had in the early 2000s.

National Guardian Life’s Market Share

As of 2018, National Guardian Life is currently placed at number 59 on the NAIC Top 125 Life Insurers list with over $500 million in direct premiums written and a 0.33% market share.

In the table below, you can see National Guardian Life compared to the top 10 in the nation.

CompanyMarket Share
Northwestern Mutual8.2%
Lincoln National5.8%
New York Life5.7%
Mass Mutual4.8%
Prudential Financial4.5%
John Hancock3.6%
State Farm3.6%
Pacific Life2.9%
National Guardian Life0.33%
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National Guardian Life seems to be having a rough time lately, as their rank has dropped two places in just as many years.

Not only that, but they’re also losing a small percentage of their market share as time goes on.

Any increase in direct premiums written has been marginal at best, and it’s the only thing that has kept the company from falling further down the list.

National Guardian Life’s Position for the Future

National Guardian Life has maintained a stable hold on the market, even maintaining its current A.M. Best rating for the last decade.

That being said, in the last three years, we have seen National Guardian Life make only marginal improvements in their premiums written, the lifeblood of an insurer.

While their premiums are still going up, the market share and NAIC ranking have been slowly, yet consistently, falling. National Guardian Life also holds near the average of insurer complaints, which is surprising for such a small workplace.

This all adds up to a shaky and unsure future for National Guardian Life unless they right the ship toward progress.

National Guardian Life’s Online Presence

Unlike many sites, National Guardian Life has no customer portal. Instead, if you wish to make a payment or get help with your policy, you’ll need to have the policy number and potentially the billed credit card on file.

They offer a wealth of resources on their blog and the Newsroom section of their website.

If you want to reach out, National Guardian Life has an official Facebook page where they share news about their employees and their many happy customers.

National Guardian Life’s Commercials

One of the formats of National Guardian Life’s videos is a selection of stock photos set to cheery music pointing out the benefits of future planning.

National Guardian Life also uses a hand-drawn style of video that provides ample information in an appealing and understandable medium.

Lastly, National Guardian Life has some promotional videos with the employees speaking directly to the camera.

National Guardian Life in the Community

National Guardian Life has placed a special interest in continuously making sure their community is better than it was the year before.

In fact, since 2005, National Guardian Life’s employees have donated 904 units of blood, which translates into over 2,500 lives saved.

In the last 30 years that the company has partnered with Meals on Wheels, they’ve delivered 31,000 meals to the sick and needy.

National Guardian Life also donated enough to the Second Harvest Foodbank of Wisconsin that they were able to serve over 55,000 meals to the hungry. Also, thanks to National Guardian Life, they were able to upgrade their facilities to provide better service to the needy.

National Guardian Life’s Employees

Employees are most often inspired by individual attention, advancement opportunities, and great leaders. National Guardian Life could use lessons in all three based on their employees’ experiences.

Based on reviews on the web, the experience employees have had at National Guardian Life is less than ideal. The reviews mostly range from average to those complaining about social exclusion in the workplace.

According to employees, there are no opportunities for advancement. One employee even compares the experience to that of Purgatory. This is probably the worst way to describe a job — an eternal wait for the next phase.

It isn’t all bad. Some reviews state that the employees are happy with the overall environment, but there are just clear improvements to be made.

Shopping for Life Insurance

Buying life insurance can feel like an overwhelming and confusing experience. While your intentions are noble, no one would blame you for being turned off by the seemingly endless complex policies and companies out there.

In fact, according to the Life Happens and LIMRA 2019 Insurance Barometer Report, Gen Xers and Millennials are more likely to seek a financial advisor to better navigate the confusing and changing landscape of life insurance.

But Gen Z will soon be looking as well if they want to take advantage of the potential savings, and we are sure to see a number of Gen Zs seeking help with a financial advisor in finding their footing in the life insurance market.

Coverage Offered

While there are many types and subtypes of policies that vary from company to company, they all typically follow the same process. When you apply for your policy, you’ll be subject to a process called underwriting.

The insurer will ask you to fill out a questionnaire and maybe even get a doctor to determine your insurability. How insurable you are is based on the likelihood that you’ll die during the life of your policy. So anything in your life that is seen as a risk will cause your rates to go up.

Once you’ve been accepted, you’ll pay premiums on your policy at predetermined times, usually monthly or annually, to maintain your coverage.

If you stop paying your premiums at any time, your policy will be canceled, and you’ll lose any coverage. If you die during your policy, the death benefit or your coverage amount will be paid out to your chosen beneficiary.

With whole and universal life policies, a portion of your premiums will be put into an account called cash value. This cash value will be invested or placed in a savings-type account that you can use later in life.

Types of Coverage Offered

There are a few main types of life insurance policies: those that last for a short period and those that will cover your whole life. These policies can be broken down even further:

  • Term – A term policy often offers coverage for a period of time, usually several decades, and offers equal premiums for the life of the policy unless stated by your insurer.
  • Whole – As it sounds, this policy will cover your whole life. It can also accrue cash value in a savings-type account.
  • Universal – Your cash value will be accrued and placed into an investment account that can allow for potential gains, but it also has the risk of potential losses.

Determining which policy is right for you depends on your life and what you’re looking for in the long term. You should keep in mind that most policies don’t cover suicide, war, or dangerous/high-risk activities.


Term life insurance is a hassle-free option for purchasing life insurance. You’re guaranteed level premiums and coverage for the life of your policy as long as you pay your premiums.

Your policy will usually last several decades, and as long as you pay your premiums the insurer will pay out the death benefit if you die during your policy’s term.

A predetermined death benefit will be paid out to your beneficiary.

If you outlive your policy, you’ll lose your investment. Instead, you might be able to sign up for a renewable or convertible policy.

  • A renewable policy allows you to renew your policy each time it expires at a slightly increasing rate up until a specified age.
  • A convertible policy lets you change to whole life during your term life at the rates that would have applied when you first signed up.

There is also the option for a return of premium rider that allows you to get a portion of your premiums back. It won’t be near what you paid or the death benefit, but this is a good option for those who don’t like the idea of losing out completely on their investment.


A whole life policy will cover your whole life from the moment you’re accepted as long as you pay your premiums and meet your company’s specifications.

A portion of your premiums will be added to a savings type account called cash value.

As you accrue the cash value, you can use it during retirement to borrow against, to pay premiums, or take out the entire amount if you surrender the policy.

If there is any cash value left when you pass, it will also be paid out to your beneficiary after any taxes or fees are withdrawn.

Because of the length of the policy and the ability to accrue cash value, you can expect to pay more than term life insurance.


A universal life policy takes that same cash value for whole life and places it into a mutual fund or internal investment account.

This, of course, allows for the potential to gain additional wealth. If the stock market takes a turn for the worse, however, you risk losing everything you worked toward.

You also have the flexibility of deciding when to pay your premiums.

There are three common subtypes to universal life:

  • Indexed – This policy allows you to invest a portion of your premiums in an index such as the S&P 500, or the Nasdaq 100.
  • Guaranteed – Lifelong coverage at a fixed premium, this policy offers the best of whole life and term life policies.
  • Variable – This policy works as a universal policy, but your premiums are invested into separate sub-accounts to be invested to allow for additional cash value.

This is a great idea for investors or those who see the potential of new investments.

That being said, it’s best to discuss with your financial advisor before signing up for this policy so you know all the terms in which you’re signing up for.

Burial & Final Expense

Burial and Final Expense insurance only covers your burial and final expenses, making it much cheaper than any other life insurance option. Usually, even those who are in high-risk categories will qualify for this life insurance.

This is also an appealing option for those on a budget or those who don’t like the idea of paying thousands of dollars in premiums.

If you’re terminally ill, however, this may be your only option for coverage.

Factors That Affect Your Rate

Insurers determine what your rates will be based on the risk that you’ll pass away during the life of the policy.

The more likely you are to pass away, the higher you’ll have to pay each month to cover that risk.

Factors such as your demographics, health, job, and habits will affect the likelihood you’ll be accepted into a new life insurance policy.

An insurer will find this out through a process called underwriting. During this process, an underwriter will give you a questionnaire. They’ll also do their own research to ensure that you don’t pose any unforeseen risks.

When applying, it’s best to be honest with your insurer, as they’ll most likely be able to find out if you’re not telling the truth, and that will hurt your policy decision.


Age and gender are the two risk factors that impact us all when it comes to underwriting.

  • The older you get, the more susceptible you become to disease and bodily injury.
  • Since women live longer than men, they pay less each month on their premiums.

Starting your policy as soon as you can is imperative because the sooner you start, the more you’ll save no matter your other risk factors.

Current Health & Family Medical History

Believe it or not, your health plays a huge role in how long your life is. After applying, you may be subject to everything from a physical to blood work to determine what you’ll end up having to pay.

If you have any current or recent illnesses, you may face some higher premiums. Likewise, if your family has a history of any major medical illnesses, that may keep you from getting the policy you want, as well.

Don’t worry though. Some major medical conditions, such as a pacemaker, still allow you to qualify for a policy.

It’s best to discuss your options with a financial adviser to determine if your condition is covered.

High-Risk Occupations

If you work a dangerous job, chances are that you’re well aware of the risks involved. Society is better for you putting your life on the line, and we are all grateful.

That being said, if you die on the job, your insurer will lose out big. So, those with jobs that have higher casualty rates will pay more in the long run.

According to CNBC, most job fatalities come from those in the transportation industry and those who have access to large and dangerous machinery.

High-Risk Habits

Like your job, your personal life has a huge impact on your premiums and policy as a whole. In fact, the most common habit, smoking, can have you paying twice as much as someone who doesn’t when combined with age.

This is due to the shocking number of lethal illnesses that have been linked to tobacco and nicotine use. Even smoking the occasional celebratory cigar can leave you paying higher premiums.

Did you switch to vaping because it’s a safer alternative? Insurers would disagree, and soon those who enjoy e-cigarettes may soon find themselves paying as much as smokers or more.

Other habits that put you at risk include extreme sports, bad driving, and overeating.

Veteran or Active Military Status

No one deserves our respect more than those on the front lines defending our country.

If you’re active-duty military, there’s good news. When your service begins, you’ll be automatically signed up for the Service members‘ Group Life Insurance (SGLI).

Even when your service ends, you can sign up for Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) within a certain window.

This is an affordable alternative to commercial life insurance and allows you to maintain the same coverage you had while serving. With a death benefit of $10,000 to $400,000, you can rest assured that your needs will be fully met with this policy.

If you sign up within a certain period, you won’t even need to prove your insurability.

There are other options for veterans as well, but none that will be as beneficial as the veteran-designed program from the U.S. government.

Getting the Best Rate with National Guardian Life

Getting a good rate with any company can be achieved by just doing a few things that will affect your life for the better.

First, starting as soon as you can will provide you with better rates no matter your other risk factors. Not only will you be able to get better rates, but if you have a whole or universal life policy, you can use that extra time to build your cash value.

Second, it’s time to ditch the nachos, or at least cut back on the greasy food, and get some extra exercise. Overall, making sure that you’re taking good care of your mental and improving your physical health is a good way to get better rates.

Since you’ll likely be subject to a physical, it will look perfect if your doctor can see that you’ve put in the effort to maintain your health.

Finally, stop any bad habits that put your life in danger. This includes smoking, reckless driving, and other risk-taking behavior.

Even prioritizing one of these will help your rates, but taking control of all three will give you the open choice of policy and premiums.

National Guardian Life’s Programs

One of National Guardian Life’s best promotions is their Matching Gifts program. They are so proud of the generosity of their employees that they’ll match each employee’s contribution up to $2,000.

They also boast about their advanced funding program that allows beneficiaries to get their death benefit sooner than other companies.

This fast and reliable method will give them their death benefit as soon as they need it, letting them take care of medical and funeral costs before they become a problem.

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Canceling Your Policy

There are many reasons why you might want to cancel your life insurance policy.

Whether you can’t afford the premiums, want the cash value, or find another policy somewhere else, this process is easy and only takes a few short steps.

How to Cancel

Canceling your policy with National Guardian Life only takes you to fill out a form.

#1 – Go to

To begin, you’ll need to go to the National Guardian Life home page.

Next, locate the “Policyholders” tab highlighted in red.

#2 – Click on “Policyholders”

In this tab, you can file a claim or request policy changes.

Next, notice the “Make Policy Changes” place on the side menu.

#3 – Click on “Make Policy Changes”

This page has instructions for what to do with the form whether you fill it out in your browser or print it out.

Put in your email to receive the form.

#4 – Fill Out and/or Print the Form

This form can be used for a variety of policy changes, not just surrendering.

Once you’ve retrieved and filled out the form, there is only one thing left.

#5 – Mail or Email the Completed Form to National Guardian Life

You can mail the completed form to Attn: Customer Service, PO Box 1191, Madison, WI 53701.

How to Make a Claim

When it comes time to file a claim, you may need some time before you’re ready. Luckily, there are no limitations on how long you can wait before filing your claim.

To make a claim with National Guardian Life, you’ll follow a few of the same steps as above.

  • Go to
  • Click on the “Policyholders” tab at the top of the page
  • Click “Death Claim Notification” from the sidebar
  • Fill out the information about your loved one who passed and where the company should contact you
  • Wait for the agent to be in touch

The insurer understands how hard this time can be, so they’ll be back to you at your earliest convenience.

How to Get a Quote Online

Because National Guardian Life is a group life insurer, they don’t offer an online quote tool. Any quotes would have to go through your employer.

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Design of Website/App

National Guardian Life’s website is easy to navigate with tabs for everything customers and prospective employees could want.

While there isn’t any information about the insurer’s products on their site, they do point out the benefits of their individual features.

If you want to know more about the company, you can check out their “About Us” section. For what the company is up to currently, you can go to the “Newsroom” section of their site.

There is also a page for “Insurance Solutions” that gives an overview of what they offer. There are two sections for looking for a job with National Guardian Life: “Working With NGL” and “Careers.”

Lastly, for those who want to skip searching through a website, the “Contact Us” gives you all the information you need to reach out to National Guardian Life.

All that being said, National Guardian Life does not offer any mobile apps for its customers.

Pros & Cons

National Guardian Life has over 110 years of helping employers make sure their employees are insured.


For such a small company, it has kept its financial strength steady despite the much larger competitors.

  • They have maintained a good rating with A.M. Best and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Strong work in their community through employees and matching contributions.
  • A consistent history of buying and selling companies and policies in the insurance business.

Most of the best things about National Guardian Life come from a consistent history without much change. Unfortunately, change is the only way to stay afloat in business.


National Guardian Life has not been doing so great in recent years, despite their current hold on the market.

  • The company is bleeding somewhere along the line, and their NAIC market share and rank are suffering because of it.
  • According to the NAIC, National Guardian Life’s closed complaints are equal to the market average, leading to a higher chance you’ll face complaints during your policy.
  • Employees disapprove of the management, lack of opportunities, and sometimes clique-ish work culture.

It’s easy to see how these all relate. Unmotivated employees lead to poor work, which in turn leads to more complaints. When customers learn of the problems National Guardian Life’s policyholders face, they are less likely to do work with the insurer.

This, in turn, leads to loss of business as reflected by the NAIC information, which has been slowing at least over the last three years.

The Bottom Line

Providing for one’s family is one of the best feelings in the world. It can also lead to the fear of what would happen if they lost that protection. That worry is quickly alleviated with the purchase of the right life insurance policy.

The payout can be used for college, medical expenses, or even to keep your business afloat during the transition.

National Guardian Life is a stable company for your investment, but the uncertainty of its future may leave many seeking another option.

As always, it’s important to speak with a financial advisor before making any decisions about your financial future.

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