Company Overview 

company overview 

Doing What's Best for Clients Since 1857

Founded in 1857, our company has lived through the Civil War, the Crash of 1929, the Great Depression, two world wars, and numerous recessions. Our experience is extensive. We are well-positioned to help you manage financial risk and achieve financial security in today's complex world.

Committed to Diversity and Inclusion

People are the power behind Northwestern Mutual, and diversity makes us better. We are committed to reflecting and serving the marketplace. We will do so by attracting and enhancing the engagement of those who bring their unique perspectives, ideas, and beliefs. At Northwestern Mutual, people matter. Learn more about our commitment by reading our Diversity and Inclusion brochure and watching this video.



Our History 

Diversity and Inclusion 



Company Distinctions

We are a company with many distinctions. Here are just a few:

Corporate Distinctions

  • Northwestern Mutual has a persistency rate of 96% for life insurance in force, a key indicator of customer satisfaction.
  • Northwestern Mutual has the highest financial strength ratings awarded to any life insurer by all four of the major credit rating agencies.1
  • We are the nation's largest direct provider of individual life insurance.2

  • We expect to pay $5.5 billion in total dividends to policyowners in 2015, including industry-leading dividends on life and disability insurance.3

  • We are ranked among the Top 10 independent broker-dealers, as measured by total revenues, by the leading investment industry publications:
    • Financial Advisor magazine, April 2014
    • Financial Planning magazine, June 2013
    • Investment Advisor magazine, June 2013

A.M. Best Company A++ (highest), 4/2014; Fitch Ratings AAA (highest), 11/2014; Moody's Investors Service Aaa (highest), 6/2014; Standard & Poor's AA+ (second highest), 7/2014. Ratings are subject to change.
SNL Financial 
3 The policy dividend is reviewed annually by the company’s Board of Trustees. Dividends are not guaranteed and are subject to change.

In the News

Top Careers

What Mutuality Means to You

Being a mutual company starts with doing the right thing. We focus on clients' long-term needs and best interests. Being a mutual also enables us to succeed and to preserve our considerable financial strength. These are our mutual differences:

How We Operate

Clients Come First
Mutual companies focus on serving their policyowners. Publicly traded stock companies typically split their focus between customers and shareholders. Whether you’re buying insurance or investing in your future, the principles of mutuality guide the way we help you.

Dividends* Are a Real Value
Northwestern Mutual is like a cooperative. After setting aside a safe margin for reserves and surplus each year, the company returns what would otherwise be “profits” to its participating policyowners as dividends. We expect to pay $5.5 billion to policyowners in 2015, and lead the industry in total life insurance dividends paid.

Loyalty to All Clients
Some companies try to attract new policyowners by offering special benefits only to them. We do not. As policy benefits are added, we have traditionally extended the same benefits to our current clients.

Maximizing Value With a Long-Term Investment Strategy
Because we have no shareholders, we can take a longer-term investment approach in our general account investment portfolio. Over time, this strategy has produced higher returns in our portfolio and greater policyowner value.
We Use the Same Approach in Guiding Our Clients’ Investments.
Our investment products and services philosophy also employs a long-term focus. We want our clients to benefit from fundamentals, discipline, a long-term outlook and prudent risk management.
Carefully Managing Expenses
Vigorous cost management has long been a hallmark of our company — and a key advantage in the marketplace. Expenses on our principal product line have been consistently about one-third lower than the industry average. These savings can contribute to dividends.*

Excellent Customer Satisfaction
Northwestern Mutual has a persistency rate of 96% for life insurance in-force, a key indicator of customer satisfaction. Because clients keep their policies, their steadily paid premiums give us a cash flow for our investments, which can contribute to dividends.* It’s mutuality at work.

About Quality and Value

In short, our goal is to be simply the best in quality and value. We aim to —

  • Offer superior products
  • Avoid gimmicks and fads
  • Upgrade our policies in the scope of their coverage to provide better benefits at lower costs

We have practiced four mutual values since our inception:

  1. Doing the right thing for policyowners and other clients.
  2. Building long-term relationships to meet client needs.
  3. Building and preserving financial strength.
  4. Offering world-class products and expert guidance that address changing needs over a lifetime.

Download Our Mutual Advantage

*The policy dividend is reviewed annually by the Company's Board of Trustees. Dividends are not guaranteed and are subject to change.

The Origins of Doing the Right Thing

The frontier state of Wisconsin was only nine years old when the company opened its doors. Fewer than three years later, its leader faced a crisis when Wisconsin’s first catastrophic train accident took the lives of two policyowners. Together their claims totaled $3,500, but the little company had only $2,000 on hand.

Without hesitation, President Samuel Daggett and his fellow trustees waived the usual 90-day settlement period, personally borrowed the needed funds, and paid the claims immediately.

Northwestern Mutual’s tradition of keeping its promises was born.

Even during the dark days of the Great Depression, “there was never a time…that the Northwestern could not have met every demand that was made upon it with business promptness, in full, and without the sacrifice of a dollar of its securities,” said Michael Cleary, company president, 1932-1947.

During the tragic events of September 11, 2001, 157 Northwestern Mutual policyowners lost their lives. Not since the Titanic sank in 1912 have so many policyowners’ lives been lost in a single event. A team of senior claim specialists, accompanied by CEO Ed Zore, flew to New York as soon as air travel resumed. In the home office, colleagues canceled vacations and worked the weekend to process $125 million in claims. Most were paid within five days after we received the claim.

While technology, transportation, demographics, regulations, and the speed of business — indeed the speed of life — have changed and accelerated since 1857, two things remain constant. People want to provide financial security for their loved ones. Financial strength is the cornerstone of any company designed to help them do that.

Over the years, Northwestern Mutual has continually demonstrated its commitment to doing the right thing for those who place their trust in the company. We remain true to a governing philosophy that puts mutuality and fairness first.

To ensure that the company stays in tune with its clients, each year since 1875, a group of our policyowners has been invited to examine the workings of the company and to complete a report which is published — unedited — in the company’s annual report.

People are the Power Behind Northwestern Mutual

We believe that a diverse and inclusive work environment attracts and engages the best talent — people with unique ideals, points of view, and passions. Here, you matter. To explore career opportunities at Northwestern Mutual, visit our Career Opportunities section. 

We’re enhancing our recruiting efforts to attract the best talent in the nation.

 howard university partnership

Howard University Partnership
Howard University is a leading historically black college university. Northwestern Mutual sponsors the Howard University Center for Insurance Education and participates in the 21st Century Advantage Program in the school of business.

Sponsorships, Conferences, Affiliations and Career Fairs across the nation
Northwestern Mutual takes a holistic approach to both raise our brand awareness and recruit new talent for corporate and national sales opportunities at diversity events across the country. We reach tens of thousands of professionals and students through our affiliations with:

  • National Association of Black Accountants (NABA)
  • National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA)
  • National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA)
  • National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA)
diversity events across the country 
2011 National Convention for ALPFA, in Anaheim, California
We were a gold sponsor for the national annual ALPFA convention. Karl Gouverneur, vice president of IT strategy and architecture, and one of the executive champions, facilitated a professional development strategic leadership and business acumen workshop on "Emerging Trends in Technology."

We’re fostering a culture of inclusion where everyone can be their best.

Washington High School of Information Technology
The Northwestern Mutual Information Systems department and its leaders are long-time supporters of mentoring opportunities for students at Washington High School of Information Technology (WHSoIT). This Milwaukee high school has a majority African American student body.

Young Entrepreneur Scholars (YES) Program
Chris Kelly, vice president and controller, is a strong supporter of the YES Program, which is designed to give qualified minority high school students career-enhancing experience through on-the-job exposure to accounting and other business professions.

Corporate Commitments

  • The Diversity and Inclusion corporate committee includes senior executives and key leaders.
  • The Northwestern Mutual Foundation has given nearly $170 million to communities across the nation during the past decade.
  • Northwestern Mutual has given more than $9 million to support urban education in Milwaukee during the past five years.
  • Employees volunteer more than 30,000 hours each year to community organizations.

National Sales Force Commitments
  • Women Connect presents an opportunity for women to connect, network, and be successful across the Northwestern Mutual sales force.
  • The American College Conference for African American Financial Representatives; as a platinum sponsor, key leaders host receptions, sessions, and panel discussions featuring successful financial professionals.
  • Women in Insurance and Financial Services (WIFS) is the only organization exclusively devoted to the success of women in insurance and financial services fields. We've been a gold sponsor for several years, with members from our sales force and corporate offices, as well as active board participants.
american college african american financial professionals conference
Todd Schoon, executive vice president
of Agencies, speaking at the American
College African American Financial Professionals Conference Reception
We’ve earned recognition as a leading employer

diversity employers magazineDiversity Employers magazine named Northwestern Mutual on its list of the "Top 100 Employers for the Class of 2012." To help meet growing consumer demand for financial security, the company will recruit more than 2,500 financial representatives and 3,000 interns this year. Don’t miss our Career Opportunities section to learn more about opportunities currently available at Northwestern Mutual.



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