The Board of Trustees of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company has approved a dividend payout of more than $4.7 billion for participating policyowners for the year 2010, an increase of $200 million over its 2009 payout.
With this payout, the financial security company expects to continue to lead its industry in total life insurance dividends.
The company credits its dividend payout to diversified investing, careful underwriting, rigorous expense management and strong performance in other operating fundamentals. Policyowner dividends for 2010 will be the second highest in company history.
"We are proud to pay the industry's highest dividends while maintaining a strong capital position," said Edward J. Zore, chairman and chief executive officer of Northwestern Mutual. "Our dividends and surplus demonstrate the strength of our company, and they both deliver exceptional value to our policyowners over the long term."
Unlike stock companies, which may pay dividends to shareholders, Northwestern Mutual's structure as a mutual company allows it to return a portion of its investment gains and favorable results from claims and expense experience to participating policyowners in the form of dividends. While dividends are not guaranteed, Northwestern Mutual has paid dividends to policyowners in each of the past 139 years.
"Our status as a mutual company is a great advantage because it allows us to focus on the long-term interests of our clients and policyowners, which helps them achieve financial security," Zore added.
Highlights of the 2010 Estimated Dividend Payout
The financial security company highlighted the following aspects of its 2010 dividend, as well as the separate dividend announcement of its subsidiary, the Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company:
Life Insurance - About 90 percent of the $4.7 billion will be paid to participating permanent life insurance policyowners. Zore noted that more than half of policyowner dividends paid on permanent policies comes from favorable claims and expense results. Northwestern Mutual shares savings in these areas with its policyowners through dividends.
Term Life Insurance - Nearly $120 million in policyowner dividends is expected to be paid to term life insurance policyowners in 2010, as compared to $83 million in 2009.
Disability Insurance - The company expects policyowner dividends in its disability line to reach $225 million in 2010, a $19 million increase over 2009.
Long-Term Care Insurance - The Board of Directors of the Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company approved a dividend payout of $8 million on long-term care policies for 2010, as compared to a 2009 payout of $8.8 million. It will be the fourth consecutive year in which dividends are paid to long-term care policyowners. Northwestern Long Term Care is one of the few companies to pay a dividend to holders of long-term care insurance policies and again expects to lead the industry in long-term care dividends paid.
2010 Dividend Interest Rate on Unborrowed Permanent Life Insurance Funds
About one-half of the company's expected 2010 dividend payout is attributable to the performance of Northwestern Mutual's $142 billion investment portfolio, which backs the company's participating permanent insurance products. In 2010, the company will pay a 6.15% dividend interest rate on most unborrowed permanent life insurance funds, as compared to 6.5% during 2009.
"At the end of a 12-month period of turmoil and doubt in the financial industry, we believe our policyowners can take great satisfaction in this substantial dividend payout," said Zore. "As a company, we are most proud of our record of consistency, creating this type of long-term value for our policyowners while maintaining our financial strength year in and year out."
Resources for Policyowners and the Public
The following online resources at www.nmfn.com provide additional background on how the Northwestern Mutual determines dividends, its investment portfolio and its financial strength ratings from the four major rating agencies.
How We Determine Dividends - Explains how Northwestern Mutual calculates the dividend payout on most permanent life insurance policies.
Investment Report - Provides background on Northwestern Mutual's investment strategy.
Financial Ratings - Lists current company ratings and the rating agencies' full reports.
About Northwestern Mutual
The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI, a FORTUNE 500 company with over $1.1 trillion of life insurance protection in force, has been helping its policyowners and clients achieve financial security for more than 150 years.
Through the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, the marketing name for the company's nationwide sales distribution arm, the company and its affiliates deliver a unique approach to combining insurance and investment solutions to help clients achieve financial security. These solutions include life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, annuities, mutual funds, and employee benefit services. Northwestern Mutual's subsidiaries and affiliates are comprised of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, a wholly-owned company, broker-dealer, member of FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, a wholly-owned company of Northwestern Mutual and limited purpose federal savings bank; Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and the Russell Investment Group.
Further information on Northwestern Mutual, its subsidiaries and affiliates can be found at: www.nmfn.com.
First Call Analyst:
SOURCE: Northwestern Mutual
CONTACT: Jean Towell of Northwestern Mutual, 1-800-323-7033,
Web Site: http://www.northwesternmutual.com/