MILWAUKEE (BUSINESS WIRE), January 04, 2011 - Fitch Ratings affirmed the best possible insurance financial strength ratings for Northwestern Mutual and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company. These ratings recognize the company’s superior ability to meet its ongoing obligations to policyowners. The outlook for both ratings is stable.

This is the 20th consecutive year that the company has received a AAA rating from Fitch Ratings. In addition, Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company maintain the best possible insurance financial strength ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and A.M. Best.

“Financial strength is extremely important to our policyowners and this rating is a vote of confidence in Northwestern Mutual,” said Chris Kelly, vice president and controller. “Over the past couple of years, companies were tested by the worst economic meltdown in 80 years, yet we were the only company in our industry to maintain the best possible ratings with a stable outlook – and we continue to do so today.”

In its announcement, Fitch Ratings said Northwestern Mutual has a “very strong competitive position in the U.S. life insurance market and exceptionally strong balance sheet fundamentals.” The rating agency attributes the company’s success to its key competitive advantages, including its “successful distribution system, large and stable block of traditional life insurance, and focus on expense control.”

The rating agency further noted that “Northwestern Mutual’s extremely strong balance sheet fundamentals reflect the company’s very strong risk-based capital position, modest financial leverage, excellent liquidity and relatively low-risk liability profile.”

About Northwestern Mutual

The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual) has helped clients achieve financial security for more than 150 years. As a mutual company with $1.2 trillion of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual shares, as appropriate, its gains with policyowners and deliver consistent and dependable value to clients over time. Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a holistic approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, limited purpose federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and Russell Investments.