MILWAUKEE (BUSINESS WIRE), March 02, 2011 - Northwestern Mutual – a leading financial security company – celebrates its 154th year in business this week, and is experiencing stronger demand than at any other point in its history. Battered by several years of economic instability, consumers are actively seeking financial security assistance making Northwestern Mutual more relevant than ever.

The company attributes its long-term success to four core strengths: mutuality, financial strength, consistency and a nationally recognized exclusive distribution system of financial representatives nationwide.

“Our ‘secret’ is that we remain committed to the same values as day one,” said Chairman & CEO John Schlifske. “We don’t get caught up in trends; we stick with what works. Our financial strength is built on 154 years of consistency and steady dependability – which for us is both timely and timeless.”

Northwestern Mutual ranks first in U.S. individual life insurance with 10% market share and serves nearly four million clients nationwide. As a mutual insurance company, Northwestern Mutual’s financial objective is to pay the highest possible dividends to its policyowners and maintain its financial strength; both were accomplished in 2010. With total dividend payments anticipated at $4.9 billion in 2011, it will be the second-highest payout in company history1. Northwestern Mutual currently pays more in ordinary life insurance dividends than the next three highest-paying mutual insurance companies combined. In addition, the four major ratings agencies each affirmed the company’s best-possible insurance financial strength ratings in 20102.

Financial strength: Record sales year in 2010

In 2010, Northwestern Mutual met strong demand for financial security among Americans, setting new records in risk product sales and growing distribution of investments. For example:

  • Total number of policies sold increased 9.2% in 2010 versus 2009
  • Life insurance premiums jumped 23%3
  • Disability insurance premiums increased 5%
  • Long-term care premiums soared 32%
  • Sales of investment products and services rose 10%

“Our field force and research consistently tell us that Americans place a high value on their financial security and want to work with someone to manage their personal finances,” continued Schlifkse. “While some competitors in the long-term care market raised rates or left the industry, we saw sales soar. It seems that people understand the need to protect against risk, and they’re looking to work with companies like Northwestern Mutual that have a reputation for strength and stability over the long-term.”

Growing the field force; meeting demand

To keep pace with the growing demand for financial security planning, Northwestern Mutual recently announced that it is actively recruiting financial professionals nationwide. The company plans to add more than 2,000 financial representatives and more than 2,500 financial representative interns in 2011.

Northwestern Mutual’s financial representative career and internship program are frequently recognized as one of the best in the industry. For example:

“Our financial professionals are passionate about building meaningful long-term relationships with their clients, often extending 40 years and beyond,” said Schlifske. “That’s why we sit at the top of the customer satisfaction index – because we’re committed to doing the right thing for our clients, and have been doing it this way for 154 years.”

Northwestern Mutual leads the industry with the highest customer satisfaction score among large U.S. life insurers, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) from December 2010.

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 has no shareholders. The company focuses solely and directly on its clients and seeks to deliver consistent and dependable value to them 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.

1 Dividends may be declared and credited, at the Board of Trustees’ discretion, when current experience in investment earnings, mortality, morbidity and expenses is more favorable than the original assumptions used to establish policy premiums. Northwestern Mutual has paid a dividend every year since 1872. Future dividends are not guaranteed.

2 Northwestern Mutual has earned the best possible ratings for insurance financial strength – each with a stable rating outlook – from all four major rating agencies: A.M. Best (A++), Mar. 2010; Fitch Ratings (AAA), Jan. 2011; Moody’s Investors Service (Aaa), Mar. 2010; and Standard & Poor’s (AAA), Mar. 2010.

3 Annualized new sales figures reported here count premiums for life insurance policies paid for with a single premium at 10 percent. This is a common industry convention to put sales of single premium policies on a comparable basis to annual premium policies. As reported for statutory accounting purposes, new life insurance premium in 2010 was $1.7 billion.