MILWAUKEE, July 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Fitch Ratings has affirmed Northwestern Mutual's AAA insurance financial strength rating – the highest possible rating – for Northwestern Mutual and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company.

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In its announcement, Fitch said the ratings reflect "Northwestern's very strong competitive position in the U.S. individual life insurance market, exceptionally strong balance sheet fundamentals and stable earnings profile."

"Fitch's affirmation is yet another independent confirmation of our commitment to long-term financial security for our policyowners," said Chris Kelly, Northwestern Mutual vice president and controller.  "They appreciate our focus on the fundamentals, conservative approach to financial management, and the competitive advantages of a field force that is second-to-none."   

Our competitive advantages

Among Northwestern Mutual's competitive advantages, Fitch cites our successful distribution system, large and stable block of traditional life insurance and focus on expense control.

"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," Fitch's news release said.

Highest financial strength ratings awarded

With this latest announcement, Northwestern Mutual continues to hold the highest financial strength ratings awarded to any life insurer by all four of the major credit rating agencies: A.M. Best Company, A++ (highest) 4/2012; Fitch Ratings, AAA (highest), 6/2012; Moody's Investors Service Aaa (highest), 10/2011; and Standard & Poor's AA+ (second highest), 6/2012. Third-party ratings are subject to change.

About Northwestern Mutual

The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual) – among the "World's Most Admired" life insurance companies in 2012 according to FORTUNE® magazine – has helped clients achieve financial security for more than 155 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 insurancelong-term care insurancedisability insuranceannuitiesinvestment 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.

SOURCE Northwestern Mutual