For the second consecutive year, Northwestern Mutual has been named the nation's leading provider of pension benefits by Money. The magazine's annual survey, "Corporate America's Best Benefits," features Northwestern Mutual in the December 2002 edition. The company ranked 8th for providing the best overall benefits to employees.

"We're proud of this recognition because it highlights Northwestern Mutual's Total Rewards philosophy -- which is based on valued employees and valuable employment," says Susan Lueger, vice president of human resources. "We are committed to providing employees with top-rate benefits -- competitive compensation and benefits packages, excellent career opportunities, and a challenging and rewarding work environment," adds Lueger. "In turn, we attract and retain top-rate employees."

Money magazine surveyed senior compensation and benefits executives at Fortune 300 companies to rank the nation's largest corporations. Three major categories were considered: pension benefits, 401(k)/profit sharing, and health care. Northwestern Mutual earned the highest ranking in pension benefits based on the percentage of income replaced at retirement.

With "the most generous plan, (Northwestern Mutual) retirees can expect over 50 percent of their salary after 25 years of service."(1) The ranking included traditional, cash-balance and equity pension plans.

Northwestern Mutual, the nation's largest direct provider of individual life insurance according to A. M. Best, has always received the highest possible ratings for financial strength from Standard & Poor's, Moody's, Fitch, and A. M. Best. In addition to life insurance, the company, its subsidiaries and affiliates are also providers of annuities, mutual funds, long-term care insurance and disability income insurance. These products and services are distributed through the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and its 7,800 financial representatives. Among its affiliated companies are the Frank Russell Company, the investment management and advisory firm; Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS), the securities brokerage firm; and Northwestern Mutual Trust Company, a special purpose federal savings bank. Further information on Northwestern Mutual, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, can be found at: www.nmfn.com .

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SOURCE: Northwestern Mutual

CONTACT: Jean Towell of Northwestern Mutual, +1-414-665-5167, or
Jeantowell@northwesternmutual.com

Web site: http://www.northwesternmutual.com/