The Board of Trustees of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company approved an estimated dividend payout of $4.6 billion to be paid to participating policyowners in 2009. The financial security company credits strong operating fundamentals and a diversified investment strategy for its ability to deliver this payout, while it continues to maintain a capital surplus that ensures long-term financial strength. The dividend interest rate on unborrowed funds for most permanent life insurance policies will be 6.5% in 2009.

"We are proud to continue to lead our industry in total life insurance dividends paid to policyowners," said Edward J. Zore, president and chief executive officer of Northwestern Mutual. "Our dividend payout is evidence that our long-term investment strategy, strong operating fundamentals and capital strength deliver exceptional value to policyowners."

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 mortality and expense experience to participating policyowners in the form of dividends. Northwestern Mutual pays more in total individual life insurance dividends to policyowners than any other company in the industry. While dividends are not guaranteed, Northwestern Mutual has paid dividends to policyowners every year since 1872.

"The current market turmoil is unprecedented and presents significant challenges to all financial companies," Zore said. "Northwestern Mutual is not immune to market changes. But as a mutual company with more than 150 years of experience, we can maintain our focus on the long-term interest of our clients and policyowners-and help them achieve financial security."

Highlights of the 2009 Estimated Dividend Payout for Northwestern Mutual and Northwestern Long Term Care

The financial security company highlighted the following aspects of its 2009 dividend, as well as the separate dividend projection of its subsidiary, the Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company:

-- Life Insurance -- Most of the $4.6 billion projected for 2009 is comprised of dividends paid to participating permanent life insurance policyowners. As a result, the company expects to continue to lead the industry in total life insurance dividends paid to policyowners in 2009.

-- Disability Insurance -- The company expects dividends to increase to $206 million in 2009, a $45 million increase over the estimated payout for 2008.

-- Term Life Insurance -- Nearly $83 million in dividends is expected to be paid to term life insurance policyowners in 2009.

-- Long-Term Care Insurance -- The Board of Directors of the Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company approved the continuation of the 2008 scale and anticipates paying an expected $8.8 million in dividends for 2009, a $2.7 million increase over the 2008 estimated payout. Zore noted that 2009 will be the third consecutive year in which dividends have been 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.

Northwestern Mutual's 2009 Dividend Interest Rate on Unborrowed Permanent Life Insurance Funds

The company's dividend interest rate on unborrowed permanent life insurance funds is based on the experience of its $120 billion investment portfolio that backs its participating insurance products. In 2008 the dividend interest rate was 7.5%. In 2009 the company will pay a 6.5% dividend interest rate, despite historically low interest rates, credit-market turmoil and unprecedented recent equity market declines. The company cited its mutual structure, the persistency of its life insurance business, the quality of its field force and their enduring relationships with clients as advantages in taking the long-term approach to investment management that allows Northwestern Mutual to pay the highest possible dividends while maintaining a strong capital position.

Resources for Policyowners and the Public

The following online resources at http://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 (http://www.nmfn.com/tn/learnctr--articles--determine_dividends) -- Explains how Northwestern Mutual calculates the dividend payout on most permanent life insurance policies.

Investment Report (http://www.nmfn.com/tn/aboutus--fi_inv_reports) -- Provides background on Northwestern Mutual's investment strategy.

Financial Ratings (http://www.nmfn.com/tn/aboutus--fi_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 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: http://www.nmfn.com/.

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SOURCE: Northwestern Mutual

CONTACT: Jean Towell of Northwestern Mutual, 1-800-323-7033,
mediarelations@northwesternmutual.com

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