For the 23rd year, Northwestern Mutual has been named as "America's Most Admired" life/health insurance company in FORTUNE magazine's 2006 annual survey of industry professionals and analysts. Northwestern Mutual is the only company to lead its industry every year it has been included in the FORTUNE survey. All "America's Most Admired" industry rankings are featured in the magazine's March 7th edition, available on newsstands February 27.

"We're pleased to once again be ranked first," says Edward J. Zore, president and chief executive officer, "and it's especially gratifying that these rankings are determined by our peers, who are among the most well-respected companies in the world -- and perhaps our toughest audience. They demonstrate a high regard for what we do, what we stand for, and how we run our business. We appreciate that level of respect; we accept it with humility; and, above all, we never take it for granted."

Northwestern Mutual received an overall score of 7.42, which is derived from eight key attributes used to calculate a company's overall 'corporate reputation' score. Northwestern Mutual was voted first in the key attributes of: quality of management, quality of products and services, long-term investment value, financial soundness, employee talent, social responsibility, and use of corporate assets.

There are a total of 5 "Most Admired" companies ranked in the life/health insurance category. In addition to Northwestern Mutual, the other life/health insurance companies ranked in the FORTUNE survey are AFLAC, Massachusetts Mutual Life, MetLife, New York Life and TIAA-CREF.

Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual is one of four Wisconsin-based companies in FORTUNE'S survey to top their respective industries. Other Wisconsin companies ranking first in their industry are Manpower, Johnson Controls and WPS Resources.

Started in 1983, FORTUNE'S list of America's Most Admired Companies is an annual report card on corporate reputations graded by more than 10,000 business executives and analysts from the nearly 600 largest companies in some 60 industries who rate others in their industry on eight key attributes.

The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual), the nation's largest direct provider of individual life insurance, according to statistics compiled from A. M. Best data, has always received the best possible insurance financial strength ratings from Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings, A. M. Best and Moody's. For 23 years, a FORTUNE magazine survey has named Northwestern Mutual "Most Admired" in its industry. The company has also been recognized as one of the "50 Best Companies to Sell For," by Selling Power magazine (2005).

The company, its subsidiaries and affiliates are also providers of annuities, mutual funds, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance and employee benefit services to the group employee and executive markets. These products and services are distributed through the representatives of the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. Among Northwestern Mutual's affiliated companies are those that comprise the Russell Investment Group, which provides investment management and advisory services; Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS), a wholly-owned company of Northwestern Mutual, broker- dealer and member NASD and SIPC; and Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, a wholly-owned company of Northwestern Mutual, limited purpose federal savings bank and a registered investment adviser which provides financial planning, investment management and trust services. A subsidiary, Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company, offers long-term care insurance. Further information on Northwestern Mutual can be found at: http://www.nmfn.com/ .

SOURCE: Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company

CONTACT: Jean Towell of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company,
+1-800-323-7033, or mediarelations@northwesternmutual.com

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