MILWAUKEE, Wis. (BUSINESS WIRE), May 05, 2011 - Northwestern Mutual, the “World’s Most Admired” life insurance company in 2011 according to FORTUNE® magazine, ranks No. 112 among the FORTUNE® 500, up three positions from last year.

“Consumers continue to move toward companies like Northwestern Mutual that have been strong and stable in all economic seasons, and our results certainly confirm that,” said John E. Schlifske, Northwestern Mutual chairman and chief executive officer. “Our desire is to be the best financial security company, not the biggest, and that ability to consistently deliver exceptional value to policyowners over the long-term is in-demand more than ever.”

The annual FORTUNE 500 list ranks all U.S. companies by year-end 2010 revenue. The full list will appear in FORTUNE, available on newsstands Monday, May 23.

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%1
  • Disability insurance premiums increased 5%
  • Long-term care premiums soared 32%
  • Sales of investment products and services rose 10%

For more, please see Northwestern Mutual’s 2010 Annual Report.

Northwestern Mutual ranks first in U.S. individual life insurance with 10% market share and serves nearly four million clients nationwide.2 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 history.3 Northwestern Mutual currently pays more in ordinary life insurance dividends than the next three highest-paying mutual insurance companies combined. Northwestern Mutual has paid life insurance dividends every year since 1872. Dividends are not guaranteed, are reviewed annually and are subject to change.

In addition, Northwestern Mutual has consistently maintained the best available insurance financial strength ratings from all four major rating agencies (A.M. Best (A++), Feb. 2011; Fitch Ratings (AAA), Jan. 2011; Moody’s Investors Service (Aaa), Mar. 2010; and Standard & Poor’s (AAA), Mar. 2010). Financial ratings are subject to change.

About Northwestern Mutual

The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual) – the “World’s Most Admired” life insurance company in 2011 according to FORTUNE® magazine – 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 seeks to share its gains with policyowners and deliver consistent and dependable value to clients 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 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.

2 Based on SNL financial 2010. Northwestern Mutual’s calculation of U.S. direct life insurance market share includes new premium sales, renewal premium and dividend additions in the United States only.