MILWAUKEE, September 14, 2010 – According to a study released today by Northwestern Mutual, seven out of ten people (69%) who own permanent life insurance would recommend it to friends and family, and more than half of Americans (53%) believe it is the best choice for life-long insurance protection. Despite that, only a small percentage of Americans seem to have a firm grasp of the full range of benefits that permanent life insurance offers. 
 
“The key attributes that people look for when choosing financial products are growth, flexibility, and guarantees,” said Dave Simbro, Northwestern Mutual vice president, life products. “The presumption among most people appears to be that you can’t get all of those benefits in one product. The reality is you can. It’s ironic that while permanent life insurance delivers across the board on each of those key attributes, people focus solely on guaranteed protection and don’t see beyond that. Our goal is to change that perception.”

For additional perspective about the research from Dave Simbro, click here to listen to audio commentary.
 
The study released today, called “Financial Matters,” also found that:
 
        Only one quarter of Americans know that the cash value of permanent life insurance policies is guaranteed to increase in value (27%);
 
        Only one-third of Americans know that permanent life insurance policy holders have access to their cash value (32%); 
 
        Only one in four people (27%) identify permanent life insurance as a product that can pay dividends, and;
 
        Half (50%) of Americans are unaware that a permanent life insurance policy lasts as long as the owner of the policy lives and is guaranteed to pay a benefit, presuming premiums are paid.
 
“Permanent life insurance offers much more than the obvious protection, however, those who don’t own the product haven’t taken the time to really dig deep into how it works,” said Simbro. “But there is also a lot of encouraging evidence that permanent life is resonating with Americans, and has particular relevance at a time when so many people are re-thinking what should drive their financial choices.”
 
In June, Northwestern Mutual’s Financial Realities: Changing Timeframes study showed that Americans have embraced a distinctly more conservative approach to their financial planning, priorities and product preferences. The study indicated that 75 percent of people with financial goals have widened the time horizons in which they aim to accomplish them. Additionally, nearly three out of four Americans favor financial strategies that are lower-risk, stable and steady versus those that carry higher risk in the pursuit of aggressive growth. When respondents were asked about how various assets have held their value over time, permanent life insurance emerged as the far and away leader in terms of satisfaction levels – registering 60% greater satisfaction than investments. 
 
In August, Northwestern Mutual announced that 2010 has been a landmark year for the company’s permanent life insurance sales. From January through July, the number of new policies purchased increased more than 23% over the same time period in 2009. In addition, Northwestern Mutual was up more than 14% for total insurance product sales compared to 2009.
 
Given the strong market demand and unique relevance of Northwestern’s permanent life insurance in the current environment, Northwestern Mutual has launched a new campaign called A Foundation For Life that highlights the flexibility, stability and consistency of their product. The campaign breaks from the traditional, lifestyle-driven creative that dominates the life insurance space, and Northwestern’s attributes are brought to life in two new TV spots and a Facebook “Life Stories” application.
 
About Northwestern Mutual
The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual) 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.
 
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