MILWAUKEE, WI, December 18, 2012 – Northwestern Mutual today announced that Moody’s Investors Service has reaffirmed the company’s Aaa insurance financial strength rating – the highest possible rating in the industry.

Northwestern Mutual continues to hold the highest financial strength ratings awarded to any life insurer by all four of the major credit rating agencies: A.M. Best Company, A++ (highest) April 2012; Fitch Ratings, AAA (highest), June 2012; Moody’s Investors Service Aaa (highest), December 2012; and Standard & Poor’s AA+ (second highest), June 2012.

 

In its announcement, Moody’s said Northwestern Mutual’s Aaa IFS rating reflects its excellent insurance franchise, highly productive and cost efficient career agency force, and excellent capitalization and liquidity.

 

“It is the dominant leader in sales of participating traditional fixed life insurance such as whole life insurance, a product whose features are highly supportive of insurer creditworthiness,” said Neil Strauss, Moody’s senior credit officer.

 

Impact of U.S. economy, debt and low interest rates

 

While reaffirming Northwestern Mutual’s Aaa rating, Moody’s changed the company’s rating outlook from stable to negative. In doing so, Moody’s cited concerns about both the difficult environment for the U.S. life insurance industry as a whole and the U.S. government’s ongoing fiscal and economic struggles.

 

“While we are not immune to the challenges of the low interest rate environment or the economic uncertainty created by the struggles in Washington, we are well positioned to withstand these challenges and press our competitive advantages,” said Chris Kelly, Northwestern Mutual vice president and controller.

 

“Our surplus base remains very strong at nearly $20 billion, and nothing has changed about our conservative financial management philosophy or the resiliency of our business model. We will pay more than $5 billion in policyowner dividends in 2013 and we remain an industry leader in financial strength,” said Kelly.  

 

The other two remaining insurers rated Aaa by Moody’s – New York Life and Teachers Insurance & Annuity Assoc. – also saw their financial strength rating outlook changed to negative. 

 

No one with a “more durable rating profile”

 

“It’s important for us to keep in mind that, relative to the marketplace, there is still no one in the life insurance industry with better financial strength or a more durable rating profile than Northwestern Mutual,” said Kelly.

 

He added that Moody’s continued Aaa rating reflects in large part its appreciation for the unique degree of financial flexibility that will help Northwestern Mutual keep its promises to policyowners and their loved ones.

 

About Northwestern Mutual

The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual) – among the "World's Most Admired" life insurance companies in 2012 according to FORTUNE® magazine – has helped clients achieve financial security for more than 155 years. As a mutual company with $1.2 trillion of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual has no shareholders. The company focuses solely and directly on its clients and seeks to deliver consistent and dependable value to them 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.