2017 Annual Report
Strength in Numbers
We're uncompromising about our financial strength.
You Count on us to keep our commitments.
Financial strength goes hand in hand with corporate responsibility. Above all, we are here to pay benefits when people need us most, regardless of economic conditions. That’s why in 2017 — and throughout our more than 160-year history — we’ve done what’s right and honored our promises.
Financial Strength — Unsurpassed again in 2017
Northwestern Mutual received the highest financial strength ratings awarded to any U.S. insurer.1
1Ratings are for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company, as of the most recent review and report by each rating agency. Ratings as of: 01/18 (Moody’s Investors Service), 04/17 (A. M. Best Company), 07/17 (Fitch Ratings), 06/17 (S&P Global Ratings). Ratings are subject to change.
Total Company Assets
Resources available to meet our current and future commitments.
2The vast majority of the company’s managed assets back most of its life, disability income and portfolio income annuity liabilities. For more information about our investments and investment strategies, please see Northwestern Mutual’s Annual Investment Report.
Funds set aside for the unexpected.
3Includes Asset Valuation Reserves.
In 2017, total assets and surplus each increased 6% over 2016. Our overall financial position remains strong, with a 2017 surplus ratio (total surplus over our insurance reserve liabilities) of 13%, a level that supports our unsurpassed financial strength ratings.
Investments (e.g., mutual funds) owned by our clients and managed through us.
Our distinctive insurance-and-investments planning approach has resulted in the rapid growth of our investment products and services business.4 Investment client assets grew by 25% in 2017, ending the year at more than $125 billion.
4Investment products and services offered through Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC and Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company.
Insurance in force represents the size of a life insurer’s portfolio of business.
Life insurance in force has grown steadily, including a 5% increase in 2017 over 2016.
Northwestern Mutual is #1 in sales of life insurance as of 30 September 2017 ... the Northwestern Mutual brand is extremely well respected in the industry."
— Moody's Investors Services report, January 2018
We Invest More than $225 Billion For
The Benefit of Policyowners Like You.
When we invest, our financial strength is a significant edge, allowing us to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. We’re able to buy and sell investments when the time is right. This results in greater long-term value for you.
5 Based on announced estimates. Actual payouts are not yet known.
NM is known as a lower-cost competitor in the life insurance industry. Among its mutual rated peers, the company had the lowest unit cost for the 2014−2016 period."
— Fitch Ratings report, 2017
Total benefits paid to policyowners or beneficiaries.
Insurance and annuity benefits paid to beneficiaries are among the largest expenditures of the company. Our exceptional financial strength supports our ability to deliver on these promises.
New sales and renewed business for insurance and annuity products.
Premium revenue is a significant source of our total revenue (which also includes investment income).
Message from the CEO
We recognize that people don’t think every day about the financial strength of our company. That’s why we always think about it."
— John E. Schlifske, Chairman and Chief Executive OfficerRead full message
Detailed Financial Results
Delve further into the results behind the company’s strong 2017 performance, including more on our surplus, dividends and investment assets by category.Read the detailed financial results
Please vote. It matters.
Submitting your proxy for the 2018 Board of Trustees election is a simple step you can take to help ensure your company continues to operate in your best interest.
Access your account online
Manage your Northwestern Mutual account, track spending, make payments and better connect with your financial advisor.