2022 Annual Report
Message from CEO John E. Schlifske
The policyowners' company … always
Recent years have produced the best business results in Northwestern Mutual's 166-year history. I'm pleased to share that in 2022 this trend of extraordinary strength continued.
Through historic economic and geopolitical headwinds, we achieved remarkable milestones. We again paid the industry's largest total dividend while keeping costs low, adding new capabilities, and investing in our future. What's more, we're one of the only companies growing its exclusive network of advisors*—the largest, most productive and most diverse it's ever been.
Doing what's right for policyowners was the pledge that started this great company. This same promise drives and defines our vision today. Achieving financial security now requires a comprehensive plan for growing and protecting your wealth, guided by a trusted advisor, powered by the best products, and supported by a leading digital experience. Providing this one-stop solution is our focus—because it's what you, our clients, truly need.
These policyowner-first values have guided us through our long history, and they are as relevant in today's rapidly changing world as they were when Northwestern Mutual was founded.
Our company genuinely begins and ends with you. We deeply appreciate your business and will keep working hard to earn your trust every day. Thank you.
John E. Schlifske
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Innovating for the long term
Northwestern Mutual continues to elevate the experience it provides its advisors and clients. An enhanced planning experience, digital application capability, greater advisor support, and expansion of our product solutions are all major projects currently underway.
- We're recognized in the industry for sophisticated, dynamic financial planning with PX, our powerful, exclusive planning platform. In 2022, PX received a FinTech Breakthrough Award.
- We're making it easier to buy life insurance. Clients can now obtain eligible whole and term life products through Northwestern Mutual's end-to-end, fully digital application, approval, and delivery process.
- We're responding to clients' evolving needs for life insurance and long-term care. In 2022, we introduced a new "hybrid" product1 that combines features from each, giving clients the flexibility to prepare for both life insurance and long-term care needs with a single solution.
of our clients continue to maintain their life insurance coverage with us year to year—indicating exceptional client satisfaction.
Don't wait for that elusive "someday"—no one is better positioned to help you plan for right now than Northwestern Mutual.
Unmatched financial strength
Superior financial strength means you can count on us to be here whenever you need us. We yet again maintained the highest available financial strength ratings awarded to any U.S. life insurer with a stable outlook by all of the four major rating agencies.2 This makes Northwestern Mutual one of only five companies across all industries to be so recognized by Moody's.3
Aaa Moody's Investors Service rating
HighestMoody's Investors ServiceNovember 2023
A++ A.M. Best Company rating
HighestA.M. Best CompanyAugust 2023
AAA Fitch Ratings rating
HighestFitch RatingsAugust 2023
AA+ Moody's Investors Service rating
Second HighestS&P Global RatingsMay 2023
2022 financial results: Superior strength, superior outcomes
In 2022, Northwestern Mutual defied the headwinds. Between its industry-leading life insurance offerings, highly productive field force of advisors, and the continued growth of its wealth management business, Northwestern Mutual's results underscore that financial strength goes hand in hand with superior company and client outcomes. Your company's performance proves we're built to do what's right for policyowners not just in good years, but every year.
Record surplus to stay strong
Surplus is the amount of capital we hold over and above our policyowner benefit reserves to cover the unexpected. When challenges arise, a strong surplus level helps ensure we'll be here for the long term, paying policyowner benefits and preserving product value. It also gives us the flexibility to proactively manage the company with a long-term view and take advantage of potentially higher-yielding investments while maintaining the industry's highest financial strength ratings.
Even with the largest equity market declines since 2008, the company continues to be financially strong, with total surplus of more than $37 billion in 2022.4
The industry's largest dividend payout5
Every year, we aim to pay the highest possible dividends while maintaining unquestionable long-term financial strength, in a manner guided by mutuality. Supported by an exceptional surplus position and excellent operating fundamentals, we expect to pay $6.8 billion in dividends in 2023—a new company record.
We will once again lead the industry in total dividends paid to life insurance and disability insurance policyowners by a wide margin.
America's largest life insurer
Northwestern Mutual is the largest direct provider of individual life insurance in the United States.6
2022 was a record year for new permanent life insurance sales, at nearly $1.1 billion,7 and the second-highest year for total life insurance premium, at nearly $1.5 billion. Total life insurance protection in force now stands at an impressive $2.2 trillion. Additionally, 97% of policyowners maintained their life insurance coverage last year—industry-leading persistency. This growth and persistency benefit our current policyowners by lowering per-policy costs and allowing us to focus on long-term investments that can produce stronger returns.
Rising investments leader
Northwestern Mutual is a top 10 independent broker-dealer by revenue and among the fastest growing in the U.S.8 However, in 2022, steep market declines reduced total client investment assets to $227 billion, a 7% decrease from 2021's record. Nevertheless, the company's retail investments business attracted its second-highest annual net cash flows—nearly $22 billion—proof people are turning to their Northwestern Mutual advisors for comprehensive planning with insurance and investments.
Taking the long view in all we do
Doing the right thing is fundamental to our values, our clients' financial security, and Northwestern Mutual's long-term success. That same commitment drives our approach to sustainability and environmental, social, and governance choices. We have a clear vision for tomorrow that we're building today. Our programs are reducing our energy usage; expanding financial access in underserved communities; advancing sound, ethical governance; and more. Learn about this important work in our 2022 sustainability report.
10 years of funding life-saving research
Since launching its Childhood Cancer Program in 2012, Northwestern Mutual's funding to fight childhood cancer has almost exclusively supported research through Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) in honor of Alex Scott's legacy. Ten years later, we know that research is saving lives.
$45M+ donated through the Childhood Cancer Program
donated through the Childhood Cancer Program
565K+ hours of pediatric cancer research funded
hours of pediatric cancer research funded
Access your online account
It's never been easier to stay on top of your finances, all in one place. View policy and investment details, add beneficiaries, make a payment, know what you're spending (and where), and so much more. Access your account today—via the web or our mobile app.