Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual is an American financial services mutual organization based in Milwaukee. The financial security company provides consultation on wealth and asset income protection, education planning, retirement planning, investment advisory services, financial planning trust and private client services, estate planning and business planning. Its products include life insurance, permanent life insurance, disability income, and long-term care insurance; annuities; investments; and investment advisory products and services.[3] Northwestern Mutual ranked No. 111 in the 2019 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue[4] and is currently ranked No. 102 by total revenue and is in the top 50 by assets held.[5] The firm distributes a portion of its earnings to eligible policyholders as annual dividends.[6]

The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
TypePrivate. Mutual
IndustryFinancial services
HeadquartersMilwaukee, Wisconsin
Key people
John Schlifske, Chairman, President and CEO
ProductsInsurance and investments
RevenueIncrease$29.855 billion USD (2019)[1]
Increase$1.268 billion USD (2019)[1]
Number of employees
6,000+ (2020)[2]


Northwestern Mutual was founded as the Mutual Life Insurance Company of the State of Wisconsin on March 2, 1857. Originally located in Janesville, Wisconsin, the fledgeling company relocated to Milwaukee in 1859. Shortly after, the company experienced its first two death claims, when an excursion train traveling from Janesville to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin derailed, killing 14 people, two of whom were policy owners.[citation needed] With losses amounting to $3,500 and having funds of only $2,000, company President Samuel Daggett and Treasurer Charles Nash personally borrowed the needed funds to pay the claims immediately.

In 1864, the company paid its first dividends to policy owners.[7]  It again paid dividends in 1867 and 1870, and has done so annually since 1872.[8]

By 1865, it was operating throughout the Midwest and had entered the East coast, and the board of trustees changed the company’s name to The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.[9][10]

For the first half of the 1900s, Northwestern Mutual focused on life insurance. In 1969, the company began offering disability insurance, and by the late 1970s a series of retirement annuities were available. In the 1990s, the company introduced long-term care insurance, and in 2000, the company changed its name to Northwestern Mutual.[11]

Following the accident, the company saw a rapid increase in its sales and an expansion into new markets. By 1865, it was operating throughout the Midwest and had entered the market along the East coast.[citation needed] To reflect this increased presence, the board of trustees changed the company's name to The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. In 1864, the company paid its first dividends to policy owners. It again paid dividends in 1867 and 1870, and has done so annually since 1872.[12]

Throughout the early years of the 20th century, Northwestern Mutual focused on life insurance. At the same time, the company worked to increase its accountability. In 1907, company leaders invited policy owners who were not trustees to probe into finances for accountability. This unique tradition has continued to the present day; members of the Policy owners’ Examining Committee have unrestricted access to evaluate Northwestern Mutual's operations, management and strategic plans independently.[13]

In 1969, the company began offering disability insurance. Less than a decade later, a series of retirement annuities were introduced for the employee benefits market. In the 1990s, the company saw further growth with the introduction of its long-term care insurance. In 2000, the company changed its name to reflect this broadening of its product offerings to just Northwestern Mutual.[14]

In 2001 the company continued to expand its product and service offerings by launching a wholly owned subsidiary known today as Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company (NMWMC), a federal savings bank. Through NMWMC, the company offers a range of financial planning products and services including investment management, fee-based financial planning, business retirement plans, and trust and private client services.[3]

In 2015 Northwestern Mutual began construction of Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons; it opened in 2017.[15][16][17][18]

On March 25, 2015, Northwestern Mutual bought financial planning company LearnVest for over $250 million.[19]

In 2018, Northwestern Mutual reduced underwriting time and introduced an online digital platform for clients.[20]

Northwestern Mutual used to serve as the presenting sponsor of the Rose Bowl Game, an NCAA Division I college football bowl game played annually on New Year's Day.[21]

As of 2021, the company had $308.8 billion in assets, $31.1 billion in revenues, and $2 trillion worth of active life insurance protection and the company worked with more than 4.75 million clients. They managed $200 billion of investments owned by its clients and held or managed through its wealth management and investment services businesses.[22][23][24][25] In June 2020, Northwestern Mutual also reported a $1.6 million pledge to All-In Milwaukee to finance the latest Talent of the Future initiative over the next four years, through its Foundation and in collaboration with the Diversity and Inclusion department.[26]

Northwestern Mutual has registered the .northwesternmutual top-level domain,[27] which is currently the longest TLD.


The company’s services and products are offered through several subsidiaries:

  • Mason Street Advisors is an SEC-registered investment advisor for Northwestern Mutual Series Fund variable annuity and variable life products.
  • Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company offers Northwestern Mutual's long-term care insurance.
  • Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company manages Northwestern Mutual's investments in public and private debt, private equity and real estate.
  • Northwestern Mutual Investment Services is the company's broker-dealer, which is also a registered investment advisor and member FINRA and SIPC.
  • Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company provides financial planning, investment advisory and trust services, and is a federal savings bank.[28]

Financial ratingsEdit

Northwestern Mutual has the highest financial strength ratings currently awarded to U.S. life insurers by all of the major rating agencies.[29][30][31][32]

Investment and innovationEdit

Since launching in 2017, Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, Northwestern Mutual’s venture capital arm, has invested more than $50 million in 18 tech startups.  [33]

In 2019, the company partnered with Accenture, Advocate Aurora Health, Johnson Controls, Kohl's and Rockwell Automation to form the MKE Tech Hub Coalition, an effort focused on attracting and retaining tech talent in the Milwaukee region.[34]


Northwestern Mutual regularly publishes research examining U.S. adults’ attitudes and behaviors toward money, financial decision-making and caregiving.[35]

Awards and honorsEdit

Northwestern Mutual was ranked #368 among America's Best Employers 2021 by Forbes.[36]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Annual report". Northwestern Mutual.
  2. ^ "Why Northwestern Mutual?" (PDF).
  3. ^ a b "Northwestern Mutual Fact Sheet for 2016". Northwestern Mutual. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  4. ^ "Northwestern Mutual". Fortune. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  5. ^ "Fortune 500 2020 Ranking".
  6. ^ Smith, Ryan. "Northwestern Mutual expects record dividends for policyholders". Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  7. ^ "Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Review". 14 June 2011. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  8. ^ Retrieved 2020-07-18. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "History of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – FundingUniverse". Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  10. ^ "Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company Collection". Milwaukee County Historical Society. 2016-08-30. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  11. ^ "The Northwestern Mutual Historical Timeline". Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  12. ^ Dill, Molly (October 28, 2015). "Northwestern Mutual Again to Pay Record Dividend". BizTimes. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  13. ^ Burnell, Susan. "The Mutual Advantage: How Northwestern Mutual Stays Strong and Relevant" (PDF). Forbes. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-10-08. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  14. ^ "Northwestern Mutual Historical Timeline". Northwestern Mutual. Archived from the original on 2009-11-24. Retrieved 2009-11-10.
  15. ^ Sadovi, Maura Webber (September 24, 2013). "Milwaukee Office Tower to Get Silicon Implant". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  16. ^ "Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons Preparing for 27-Hour Concrete Foundation Pour" (Press release). Northwestern Mutual. March 23, 2015.
  17. ^ Mintz, Hillary (August 21, 2017). "Wisconsin's second-tallest building opens". WISN-TV News. Retrieved 2018-02-14.
  18. ^ Northwestern Mutual Tower named Project of the Year in Milwaukee Business Journal Real Estate Awards Mark Kass, Milwaukee Business Journal, April 12, 2018
  19. ^ Kosoff, Maya (May 25, 2015). "LearnVest, one of New York's fastest-growing startups, just got acquired by Northwestern Mutual for more than $250 million". Business Insider.
  20. ^ Gores, Paul. "New planning tool is key part of Northwestern Mutual's digital strategy". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  21. ^ Myerberg, Paul (May 13, 2014). "Northwestern Mutual to sponsor Rose Bowl". USA Today. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  22. ^ Weiland, Andrew (2021-02-19). "Northwestern Mutual tops $2 trillion in life insurance for policyowners".
  23. ^ Hauer, Sarah. "Northwestern Mutual posts 'remarkable year' in 2020, with record revenue, surplus and assets". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  24. ^ "Northwestern Mutual Announces 'Record' 2020 Financial Results". InsuranceNewsNet. 2021-02-18. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  25. ^ "Northwestern Mutual Delivers Record Results; Company is Exceptionally Strong and Growing". Newsroom | Northwestern Mutual. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  26. ^ "Northwestern Mutual commits $1.6 million to All-In Milwaukee to strengthen academic opportunities for underrepresented youth". Cision PR Newswire. 25 June 2020. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  27. ^ "IANA — .northwesternmutual Domain Delegation Data". Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  28. ^ "Northwestern Mutual Subsidiaries | Northwestern Mutual". Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  29. ^ Smith, Ryan. "Northwestern Mutual top in financial strength – AM Best". Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  30. ^ Smith, Ryan. "Northwestern Mutual earns top marks from Fitch". Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  31. ^ "Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company Credit Rating - Moody's". Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  32. ^ "S&P Ratings".
  33. ^ Hauer, Sarah. "Northwestern Mutual dedicates $20 million in venture funding for female-founded startups". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  34. ^ "MKE Tech Hub Coalition". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  35. ^ "More Young Adults To Seek Out Financial Advisors Post-Pandemic". Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  36. ^ "America's Best Large Employers 2021". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-03-15.