||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (April 2014)|
|Headquarters||Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA|
|Key people||John Schlifske, CEO|
|Products||Insurance: Life & Health|
|Revenue||$23 billion USD (2010)|
Northwestern Mutual is a US financial services mutual organization based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Its products include life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, annuities, mutual funds, and employee benefit services. Northwestern Mutual also provides consultation on asset and income protection, personal needs, investments, financial planning, estate planning, trusts, business needs, retirement, and employee benefits.
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 fledgling 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. 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.
Following the accident, the company saw a rapid increase in the company’s sales, and an expansion into new markets. By 1865, the company was operating throughout the Midwest and had begun entering the market along the Eastern Seaboard. At this time, the board of trustees changed its name to The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. In 1864, the company paid its first dividends to policy owners. The company again paid dividends in 1867 and 1870, and has done so annually since 1872.
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. As early as 1871, Northwestern Mutual had taken steps in this area by forming an Examining Committee of the Board of Trustees to probe the company’s inner workings. In 1907, company leaders took the committee one step further by inviting policy owners who were not trustees to do the probing. This unique tradition has continued to the present day; members of the Policyowners’ Examining Committee have unrestricted access to evaluate Northwestern Mutual’s operations, management and strategic plans independently.
In 1969, the company began offering disability income insurance, its first non-life insurance offering. 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. During this same period Northwestern Mutual moved into investment management with the purchase of the Frank Russell Company. In 2001, the company changed its name to reflect this broadening of its product offerings to just Northwestern Mutual.
The company maintains unsurpassed ratings for insurance financial strength from all four major rating agencies (Standard & Poors lowered ratings for a number of insurance companies, including Northwestern Mutual, to AA+ in August 2011. This was in response to "the United States government [being removed for the first time ever] from its (S&P's) list of risk-free borrowers"): A.M. Best, Standard & Poor's, Moody's, and Fitch Ratings.
The company is the nation's largest direct provider of individual life insurance in the United States, with more than $2 trillion in force. It is also the industry leader in total individual life insurance dividends paid to policy owners.
On September 25, 2013, Northwestern Mutual unveiled its design of a new office tower that would replace their existing 16 story east tower. The building, dubbed "The Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons", will stand 550 feet tall and have 32 stories, making it the second tallest building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2011)|
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- Sadovi, Maura. "Milwaukee Office Tower to Get Silicon Implant". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 26, 2013.