Northwestern Mutual

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Northwestern Mutual
Private (Mutual)
Industry Financial Services
Founded 1857
Headquarters Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Key people
John Schlifske, chairman and CEO, and Greg Oberland, president
Products Insurance and investments
Revenue Increase$27 billion USD (2014)
Increase$679 million USD (2014)
Number of employees
5,500 (2015)
Slogan "You and Northwestern Mutual - Stronger Together"

The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company is a U.S. 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, trust and private client services, estate planning and business planning. Its products include life, disability income, and long-term care insurance; annuities; investments; and investment advisory products and services.[1]


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 its sales, and an expansion into new markets. By 1865, it was operating throughout the Midwest and had entered the market along the Eastern Seaboard. 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 policyowners. It again paid dividends in 1867 and 1870, and has done so annually since 1872.[2]

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 Policyowners’ Examining Committee have unrestricted access to evaluate Northwestern Mutual’s operations, management and strategic plans independently.[citation needed]

In 1969, the company began offering disability income 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. During this same period Northwestern Mutual also moved into investment management. In 2000, the company changed its name to reflect this broadening of its product offerings to just Northwestern Mutual.[3]

In 2015, Northwestern Mutual began construction of Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons.[4][5]

On March 25th 2015, Northwestern Mutual bought financial planning company LearnVest for more than $250 million.[6]

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