2. Of all the reasons policyowners and clients valueNorthwestern Mutual as their partner on the pathto financial security, one is paramount. It’s oftencalled the company’s “mutual advantage.”
3. Northwestern Mutual did not invent “mutuality.”Over time, however, and continuing today, our companyhas become what many point to as a pre-eminentexample of the power inherent in the mutual form ofcorporate governance.Indeed, Northwestern Mutual offers dramatic evidence that a company governed by mutualvalues can be, in its field, best in the nation. Northwestern Mutual is the World’s MostAdmired life insurance company in FORTUNE® magazine’s 2011 annual survey. Further,during the period that FORTUNE® conducted its survey of America’s Most Admiredcompanies, we were the only company to lead an industry for 25 consecutive years from1983-2008.1The mutual structure of Northwestern Mutual allows the company to act differently thanmost publicly traded stock companies, which typically must split their focus betweencustomers and shareholders.In the typical stock company, profits go to As a mutual, Northwestern Mutualshareholders. In contrast, Northwestern has no shareholders. The companyMutual manages the company in the best focuses solely and directly oninterests of its policyowners. After setting its customers.aside a safe margin for reserves and surpluseach year, the company returns gains fromoperations, which would otherwise be “profits,” to its participating policyowners in the formof dividends. In other words, our mutual structure brings into alignment the interests of bothpolicyowners and the company. For policyowners, that’s an enormous “mutual advantage.”There are others. As a mutual, the company is free to employ a long-term investmentapproach when it comes to the general account assets that back our insurance products,rather than focus on meeting the short-sighted expectations of quarterly earnings reports.2As a strategy, long-term investing has served us well in all economic environments. Respectedexperts praise the company’s mutual structure and values as underpinning a “very strongcompetitive position” within the U.S. individual life insurance market3—one in whichNorthwestern Mutual focuses on helping its policyowners and clients achieve financial security.As practiced by Northwestern Mutual, mutuality extends well beyond these basic mutualadvantages. The benefits of our mutuality are manifested in four key values:• Doing what’s right for policyowners and other clients• Building long-term relationships to meet client needs• Building and preserving financial strength• ffering world-class products and expert guidance that serve changing needs over a lifetime OWe invite you to explore these values on the following pages, to see how our brand ofmutuality sets us apart. We believe you will find it to be … a mutual advantage.1 F ORTUNE® magazine survey, “World’s Most Admired Companies,” March 3, 2011, and FORTUNE® magazine survey, “America’s Most Admired Companies,” March 17, 20082 T he vast majority of managed assets back the company’s surplus and most of the life, disability and long-term care insurance liabilities. The investment strategies described in this booklet apply to the investment of those assets. A portion of managed assets backs the remaining liabilities (including fixed-rate annuity liabilities) and have different investment exposures than described in the pages that follow.3 Standard Poor’s, June 29, 2011
4. More than a Century and a Half of Doing the Right Thing for Policyowners Our steadfast dedication to doing the right all policyowners fairly and equitably. thing for policyowners is as old as the company This guiding principle extends to all areas: itself. Since our beginnings in 1857, generations pricing, underwriting, claims, dividend of company leaders have tested the merits of payouts, and more. corporate decisions against only one standard: “Is what we’re doing in the best long-term Equitable treatment at work interest of our policyowners?” As our life and disability insurance products are It’s an uncompromising focus on the customer, enhanced or improved, our current policyowners one that embraces a strong belief in fairness— are invited to share in the new benefits at no equitable treatment for all. charge, whenever possible and practical. The same is true of policies offered by Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company. Equitable treatment for all Elsewhere in the life insurance industry, Throughout the years, the company has inequitable treatment of policyowners offered several life insurance enhancements has become commonplace. To attract new to existing policyowners—because doing so customers, many companies have offered serves the best interests of our policyowners. special benefits or attractive pricing unlike One program alone offered life insurance what is available to their current policyowners. policyowners $4.5 billion of additional2 | insurance at no increase in premium.n Such an approach is not the practice at Northwestern Mutual, which seeks to treat “… It (is) … pre-eminently the policyowner’s “Our beliefs are not the easy way— company.” but we think they are the right way. We do – Executive Committee of the not propose to change our philosophy of Board of Trustees, 1888 mutuality and fairness to all policyowner- members. This company is different.” – Francis Ferguson, President and CEO, Northwestern Mutual, 1973 “The company is a mutual organization in the strictest and best sense … This is a company operated by the policyholders and for the best “Northwestern Mutual executives use a simple interests of the policyholders.” yardstick to measure every business venture, – Examination of the Wisconsin every business decision, every contract: Insurance Department, 1905 Is it in the best interest of the 2.8 million policyowners …?” – Best’s Review, 1999
5. | 3“We believe mutuality provides Northwestern “We believe mutuality is at the center of Mutual with great competitive advantage Northwestern Mutual’s success. We found and is one of the factors that has enabled a near obsessive focus on the long term to the company to remain financially strong deliver the ‘promise’ to all policyowners.” and to keep decisions focused on longer- – Report of the Policyowners’ Examining Committee, 2004 term implications (rather than on reported quarterly earnings).” – Report of the Policyowners’ “… Northwestern Mutual has been able to stay Examining Committee, 2001 the course, true to its founding principles and with policyowners’ interest as its guiding light.”“A commitment to policyowners and the mutual – Report of the Policyowners’ Examining Committee, 2006 structure are key aspects of Northwestern Mutual’s strategy. These principles underlie the company’s emphasis on efficiency, “Simply put, most mutual companies have more personalized ‘high-touch’ service and and better quality capital to absorb unexpected competitive dividends to policyowners.” shocks—a vital distinguishing factor in today’s – Standard Poor’s, 2011 challenging economy.” – Revenge of the Mutuals, Special Comment Moody’s Investors Service, August 2009
6. The Benefits of Taking the Long-term View Steady, stable, superior value is commonly ranked as a leader in customer satisfaction. Again this year, we lead the Policyowners receive steady, stable, and industry among U.S. life insurers.4 excellent value, in part because of the long- term investment strategy we employ when So satisfied are policyowners that they not it comes to the general account assets that only keep their policies, they return for more. back our insurance products. Long-term In a typical year, existing customers account investments typically outperform short-term for more than half of our life insurance sales.5 investments. In addition, focusing on long- term strategies gives us flexibility in selecting The comment we so often hear from investments and asset classes while minimizing clients who have watched the cash value short-term risk and volatility. of their policies grow over the years: It’s an approach that has worked. It’s the “I wish I had bought more back then.” reason that we pay more than twice the life insurance dividends of our closest competitor. The same mutual principles that protect our Our 2012 total dividend payout of nearly financial strength and stability also provide $5 billion includes: policyowner value. We have paid outstanding dividends year after year, decade after decade.6 • 4.5 billion in dividends on participating $ In fact, we have paid dividends every year permanent life insurance policies; since 1872, no matter the economic climate.4 | • 252 million in dividends on individual $ disability income insurance policies; We work hard to secure customer loyalty: through our quality products, excellent value, • 12.8 million in dividends to long-term $ consistent financial strength, and prudent yet care policyowners through our subsidiary, productive investment practices—as well as Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance through enduring customer relationships. Company. Lifetime customer relationships Customer loyalty that leads the industry It’s often said that we have what many others in Our mutual business practices and the value our industry hope to create—lasting relationships they deliver create extraordinary loyalty built on confidence and trust. among our policyowners. Northwestern Mutual These relationships begin with our well-trained “For our part, we have never lost sight network of financial representatives and the of our need for financial strength— financial specialists who help them meet each and never will. We will continue to client’s individual needs. build on a strength that is manifested in our industry-leading dividend We have long been committed to maintaining and building our field force payment and our exceptionally of financial representatives who make healthy surplus.” – ohn Schlifske, Chairman CEO, J this profession their lifelong career. Northwestern Mutual, 2010 4 A merican Customer Satisfaction Index, February 2011. Produced by the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, the American Society for Quality, and the international consulting firm CFI Group. 5 Source: Northwestern Mutual 6 N either the existence nor the amount of the dividend is guaranteed on any policy in any given policy year. For a fuller explanation of dividends, see back cover.
7. Rooted in the Northwestern Mutual “Thank you for the fine job you are doingculture, our representatives— during these difficult times. You have my 100% support.”• evelop lifetime clients, not one-time D -- South Dakota policyowner, 2010 customers.• dentify each client’s long-term needs to help I people build sound plans aimed at ensuring “Keep up the good work. [You’re] what other financial security. insurance companies wish they were. ” -- Florida policyowner, 2010Only Northwestern Mutual financialrepresentatives can sell our products, and theserepresentatives share our values. “The Policyowners’ Examining CommitteeA long history of listening to customers is an extraordinary thing. I don’t know of any company, insurance or not, that opensFor more than a century, we have up its entire shop, in intimate detail,listened to our policyowners. We still do. to its customers. The ultimate winnersOur Policyowners’ Examining Committeeis unique in our industry. are the policyowners.” – George Dickerman, Policyowner, Former Trustee and former member,Since 1907, our Board of Trustees hasannually named a group of three to fivepolicyowners to produce an independent Policyowners’ Examining Committee; Chairman (Retired), Spalding Sports Worldwide | 5and unrestricted evaluation of companyoperations, management, and strategic plans. “Over the years, we have always thoughtWe publish the committee’s report each year in terms of the individual rather than thein our Annual Report. Read the entire reportat www.northwesternmutual.com. mass and have consciously built toward a personal relationship between theOver the years, these reports have kept us policyholder, the agent, and the company.”sensitive to customer needs and prompted – Edmund Fitzgerald, President and CEO,important improvements in company Northwestern Mutual, 1958structure and operations. n
8. Page Headings Maintaining Financial Strength Our mutuality sets us apart financially. We are built to withstand the good times and bad. On a basic level, of course, financial strength is an obligation. It arises from our commitment to policyowners, from the personal security they entrust with us. Company founders pioneered a culture of scrupulous responsibility for policyowner funds—to keep long-term financial promises. Very few companies have the highest financial strength ratings awarded to any life insurer by all four of the major credit rating agencies, let alone during the most trying economic times. Our approach to mutuality, including our long-term investment strategy and sharp focus on operating fundamentals, helps us maintain the highest industry financial strength ratings. Financial Strength Ratings A.M. Best A++ (Superior) Fitch Ratings AAA (Exceptionally Strong)6 | Moody’s Aaa (Exceptional) Standard Poor’s AA+ (Very Strong) A.M. Best Company, A++ (highest), 2/2011; Moody’s Investors’ Service Aaa (highest), 6/2011; Standard Poor’s AA+ (second highest), 8/2011; and Fitch Ratings, AAA (highest), 8/2011. Third-party ratings are subject to change. Ratings are for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company. n
9. Page Headings “Northwestern Mutual’s Aaa insurance financial strength rating is based upon the company’s exceptional franchise in individual participating life insurance, which is demonstrated by its excellent persistency, mortality, and expense management, as well as by its solid capitalization.” – Moody’s Investors Service, 2010 “Northwestern [Mutual] maintains conservative financial management, as its very strong liquidity and very strong capitalization demonstrate.” – Standard Poor’s, 2011 “If you find a client with an existing Northwestern Mutual Life policy, simply insist on retention of that policy. Northwestern Mutual is, by quite a margin, | 7 the best. So it was in 1955 when I went into the business. So it will likely be long after I’m dead.” – James Hunt, Consumer Federation of America website (www.consumerfed.org), September 2001 “Everything we do must be done wisely. We won’t invest unless we can do it prudently. We won’t grow unless it’s by our values. And we may not follow the industry if we see opportunity differently. We remain financially strong because we make good decisions. And because we’re financially strong, it gives us the power to avoid poor decisions.” – Ed Zore, Chairman and CEO, Northwestern Mutual, 2009
10. How the Building Blocks of Mutuality Work We are able to offer policyowners superior some of the best mortality results in the industry.7 value because, as a mutual company, we For example, when we pay a death claim, on diligently monitor our business practices and average the policy has been in force for about results in four vital areas: 40 years. Because our policyowners tend to live • Mortality longer, our overall costs of claims is lower than the industry. This is one factor that enables us to • Expenses have more to pay in the form of dividends. • Customer Loyalty The chart below represents an industry • Portfolio Management study that compares the mortality rate of Northwestern Mutual and 20 of its major These building blocks lay the groundwork for a competitors over a period of years. It includes mutual company and create advantages for our all ages and the best classes of smokers customers. As you’ll see in the four sections that and non-smokers, the vast majority of our follow, we excel in these areas—and frequently policyowners. The chart shows that our surpass the industry averages by a wide margin. policyowners tend to live longer—producing Superior mortality results a mortality experience about 35 percent better than the inter-company average. Selective underwriting of our typically high- quality clientele (which has more access to health This is only one building block that contributes care) helps drive our superior mortality results. to the long-term value we offer policyowners.8 | The outcome is that Northwestern Mutual has Society of Actuaries | Intercompany Mortality Study All Ages, Select Period. Intercompany Average Northwestern Mutual SOA Intercompany Mortality Study All Ages, Select Period, Excludes 9/11 160 160 Mortality Ratio (Using 1975-80 Basic Table) 140 140 Mortality Ratio (using the 1975-80 Basic Table) 120 120 100 100 80 80 g 60 60 40 40 20 20 0 0 69- 71- 73- 75- 77- 79- 81- 83- 85- 87- 89- 91- 93- 95- 97- 99- 01- 03- 05- 69-74 71-76 73-78 75-80 77-82 79-84 81-86 83-88 85-90 87-92 89-94 91-96 93-98 95-00 97-02 99-04 01-06 03-08 05-10 74 76 78 80 82 84Intercompany Average 92 94 Northwestern Mutual00 02 04 06 08 10 86 88 90 96 98 SOURCE: Society of Actuaries Intercompany Mortality Studies For Internal or Financial Representative use only, Not for use with the general public (5-year Periods) Source: Society of Actuaries Intercompany Mortality Studies Prepared and calculated by The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI Intercompany Average data is currently available only through 2007. 7 Society of Actuaries: 2005-2007 Individual Life Experience Report – Intercompany Mortality Study.
11. “Thanks Northwestern Mutual for beingKeeping expenses low who you are—dependable, sound,Taken together, our careful approach to trustworthy. In these times of economicmanaging expenses and our favorable uncertainty, it is nice to have at least oneclaims experience account for more than place where I am sure my principal is safe.”one-half of the total dividends to be paid – Alabama policyowner, 2010during 2011. “The company has a long-held reputationOur vigilance in keeping costs down has for safety, stability, and performancebeen a hallmark of ours for decades and during difficult times ...”gives us a strong competitive advantage – Business Management magazine, 2008today. It’s another important factor that “Our character means 108 years ofcontributes to the value we offer clients. adherence to principles and practices thatThe chart below makes this case by have produced outstanding results. Ourcomparing the expenses on our principal record of quality performance and integrityproduct line with the industry average. gives this company unique character.”We consistently spend about one-third less on – Donald Slichter, President and CEO,expenses than other companies. These savings Northwestern Mutual, 1965can contribute to dividend and surplus,providing more value to policyowners. | 9Ordinary Life Expenses as Percent of Premium* Company** 2006 2008 2010 Northwestern Mutual 18% 17% 18% Ameriprise Financial Group 31 25 20 John Hancock/Manulife (1) 27 26 21 Guardian Life 24 23 22 AXA/Equitable (2) 27 28 23 State Farm Life Group 26 26 23 Lincoln National Corporation 29 28 24 Prudential of America Group 25 24 24 New York Life Group 29 27 25 Principal Life Group 26 30 26 Metropolitan Life and Affiliated Companies 26 (3) 28 28 Genworth Financial Group 33 27 29 Mass Mutual Financial Group 27 24 29 AEGON USA, Inc. 21 29 31 Industry Average 28 28 26 * Direct premiums measured at 100%, excluding dividends to additions** Family data(1) Primary Companies – John Hancock, John Hancock USA(2) Primary Companies – Equitable, MONY(3) Primary Companies – Metropolitan Life, New England, General AmericanSource: SNL FinancialPrepared and calculated by The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI
12. “As it happens, Northwestern Mutual, Customer satisfaction—our customers keep the master of loyalty, is also famous for what they buy its careful cost management … yet all of Satisfied policyowners are loyal—they keep what they Northwestern Mutual’s savings would not have purchased. In the insurance world, this is called sustain superior production if they weren’t “persistency.” reinvested in the delivery of superior value to customers and agents, earning their We lead the industry in persistency, and that’s important loyalty in the process.” to you. – Frederick Reichheld, “The Loyalty Effect,” 1996 • ersistency is perhaps the truest measure of customer P satisfaction—people voting with their dollars, so to “A commandment that flows from our credo speak. is a policy of aggressive fairness. We treat • ersistency acts as an indicator that the products “fit.” P all of our policyowners with the same They were properly bought and sold in the first place. thorough respect.” – Donald J. Schuenke, President and CEO, Persistency benefits the company in two ways. First, Northwestern Mutual, 1988 incoming premiums create a steady cash flow that adds to our investment portfolio. Second, retaining clients “Our company has embraced mutuality for gives us a larger base over which to spread expenses. 143 years. But ironically, today, as more Both can contribute to the dividend payout, resulting in and more companies abandon the mutual greater value for our policyowners. form, the advantage of mutuality is finally In the insurance industry, the “lapse ratio” is the inverse of getting its rightful attention. We like being10 | a mutual company.” persistency. Policies lapse when people stop paying their premiums. The latest available data show Northwestern – James D. Ericson, President and CEO, Mutual’s annual life insurance lapse ratio is about half Northwestern Mutual, 2000 the industry average. Persistency and lapse ratios are two sides of the same coin. The Power of Our Portfolio How we manage our general account investment portfolio is the final building block of superior value. The following investment principles guide us to perform well both in good times and in bad. • aintain a balance between high-quality fixed M • anage risk across the entire investment M income investments and higher-risk assets. portfolio and preserve capital to assure • iversify among and within asset classes and D financial strength. specific investments. • eek opportunity in investment activity. S • Participate in all major asset classes and • anage portfolios to maximize total returns. M market sectors. The vast majority of managed assets back the company’s surplus and most of the life, disability, and long-term care insurance liabilities. The investment strategies described in this booklet apply to the investment of those assets. A portion of managed assets back the remaining liabilities (including fixed-rate annuity liabilities) and have different investment exposures than described in the pages that follow. This strategy has enabled us to maximize total returns with reduced volatility. To learn more about how we invest to create additional value for policyowners (pie chart at right), visit northwesternmutual.com | About Us | Investment Information | The Power of the Portfolio.8 n
13. Lapse Ratio by Amount, Combining New Business In-Force Business9 Company* 2006 2008 2010 Northwestern Mutual 3.5 3.9 4.0 Metropolitan Life Affiliated Companies(1) 5.3 4.6 4.2 Genworth 5.1 4.9 5.0 Ameriprise 5.0 6.3 5.2 Guardian Life 5.6 6.1 5.6 MassMutual Financial Group 4.7 5.2 5.6 Prudential of America Group 5.1 5.9 5.6 Principal Life Insurance Company 5.0 6.1 5.9 AXA/Equitable (2) 6.9 6.5 6.2 Lincoln National Corporation 6.0 5.8 6.3 John Hancock/ManuLife (3) 5.8 6.7 6.4 New York Life Group 5.5 5.9 6.4 State Farm Group 6.4 7.4 6.8 AEGON USA, Inc. 7.1 8.5 7.1 Industry Average 6.3 7.6 6.8 * Family data (1) Primary Companies – Metropolitan Life, New England, General American (2) Primary Companies – Equitable, MONY (3) Primary Companies – John Hancock, John Hancock USA Source: SNL Financial | 11 Prepared and calculated by The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WIPortfolio Composition Portfolio Composition Portfolio CompositionFixed Income: 88% 2010 | Total Managed Assets: $141.7 Billion (Statement Value) December 31,Equities: 12% Fixed Income: 88% Public Bonds12% Preferred Stock 55% Equities: and 4% 1% 5% Private Bonds BondsPreferred Stock 16% Public and and Preferred Stock 55% 5% 4% 1% 5% Mortgage Loans 14% Preferred Stock 16% Private Bonds and 5% Mortgage Loans 14% Private Equities Subsidiaries 5% 14% 14% 55% 55% Private Equities Subsidiaries 5% 5% Public Common StockStock 5% Public Common Real Estate Equities 4% 4% Real Estate Equities 16% 16% Money Market Market 1% Money 1% Source: Northwestern Mutual Investment Report 8 A vailable upon request, Northwestern Mutual’s brochure “The Power of the Portfolio”contains a fuller explanation of the investment portfolio. The vast majority of managed assets back the company’s surplus and most of the life, disability, and long-term care insurance liabilities. The investment strategies described in this booklet apply to the investment of those assets. A portion of managed assets backs the remaining liabilities (including fixed-rate annuity liabilities) and has different investment exposures than described in the pages that follow. 9 A low lapse ratio means a company has a high retention rate, referred to as persistency. Northwestern Mutual views this as an indicator of policyowner satisfaction with the performance of their policies.
14. Meeting Changing Needs—For Life Northwestern Mutual’s world-class insurance Our financial representatives products result from a vision and passion These financial products are presented to to be “simply the best” in quality and value. customers through Northwestern Mutual’s We have always aimed to: network of financial representatives, who • Provide superior products develop enduring relationships with clients • Avoid fads and gimmicks by providing expert guidance for a lifetime of financial security. • pgrade our policies in both the scope U of coverage and ability to provide better With access to a network of specialists, financial benefits at lower costs representatives take a holistic approach to identifying client needs, including: • Asset and income protection “This insurance and financial firm has zero • Education funding new-economy glamour, and that’s just fine. It’s only gaining market share, boosting • Business needs analysis sales, and successfully retaining its top- • Investment services performing sales agents.” • Employee and executive benefits – Sales and Marketing Management, #1 Sales Force: Co-Winner, July 2001 • Retirement solutions • Estate analysis12 | In recent decades, policyowners have brought to us a broader range of financial security And our “mutual advantage” thrives. As we continue to do what’s right for policyowners, needs. Northwestern Mutual has answered we will draw upon the benefits of the culture with more complementary products and and values that have defined our company services. While keeping our focus on world- over time: build long-term relationships to class insurance, we also offer a careful meet client needs, build and preserve financial selection of related financial products. strength, and provide expert guidance. n
15. “ e are one of a few companies who pay W dividends on term life, long-term care, and disability insurance. It’s another example of how we live by a set of mutual values unlike anyone else in the industry.” – John Schlifske, Chairman Chief Executive Officer, Northwestern Mutual, 2011
16. Page Headings “ orthwestern Mutual is committed to retaining its mutuality, N which Moody’s believes can be a competitive advantage in today’s market. While stock companies have greater access to capital, there are significant advantages of remaining a mutual company. These advantages include extremely competitive returns to participating policyowners in the form of dividends, and a greater tolerance of short-term earnings volatility, thereby permitting the company to take a longer- term planning horizon and benefit from more favorable long- term equity and alternative market returns.” – Moody’s Investors Service, October 2011 6 Dividends for Northwestern Mutual policies are distributions of the company’s surplus. They arise when premiums plus investment income are more than enough to cover company operating expenses (including taxes), claim costs, guaranteed increases in policy cash values, and additions to surplus. Dividends are paid annually to policyowners in proportion to company earnings on their policies. However, decisions with respect to the determination and allocation of divisible surplus are at the discretion and sound business judgment of the company’s board of trustees. There is no guaranteed specific method or formula for the determination and allocation of divisible surplus. Accordingly, the company’s approach is subject to change. Also, there is no guarantee that any dividend will be paid on an individual policy in any given year. Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI, and its subsidiaries. Securities are offered through Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, 1-866-664-7737, a wholly owned company of Northwestern Mutual, broker-dealer and member FINRA and SIPC. Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI, (long-term care insurance) is a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual. Charts contained in this brochure were prepared and calculated by The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI. The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company • Milwaukee, WI www.northwesternmutual.com19-0185 (1002) (REV 1211)