MILWAUKEE, May 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Northwestern Mutual has once again received the highest possible financial strength ratings with a stable outlook from global rating agencies AM Best (A++) and Fitch Ratings (AAA).
“Our unsurpassed financial strength gives our clients confidence that their company is well positioned to meet all of its commitments and continue to thrive for years to come,” said John Schlifske, chairman, president, and chief executive officer. “These agency ratings – the first for us since the start of the crisis – reaffirm our exceptional financial strength and stable outlook, even in today’s challenging environment.”
The ratings are the result of a comprehensive analysis – including extreme-case stress testing – with the agencies pointing to a range of factors behind Northwestern Mutual’s industry-leading financial strength, including the company’s very favorable business profile, very strong operating performance, high quality of capital and strong career distribution system.
“In 2019, we broke multiple financial records, including total revenue and assets,” said Todd Jones, vice president and controller. “Even more significant was what we did with them. We announced the company’s highest ever dividend payout while maintaining a record surplus level. So, though we certainly didn’t predict the pandemic or its economic fallout, we were exceptionally well prepared for it. That’s why we always make the combination of product value and financial strength a top priority.”
With the economic impact of coronavirus, some of the usual contributing factors took on added relevance. Both agencies called attention to Northwestern Mutual’s substantially larger block of whole life insurance compared to other insurers and noted its high creditworthiness and low-risk profile among life insurance products. And, AM Best rated the company’s enterprise risk management (ERM) program very strong, with “a robust commitment to strong ERM practices.”
Reports also credited key competitive advantages
- Exclusive agency force: “Contributing to Northwestern Mutual’s very favorable business profile is the group’s exclusive agency force.” AM Best also recognized the company’s recruitment program for the consistent flow of younger talent joining the company advisor ranks.
- Brand recognition: The company’s business profile benefits from strong brand recognition, with national reach in the affluent market.
- Low expenses: Fitch cited the company’s low expense structure relative to peers.
Industry-leading financial strength ratings
With these latest affirmations, Northwestern Mutual continues to have the highest financial strength ratings awarded to any U.S. life insurer by all four of the major rating agencies: AM Best Company, A++ (highest), April 2020; Fitch Ratings, AAA (highest), May 2020; Moody’s Investors Service, Aaa (highest), September 2019; and S&P Global Ratings, AA+ (second highest), December 2019. Third-party ratings are subject to change.
Ratings are for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company.