Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual is a mutual insurer that has been in operation since 1857. Northwestern Mutual offers products and services in the areas of insurance and investments. Specifically, the company offers products in the areas of life insurance, disability insurance, annuities, long-term care, mutual funds, financial planning, estate planning, trust services and other investment advisory services. The company has exceptional financial strength that has been consistent throughout its history. It is one of the only companies in any industry to consistently receive top financial ratings from the major ratings agencies.
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Products Offered

General Information
TypeInsurance Company
Contact Information
Address720 E Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI

Information & Articles about Northwestern Mutual

Good question.

With respect to "direct," I am assuming that you are referring to directly from the insurance company with no agent or financial advisor involved.

There are relatively little direct distribution in the annuity business when compared with other lines of insurance.

The universe is narrowed further when throwing-in the A++ AM Best rating.

Let's start with listing some companies that fall under the strong financial rating:

I think it would make sense to inquire with the following companies regarding direct distribution:

  • USAA Life
  • New York Life 

You can also take a look at the Vanguard annuity platform for what might be some lower cost purchase options.

Hope this helps.


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The best interests of financial services consumers are much better aligned with a mutual insurance company than a stock insurance company.

Mutual insurance companies are owned by policyholders. Owners of an insurance contract issued by a mutual company are both customers and owners of the insurance company.

Stock-based insurance companies are owned by shareholders, so their focus is divided between customers and shareholders.

Mutual insurance companies are a form of cooperative where individuals voluntarily associate to form an organization that serves the mutual benefit of its members, and where economic surplus or profit is distributed to customer/owners in the form of dividends.

The financial benefit of choosing to be a customer of a mutual insurer is very real.

For example, Northwestern Mutual--one of the best known mutual life insurance companies--notes that it expected to pay almost $4.9 billion in dividends to its policyholders in 2011.

Mutual insurance companies also have strong incentives to make decisions that are in the long-term interests of their customers rather than respond to short-term capital market and shareholder pressures.

Consider, for example, the developing market for longevity insurance. Sixty percent of the companies currently offering retail longevity annuities are mutual insurers. 

With interest rates at historic lows, the longevity annuity market is hardly attractive from a near-term profitability perspective. However, the need for these products and the value they present to consumers is very real.

It is largely the mutual insurers who have committed to longevity insurance product development--presumably with the belief that the value for the customer is already there and the value for the organization will follow over the longer-term.

Mutual insurance companies are able to “play the long game.” In other words, mutuals are able to make management decisions that play-out over decades rather than quarters.

This commitment to the long game is reflected in the stability of many of the better known mutual life insurance companies. Financial stability is part of the picture as certain mutual life insurance companies consistently receive the highest financial ratings.

The longevity of mutuals is also part of the stability theme. For example, New York Life, Northwestern Mutual and MassMutual have each been in business for over 150 years.

Lower expenses may also be a benefit of choosing to do business with a mutual insurance company. Again, mutuals do not have the same profit maximization incentives as their stock-based counterparts, and this can be reflected in lower overall product expenses.

Annuities involve very long-term financial commitments. Financial strength, operating stability and expense structure should be high on the list of considerations for any potential annuity buyer.


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The U.S. longevity insurance market has been developing for almost a decade, and yet there are still only a handful of insurance companies providing retail longevity annuities.

This is somewhat surprising given demographics, longevity trends, capital market conditions and recent regulatory guidance that should provide a boost to longevity annuities.

That said, current environment interest rate environment is challenging for providers of fixed annuities--particularly those companies that need to respond to the shorter-term demands of shareholders.

MetLife was an early leader in the market for longevity insurance with a product for the defined contribution market. The focus here, though, is the retail market. In other words, the focus is on products that are provided directly to individuals (retail offerings) rather than longevity annuities that are offered through 401(k) plans.

The following is a list (in alphabetical order) of the companies that currently provide retail longevity insurance. We will attempt to keep this list current and comprehensive over time, and we welcome input from readers regarding products not on this list that are either available or in development.

1) MassMutual

MassMutual just came to market with its longevity annuity called RetireEase Choice deferred income annuity.

2) MetLife

Again, MetLife was a leader with a longevity insurance offering for the 401(k) market almost a decade ago.

MetLife’s current retail offering is the Longevity Income Guarantee

3) New York Life 

New York Life has had quite a bit of success with its longevity annuity. Initial sales exceeded expectations and totaled almost $250 million in the first six months.

New York Life’s longevity annuity is called the Guaranteed Future Income Annuity

New York Life also released a variable annuity with lifetime income features that is called the Income Plus Variable Annuity.

4) Nortwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual recently came to market with their longevity annuity.

Northwester Mutual’s longevity annuity is the Select Portfolio Deferred Income Annuity

5) Symetra

Symetra’s longevity annuity offering is the Freedom Income Annuity

6) The Hartford

The Hartford recently sold its annuity operations to Forethought Fianncial Group.

In the past, The Hartford had a couple of longevity insurance products. The products that were available were The Hartford Income Security and The Hartford Income Annuity.

7) Guardian Life

Guardian Life's longevity insurance product is the SecureFuture Income Annuity.


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