Northwestern Mutual announced 2020 results today, reporting new records in seven key measures: revenue, total surplus, total company assets, client investment assets, total dividend payout, new clients and new financial professionals.
In addition, this month the company passed two major milestones: $2 trillion of protection for its life insurance policyowners and $200 billion in client investment assets.
Despite the external headwinds of 2020, the company said in a news release, the insurer ended the year with financial results that surpassed the record levels reached just a year prior,:
• Revenue of $31.1 billion
• Total surplus of $32.3 billion
• Total assets of $308.8 billion
"The events of 2020 emphasized the need for people to have both a financial plan and an expert to guide them with a long-term view," said John Schlifske, chairman, president, and chief executive officer. "We achieved these exceptional results by remaining true to our steadfast commitment to our policyowners, and through our focus on helping people become financially secure."
Additionally, Northwestern Mutual continues to earn the highest possible financial strength ratings awarded to U.S. life insurers with a stable outlook from all four major ratings agencies.1
Company Realizes Historic Growth
• Life insurance milestones: Demand for Northwestern Mutual's life insurance rose in 2020. The company surpassed $1 billion in new life insurance premium sales, which increased eight percent over 2019. And policyowner persistency, a key measure of customer satisfaction, reached the highest recorded level in over 30 years, as 97% of clients maintained their life insurance coverage. This month the company also passed the major milestone of $2 trillion total life insurance in-force.
• Growing client assets: The retail investments business saw record net cash flows, as people chose to move their money to Northwestern Mutual. Client investment assets grew 21% last year and crossed the $200 billion mark earlier this month. Northwestern Mutual continues to be one of the top five independent brokers-dealers by revenue – and among the fastest growing – in the United States.
• Record total surplus: In 2020, total surplus grew $1.9 billion to a record $32.3 billion.3 A robust surplus gives the company the flexibility to respond to unexpected future events, staying strong while upholding the promise to pay claims to policyowners whenever needed.
• Continued growth of general account investments: Northwestern Mutual's superior financial strength in 2020 allowed the company to seize market opportunities throughout the volatile year, resulting in excellent investment returns that contributed to the company's record $308.8 billion in total assets.
• Industry-leading dividend4: As previously announced, in 2021 policyowners are expected to once again receive the largest total dividend payout in history, an estimated $6.2 billion.
"Thanks to the truly extraordinary work of our financial professionals and their teams, clients are acting on plans that put them on the path to financial security," said Schlifske. "These record business results are a reflection of the way we run our company – with an unwavering commitment to our policyowners. The nearly 200,000 new clients and 3,100 new financial professionals who joined Northwestern Mutual amid the pandemic and economic volatility are proof positive that our approach is resonating."