The frontier state of Wisconsin was only nine years old when the company opened its doors. Fewer than three years later, its leader faced a crisis when Wisconsinâ€™s first catastrophic train accident took the lives of two policyowners. Together their claims totaled $3,500, but the little company had only $2,000 on hand.
Without hesitation, President Samuel Daggett and his fellow trustees waived the usual 90-day settlement period, personally borrowed the needed funds, and paid the claims immediately.
Northwestern Mutualâ€™s tradition of keeping its promises was born.
Even during the dark days of the Great Depression, â€œthere was never a timeâ€¦that the Northwestern could not have met every demand that was made upon it with business promptness, in full, and without the sacrifice of a dollar of its securities,â€ said Michael Cleary, company president, 1932-1947.
During the tragic events of September 11, 2001, 157 Northwestern Mutual policyowners lost their lives. Not since the Titanic sank in 1912 have so many policyownersâ€™ lives been lost in a single event. A team of senior claim specialists, accompanied by CEO Ed Zore, flew to New York as soon as air travel resumed. In the home office, colleagues canceled vacations and worked the weekend to process $125 million in claims. Most were paid within five days after we received the claim.
While technology, transportation, demographics, regulations, and the speed of business â€” indeed the speed of life â€” have changed and accelerated since 1857, two things remain constant. People want to provide financial security for their loved ones. Financial strength is the cornerstone of any company designed to help them do that.
Over the years, Northwestern Mutual has continually demonstrated its commitment to doing the right thing for those who place their trust in the company. We remain true to a governing philosophy that puts mutuality and fairness first.
We are a 152-year-old mutual company serving the insurance and investment needs of more than three million clients. During our long history, we have protected our clients and paid life insurance dividends every year since 1872. In fact, while not guaranteed, we have paid more in total individual life insurance dividends to policyowners than any other company in the industry for the past 12 years.
We are the nationâ€™s largest direct provider of individual life insurance â€” ranking 110 in the FORTUNE 500, with $157 billion in assets. When you’re looking for help in managing your financial risk and achieving financial security, we are a strong company.
Northwestern Mutual helps people achieve financial security. And in the process we put the needs of our clients first. As a mutual company, youâ€™ll find our actions reflect a commitment to doing the right thing.
Our financial strength and consistency have backed our promise to be there for clients when their financial security is tested. Learn more about Northwestern Mutualâ€™s strong financial strength.
Good corporate governance means policyownersâ€™ interests are paramount. Our company is operated so it remains financially strong and able to pay the benefits promised to our policyowners.
Doing What’s Best for Customers Since 1857
Founded in 1857, our company has lived through the Civil War, the Crash of 1929, the Great Depression, two world wars, and numerous recessions. Our experience is extensive. We are well-positioned to help you manage financial risk and achieve financial security in today’s complex world.
In addition to our long experience, we would like to acquaint you with other factors that benefit you when you work with us:
- Our company distinctions.
- What our mutuality means to you.
- The story of the origin of our ethic of doing the right thing that is very much alive today.