Northwestern Mutual is starting 2023 with a bang.
The Milwaukee-based insurance and financial planning firm on Wednesday reported another record year. Earlier this month it unveiled plans for a $500 million renovation of an 18-story office tower on Mason Street that will mirror its larger building and campus on Wisconsin Avenue and allow the company to move about 2,000 employees from Franklin to downtown Milwaukee.
Although Northwestern Mutual is inseparably connected to Milwaukee, its roots lay some 60 miles away in Janesville, where John C. Johnson, a retired New York insurance agent launched the Mutual Life Insurance Company of the State of Wisconsin in 1857. Seeking a bigger market, he moved the company to Milwaukee in 1859. A decade later the renamed Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. was the nation's ninth largest insurance company and on the growth trajectory that landed it in Fortune 100 list of the nation's largest companies.
As Northwestern Mutual enters its 166th year, here's a by-the-numbers look at the company and its record-setting year.
$35 billion in revenue in 2022
Northwestern Mutual posted a second record setting year, topping its 2021 revenue by about 3%. The total includes more than $22 billion in premium payments and almost $12 billion in investment income. The company sold more than $1 billion in permanent life insurance policies in 2022.
Policyholders get a $6.8 billion payback
The word mutual in the company's name refers to its collective ownership by Northwestern Mutual's policy holders. In a mutual insurance company, the policy holders select the company's management and are the sole beneficiaries of the annual dividend.
Dividends can be used to increase the cash value or death benefit of a life insurance policy, to reduce premium payments or taken as a cash distribution.
The company has paid annual dividends for more than 150 consecutive years.
$35 billion in surplus is a reflection of strength, stability
The company's surplus is the funds it holds above and beyond the $242 billion it has in reserves to honor its insurance commitments. Company officials say the reserves are an assurance for policyholders of the company's strength and reliability. It also contributes to the company's AAA rating from Moody's.
Northwestern Mutual supports more than 17,000 jobs nationwide
The majority of the company's approximately 8,367 employees work in the Milwaukee area. That includes 4,480 workers in downtown Milwaukee and about 2,000 who work out of the Franklin office. Northwestern Mutual also has a corporate office in New York City and field offices across the country.
The company also has a nationwide network of independent financial advisor firms that employ nearly 10,000 financial professionals.
More than 5 million clients
The company topped the 5 million mark across its five product lines: life insurance, disability insurance, long-term care insurance, annuities and wealth management.
$558 billion in assets under management
That eye-popping number includes the company's investments and separate account assets as well as $227 billion managed for Northwestern Mutual's retail investment clients.
$2.2 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force
For comparison, that's equal to about one-third of the 2023 federal budget or the equivalent of all of the U.S. currency in circulation.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Breaking down Northwestern Mutual's record setting, $35 billion year