Northwestern Mutual Posts Dividends and Surplus Gains in 2011

A Great Lakes-based mutual insurer posted both dividends and surplus increases this past year.

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., Milwaukee, reported in its 2011 financial results, released today, an increase in the amount of dividends expected to be paid to its participating policyowners in 2012 to almost $5 billion, up more than $100 million; as well as an increase of more than $500 million in its surplus position.

The company's total surplus, a combination of surplus and asset valuation reserve, grew to $18.2 billion at year end 2011, a company record. “Surplus” represents an insurer’s capital position, a cushion for the unexpected that is held above and beyond the reserves it also holds to provide for future insurance benefits.

The company also recorded revenue of $23.6 billion, up 2% from the $23.1 billion recorded in 2010. Net income totaled $645 million, down 14% from the $756 million recorded in 2010.

Commenting on the results, Northwestern Mutual Chairman and Chief Executive John Schlifske described the company’s financial performance as “very good” in light of the “difficult economic environment.”

A summary of Northwestern’s 2011 financial results notes that, despite the earnings decline, the company expects to pay $5 billion this year to participating policyholders.

Among the highlights from the company's 2011 financial performance:

● Premium revenue, including both new and renewal premium, totaled $14.6 billion for 2011, an increase of 3% from the prior year.  

● Net investment income reached $8.4 billion for 2011, a 2% gain over 2010.  

● An increase in commissions and insurance operating expenses of 5% compared to the prior year.  

● Operating gain before dividends and taxes increased 1% to $5.7 billion for 2011. After dividends and taxes, net gain from operations was $675 million, down from $944 million one year earlier.  

In other financial news:

Manulife Financial Corporation, Toronto (NYSE: MFC), announced that it will release its fourth quarter and year-end 2011 financial results on the morning of Thursday, February 9, 2012, followed by a live webcast of the quarterly conference call with analysts beginning at 2:00 p.m. (ET).

Aflac Inc., Columbus, Ga. (NYSE: AFL),  announced today that it will release fourth quarter financial results after the market closes on January 31, 2012. In conjunction with the earnings release, the company will webcast a conference call scheduled for 9:00 a.m. (EST) on February 1, 2012 .

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