Northwestern Mutual to Recruit More Than 5,000 Agents in 2012

A Great Lakes-based insurer has unveiled an initiative to significantly expand its workforce of career life insurance agents.

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, says it plans to add more than 2,000 financial representatives and 3,000 financial representative interns to its sale force in 2012. The recruiting effort is the Northwestern’s largest in the mutual insurer’s 155-year history, the company says.

Northwestern adds the recruitment drive is “imperative for keeping pace with the demonstrated need for Northwestern Mutual’s tailored planning approach, and its asset protection, growth and savings solutions.”

In 2011, Northwestern Mutual says it recruited more than 2,200 financial representatives, representing a 55% increase over its results five years prior. The company says it expects that more than 50% of financial representatives recruited this year will be career changers.

In other company news:

Prudential Retirement, a unit Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J. (NYSE: PRU), announced that is offering J.P. Morgan SmartRetirement Target Date Strategies and Fidelity VIP (Variable Insurance Product) Freedom Funds in its line-up of target-date funds with a guaranteed lifetime income component.

Prudential says the target-date funds in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management and Fidelity Investment line-ups adjust their asset mix as investors’ approach their target retirement date. Ten years before the target date of the selected fund, the guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit (GMWB) is automatically activated, guaranteeing a minimum withdrawal amount for the participant’s entire life.

Liberty Life Insurance Company, Greenville, S.C., says it had changed its legal name to Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Company and will operate under the brand name Athene Annuity.

The move aligns the company more closely with its Bermuda-based corporate parent, Athene Holding Ltd., which acquired Liberty Life from Royal Bank of Canada in April 2011, the company says.

“We purchased Liberty to provide a platform for the growth of our fixed annuity businesses in the United States,” says James Belardi, CEO of Athene Holding. “Renaming the company underscores its strategic importance to our operations and strengthens the Athene brand.”

The Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa (NYSE: PFG), announced that Luca Maestri, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Xerox Corporation, joined The Principal’s Board of Directors effective Feb. 1, 2012.

Maestri is responsible for all finance, treasury, investor relations, risk management, mergers and acquisitions, tax and audit operations at Xerox. He joined Xerox as CFO in February 2011 after serving as CFO of Nokia Siemens Networks since 2008. Prior to Xerox, Maestri held senior executive finance positions with General Motors (GM) Corporation and worked at GM for 20 years.

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, has contributed more than $1.6 million in 2011 to Twin Cities-based nonprofit organizations focused primarily on financial literacy and senior services.  Company contributions were awarded through strategic relationships, a grant program, scholarships, and employee volunteer programs. 

Allianz Life says it gave grants totaling $275,000 to nonprofits that focused their efforts on financial literacy education or training and/or retirement. The company also awarded $275,000 in grants to organizations that strive to improve the lives of Twin Cities’ seniors by providing services that enhance seniors’ quality of life.

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