In the mid 1980's Bear Stearns released an analytical report. Its conclusion was the book value of NWLI was not showing its true value. Reason: Some private investments were carried at cost and not at market value.
Since these investments were in private companies there was no mark to market to value them against so, these investments were carried on the books of nwli at cost and according to what I see, they are still being carried on the books at mid 1980 value.
At that time Bear Stearns suggested the book value might be as much as $75 per share higher then the stated book value. Bear Stearns catogorized these as hidden assets. 30 years later it still appears the case.
If so what is the true value of an NWLI share?
With normal appreciation and inflation my guess what was a hidden value of $75 in the mid 80's , is now worth between $150 to $225 higher per share in hidden value in 2014.
leaving the stated book value the same as stated, but when these presumed hidden values are added NWLI's intrinsic value rises to between 545 and 620 a share.
This of course does not mean we will ever see any of it as the moody family still controls everything we minority shareholders are allowed to see.
The statutory reports listing all investments in full detail are on their web site. I don't see anything unusual that would account for that (but it is 50 pages, so perhaps I missed something). It really just looks like standard bonds and mortgages.
I suspect Bear Sterns was talking about the way they used amortized cost instead of market value for their investments resulting in assets and book value being understated.
To tell you the truth I do not remember the entire report but when the report came out it too had a long list of securities. But it also had an estimate on the value of assets that came from the
estate of the present mr moody seniors mother. It was here in the report most of the discrepency was located. It mentioned companies at that time. Sorry can't be more helpful but since your close to the company maybe you can ask some pregnant questions but as usual you will not get an answer unless you force the issue by asking it at the annual meeting.