The Travelers Companies 10-K 2007
Documents found in this filing:
UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
x ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006
o TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13
For the transition period from to
Commission file number 001-10898
The St. Paul Travelers Companies, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
(Registrants telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer (as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act). Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes o No x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrants knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See definition of accelerated filer and large accelerated filer in Rule 12b-2 of the Act (Check one):
Large accelerated filer x Accelerated filer o Non-accelerated filer o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes o No x
As of June 30, 2006, the aggregate market value of the registrants voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates was $30,756,413,821.
As of February 15, 2007, 675,597,123 shares of the registrants common stock (without par value) were outstanding.
Portions of the Registrants Proxy Statement relating to the 2007 Annual Meeting of Shareholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this report.
The St. Paul Travelers Companies, Inc. (together with its consolidated subsidiaries, the Company) is a holding company principally engaged, through its subsidiaries, in providing a wide range of commercial and personal property and casualty insurance products and services to businesses, government units, associations and individuals. The Company, known as The St. Paul Companies, Inc. (SPC) prior to its merger with Travelers Property Casualty Corp. (TPC) in 2004, is incorporated as a general business corporation under the laws of the state of Minnesota and is one of the oldest insurance organizations in the United States, dating back to 1853. The principal executive offices of the Company are located at 385 Washington Street, St. Paul, Minnesota 55102, and the telephone number is (651) 310-7911. The term STA in this document refers to The St. Paul Travelers Companies, Inc., the parent holding company excluding subsidiaries.
On April 1, 2004, TPC merged with a subsidiary of SPC, as a result of which TPC became a wholly-owned subsidiary of SPC, and SPC changed its name to The St. Paul Travelers Companies, Inc. For accounting purposes, this transaction was accounted for as a reverse acquisition with TPC treated as the accounting acquirer. Accordingly, this transaction was accounted for as a purchase business combination, using TPCs historical financial information and applying fair value estimates to the acquired assets, liabilities and commitments of SPC as of April 1, 2004. Beginning on April 1, 2004, the results of operations and financial condition of SPC were consolidated with TPCs results of operations and financial condition. Accordingly, all financial information presented herein for the twelve months ended December 31, 2004 reflects the accounts of TPC for the three months ended March 31, 2004 and the consolidated accounts of SPC and TPC for the nine months ended December 31, 2004.
TPC is a Connecticut corporation that was formed in 1979 and, prior to its March 2002 initial public offering of class A common stock, was an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Citigroup Inc. (together with its consolidated subsidiaries, Citigroup). TPC was reorganized in connection with its IPO in March 2002. Pursuant to the reorganization, which was completed on March 19, 2002, TPCs consolidated financial statements were adjusted to exclude the accounts of certain formerly wholly-owned TPC subsidiaries, principally The Travelers Insurance Company and its subsidiaries (being the former U.S. life insurance operations of TPC), certain other wholly-owned non-insurance subsidiaries of TPC and substantially all of TPCs assets and certain liabilities not related to the property casualty insurance business.
STA intends to change its name to The Travelers Companies, Inc. and will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the new stock symbol TRV during the first quarter of 2007.
For a summary of the Companys revenues, operating income and total assets by reportable business segments, see note 2 of notes to the Companys consolidated financial statements.
The property and casualty insurance industry is highly competitive in the areas of price, service, product offerings, agent relationships and method of distribution, i.e. use of independent agents, exclusive agents and/or salaried employees. According to A.M. Best, there are approximately 975 property casualty organizations in the United States, comprising approximately 2,400 property and casualty companies. Of those organizations, the top 150 accounted for approximately 93% of the consolidated industrys total net written premiums in 2005. The Company competes with both foreign and domestic insurers. In addition, several property and casualty insurers writing commercial lines of business, including the Company, offer products for alternative forms of risk protection in addition to traditional insurance products. These products include large deductible programs and various forms of self-insurance that utilize captive insurance companies and risk retention groups. The Companys competitive position in the marketplace is based on many factors, including premiums charged; contract terms and conditions; products and services
offered; claim service; agent, broker and client relationships; ratings assigned by independent rating agencies; local presence; geographic scope of business; overall financial strength; qualifications of employees; and technology and information systems.
The following table shows the distribution of the Companys consolidated direct written premiums for the year ended December 31, 2006:
(1) No other single state accounted for 3.0% or more of the total direct written premiums written in 2006 by the Companys domestic operations.
In August 2006, the Company announced a realignment of two of its three reportable business segments. The former Commercial and Specialty segments were realigned into two new reportable segments: the Business Insurance segment and the Financial, Professional & International Insurance segment. The Personal segment was renamed Personal Insurance. The changes were designed to reflect the manner in which the Companys businesses are currently managed and represent an aggregation of products and services based on type of customer, how the business is marketed, and the manner in which risks are underwritten.
The following discussion of the Companys reportable business segments reflects the realigned segment reporting structure. Financial data for all prior periods presented was reclassified to be consistent with the 2006 presentation.
The Business Insurance segment offers a broad array of property and casualty insurance and insurance-related services to its clients primarily in the United States. Business Insurance is organized into the following six groups, which collectively comprise Business Insurance Core operations:
· Select Accounts serves small businesses for property and casualty products, including commercial multi-peril, property, general liability, commercial auto and workers compensation insurance.
· Commercial Accounts serves primarily mid-sized businesses for property and casualty products, including property, general liability, commercial multi-peril, commercial auto and workers compensation insurance. Certain units included in Commercial Accounts prior to the realignment
are now included in the Industry-Focused Underwriting, Target Risk Underwriting or Specialized Distribution groups.
· National Accounts comprises three business units. The largest provides casualty products and services to large companies, with particular emphasis on workers compensation, general liability and automobile liability. National Accounts also includes Discover Re, which provides property and casualty insurance products on an unbundled basis using third-party administrators for insureds who utilize programs such as collateralized deductibles, captive reinsurers and self-insurance. In addition, National Accounts includes the commercial residual market business, which primarily offers workers compensation products and services to the involuntary market.
· Industry-Focused Underwriting. The following units serve targeted industries with unique combinations of insurance coverage, risk management, claims handling and other services:
· Construction serves a broad range of construction businesses, offering guaranteed cost products for small to mid-sized policyholders and loss sensitive programs for larger accounts. For the larger accounts, the customer and the Company work together in actively managing and controlling exposure and claims and they share risk through policy features such as deductibles or retrospective rating. Products offered include workers compensation, general liability and commercial auto coverages, and other risk management solutions.
· Technology serves companies of all sizes involved in telecommunications, information technology, medical technology and electronics manufacturing, offering a well-balanced comprehensive portfolio of products and services. These products include property, commercial auto, general liability, workers compensation, umbrella, internet liability, technology errors and omissions coverages and global companion products.
· Public Sector Services markets insurance products and services to public entities including municipalities, counties, Indian Nation gaming and selected special government districts such as water and sewer utilities. The policies written by this unit typically cover property, commercial auto, general liability and errors and omissions exposures.
· Oil & Gas provides specialized property and liability products and services for customers involved in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas, including operators and drilling contractors, as well as various service and supply companies and manufacturers that support upstream operations. The policies written by this business group insure drilling rigs, natural gas facilities, and production and gathering platforms, and cover risks including physical damage, liability and business interruption.
· Agribusiness serves small to medium-sized agricultural businesses, including farms, ranches, wineries and related operations, offering property and liability coverages other than workers compensation.
· Target Risk Underwriting. The following units serve commercial businesses requiring specialized product underwriting, claims handling and risk management services:
· National Property serves large and mid-sized customers, including retailers, hospitals, colleges and universities, and owners of industrial parks, office buildings, apartments and amusement parks, covering losses on buildings, business assets and business interruption exposures.
· Inland Marine provides insurance for goods in transit and movable objects for customers such as jewelers, museums, contractors and the transportation industry. Builders risk insurance is also offered to customers during the construction, renovation or repair of buildings and other structures.
· Ocean Marine serves the marine transportation industry and related services, as well as other businesses involved in international trade. The Companys product offerings fall under six main coverage categories: marine liability, cargo, hull and machinery, protection and indemnity, pleasure craft, and marine property and liability.
· Excess Casualty serves small to mid-sized commercial businesses, offering mono-line umbrella and excess coverage where the Company does not write the primary casualty coverage, or where other business units within the Company prefer to outsource the underwriting of umbrella and excess business based on the expertise and/or limit capacity of Excess Casualty.
· Boiler & Machinery serves customers ranging from small commercial firms to Fortune 100 companies, offering comprehensive breakdown coverages for equipment, including property and business interruption coverages. Through the BoilerRe unit, Boiler & Machinery also serves other property casualty carriers that do not have in-house expertise with reinsurance, underwriting, engineering, claim handling and risk management services for this type of coverage.
· Global Accounts provides insurance to U.S. companies with foreign property and liability exposures (home-foreign), and foreign organizations with property and liability exposures located in the United States (reverse-flow), as part of a global program.
· Specialized Distribution. The following units market and underwrite their products to customers predominantly through licensed wholesale, general and program agents that manage customers uniqsue insurance requirements.
· Northland provides insurance coverage for the commercial transportation industry, and commercial liability and package policies for small, difficult to place specialty classes of commercial business on an admitted or excess and surplus lines basis.
· National Programs offers tailored property and casualty programs on an admitted basis for customers with common risk characteristics or coverage requirements. Programs available include those for entertainment, architects and engineers, equipment rental and golf services.
· Underwriting Facilities serves small commercial businesses, offering general liability, property and commercial auto physical damage coverages on an admitted or excess and surplus lines basis.
Business Insurance also includes the Special Liability Group (which manages the Companys asbestos and environmental liabilities); the assumed reinsurance, health care, and certain international and other runoff operations; policies written by the Companys Gulf operation (Gulf), which was placed into runoff during the second quarter of 2004; and the Companys Personal Catastrophe Risk operation, which was sold in November 2005. The Personal Catastrophe Risk operation had been included in the Specialty segment prior to the August 2006 segment realignment. These are collectively referred to as Business Insurance Other. The Personal Catastrophe Risk operation accounted for the majority of net written premiums in this category in 2005. In 2004, Gulf and the Personal Catastrophe Risk operation accounted for the majority of written premiums in this category.
The following table sets forth Business Insurance net written premiums by market and product line for the periods indicated. For a description of the product lines and markets referred to in the table, see Principal Markets and Methods of Distribution and Product Lines, respectively.
(1) The reporting of SPC products was conformed to the Companys product definitions beginning with policy renewals on and after January 1, 2005. Accordingly, the amounts reported by product line for 2004 are not comparable with the years 2005 and 2006.
The Business Insurance segment distributes its products through approximately 7,100 independent agencies and brokers located throughout the United States that are serviced by approximately 90 field offices and three customer service centers. In recent years, the Business Insurance segment has made significant investments in enhanced technology utilizing internet-based applications to provide real-time interface capabilities with independent agencies and brokers. Business Insurance builds relationships with well-established, independent insurance agencies and brokers. In selecting new independent agencies and brokers to distribute its products, Business Insurance considers each agencys or brokers profitability, financial stability, staff experience and strategic fit with its operating and marketing plans. Once an agency or broker is appointed, Business Insurance carefully monitors its performance.
Select Accounts is a leading provider of property casualty products to small businesses. It serves firms with generally fewer than 50 employees. Products offered by Select Accounts are guaranteed cost policies, including packaged products covering property and liability exposures. Products are sold through independent agents and brokers, who are often the same agents and brokers that sell the Companys Commercial Accounts and Personal Insurance products.
Select Accounts offers its independent agents a system for small businesses that helps them connect all aspects of sales and service through a comprehensive service platform. Components of the platform include agency automation capabilities and service centers that function as an extension of an agencys
customer service operations, both of which are highly utilized by agencies. Approximately 4,700 agencies have chosen to take advantage of Select Accounts service centers, which offer agencies a wide range of services, including coverage and billing inquiries, policy changes, the assistance of licensed service professionals and extended hours of operations.
Commercial Accounts sells a broad range of property and casualty insurance products through a large network of independent agents and brokers. Commercial Accounts primarily targets mid-sized businesses with 50 to 1,000 employees. The Company offers a full line of products to its Commercial Accounts customers with an emphasis on guaranteed cost programs. Each account is underwritten based on the unique risk characteristics, loss history and coverage needs of the account. The ability to underwrite at this detailed level allows Commercial Accounts to have a broad risk appetite and a diversified customer base.
National Accounts group is comprised of three business units. The largest unit sells a variety of casualty products and services to large companies. National Accounts clients generally select loss-sensitive products in connection with a large deductible or self-insured program and, to a lesser extent, a retrospectively rated or a guaranteed cost insurance policy. Through a network of field offices, the Companys underwriting specialists work closely with national and regional brokers to tailor insurance programs to meet clients needs. Workers compensation accounted for approximately 78% of sales to National Accounts customers during 2006, based on direct written premiums and fees. National Accounts generated $346 million of fee income in 2006, excluding commercial residual market business discussed below.
National Accounts includes the Companys Discover Re operation, which principally provides commercial auto liability, general liability, workers compensation and property coverages. It serves retail brokers and insureds who utilize programs such as collateralized deductibles, captive reinsurers and self-insurance.
In addition, National Accounts includes the Companys commercial residual market business. The Companys commercial residual market business sells claims and policy management services to workers compensation pools throughout the United States. The Company services approximately 36% of the total workers compensation assigned risk market. The Company is one of very few servicing carriers that operate nationally. Assigned risk plan contracts generated $182 million in fee income in 2006.
Many National Accounts customers require insurance-related services in addition to or in lieu of pure risk coverage, primarily for workers compensation and, to a lesser extent, general liability and commercial automobile exposures. These types of services include risk management services, such as claims administration, loss control and risk management information services, and are generally offered in connection with large deductible or self-insured programs. These services generate fee income rather than net written premiums.
Industry-Focused Underwriting markets a wide array of property and casualty products and services tailored to targeted industry segments. Unique marketing and underwriting groups are focused on individual industry segments of significant size and complexity that require unique underwriting, claim, risk management or other insurance-related products and services. The following Industry-Focused units, which are described in more detail on pages _-_ of this report, have been established: Construction, Technology, Public Sector Services, Oil & Gas, and Agribusiness.
Products are distributed primarily through the same agents and brokers servicing Select Accounts and Commercial Accounts, although there may be more business with agents that also specialize in servicing the needs of certain of these industries.
Target Risk Underwriting services a wide customer base with unique and specialized insurance products and services. These specialized units have expertise in meeting customers specialized property and casualty coverage requirements. These units include National Property, Inland Marine, Ocean Marine,
Excess Casualty, Boiler & Machinery, and Global Accounts, which are described in more detail on page _ of this report.
Products are distributed primarily through the same agents and brokers servicing Select Accounts and Commercial Accounts, as well as specialized agents and brokers with expertise in certain of these products.
Specialized Distribution distributes admitted and excess and surplus lines property and casualty products predominantly through selected wholesale agents, both on a brokerage and managing general underwriting basis, and through selected program agents. Brokers, general agents and program agents operate in certain markets that are not typically served by the Companys appointed retail agents, or they maintain certain affinity arrangements in specialized market segments. The wholesale excess and surplus lines market, which is characterized by the absence of rate and form regulation, allows for more flexibility to write certain classes of business. In working with wholesale or program agents on a brokerage basis, Specialized Distribution underwrites the business and sets the premium level. In working with wholesale or program agents on a managing general underwriting or program manager basis, the agents produce and underwrite business that conforms to underwriting guidelines that have been specifically designed for each facility or program.
Business Insurance Other includes the Special Liability Group (which manages the Companys asbestos and environmental liabilities); the assumed reinsurance, health care, and certain international and other runoff operations; policies written by Gulf, which was placed into runoff during the second quarter of 2004; and the Personal Catastrophe Risk operation which was sold in November 2005. The Personal Catastrophe Risk operation had been included in the Specialty segment prior to the August 2006 segment realignment. Certain business previously written by Gulf is now being written in the Specialized Distribution market and in the Financial, Professional & International Insurance segment. Gulf provided specialty coverages including management and professional liability, excess and surplus lines, environmental, umbrella and fidelity. Gulf also provided insurance products specifically designed for financial institutions, the entertainment industry and sports organizations.
Pricing levels for Business Insurance property and casualty insurance products are generally developed based upon an expectation of estimated losses, the expenses of producing business and managing claims and a reasonable allowance for profit. Business Insurance has a disciplined approach to underwriting and risk management that emphasizes profitable growth rather than premium volume or market share.
Business Insurance has developed an underwriting and pricing methodology that incorporates underwriting, claims, engineering, actuarial and product development disciplines for particular industries. This approach is designed to maintain high quality underwriting and pricing discipline. It utilizes proprietary data gathered and analyzed with respect to its Business Insurance business over many years. The underwriters and engineers use this information to assess and evaluate risks prior to quotation. This information provides specialized knowledge about specific industry segments. This methodology enables Business Insurance to streamline its risk selection process and develop pricing parameters that will not compromise its underwriting integrity.
For smaller businesses, Select Accounts uses a process based on industry classifications to allow agents and field underwriting representatives to make underwriting and pricing decisions within predetermined classifications, because underwriting criteria and pricing tend to be more standardized for these smaller exposures.
A portion of business in this segment is written with large deductible insurance policies. Under workers compensation insurance contracts with deductible features, the Company is obligated to pay the
claimant the full amount of the claim. The Company is subsequently reimbursed by the contractholder for the deductible amount and is subject to credit risk until such reimbursement is made. At December 31, 2006, contractholder receivables and payables on unpaid losses associated with large deductible policies were each approximately $5.01 billion. Retrospectively rated policies are also used for workers compensation coverage. Although the retrospectively rated feature of the policy substantially reduces insurance risk for the Company, it introduces additional credit risk to the Company. Premium receivables from holders of retrospectively rated policies totaled approximately $223 million at December 31, 2006. Significant collateral, primarily letters of credit and, to a lesser extent cash collateral trusts and surety bonds, is generally requested for large deductible plans and/or retrospectively rated policies that provide for deferred collection of deductible recoveries and/or ultimate premiums. The amount of collateral requested is predicated upon the creditworthiness of the customer and the nature of the insured risks. Business Insurance continually monitors the credit exposure on individual accounts and the adequacy of collateral.
The Company continually monitors its exposure to natural and manmade peril catastrophic losses and attempts to mitigate such exposure. In order to reduce the Companys exposure to catastrophe losses, Business Insurance limits the writing of new property business and selectively takes underwriting action on existing business in some markets. In addition, underwriting standards have been tightened, price increases have been implemented in some catastrophe-prone areas, and deductibles are in place in hurricane and wind and hail prone areas. The Company uses various analyses and methods, including sophisticated computer modeling techniques, to analyze underwriting risks of business in hurricane-prone, earthquake-prone and target risk areas. The Company relies upon this analysis to make underwriting decisions designed to manage its exposure on catastrophe-exposed business. The Company also utilizes reinsurance to manage its aggregate exposures to catastrophes. See Reinsurance.
Commercial Multi-Peril provides a combination of property and liability coverage. Property insurance covers damages such as those caused by fire, wind, hail, water, theft and vandalism, and protects businesses from financial loss due to business interruption resulting from a covered loss. Liability coverage insures businesses against third parties from accidents occurring on their premises or arising out of their operations, such as injuries sustained from products sold.
Workers Compensation provides coverage for employers for specified benefits payable under state or federal law for workplace injuries to employees. There are typically four types of benefits payable under workers compensation policies: medical benefits, disability benefits, death benefits and vocational rehabilitation benefits. The Company emphasizes managed care cost containment strategies, which involve employers, employees and care providers in a cooperative effort that focuses on the injured employees early return to work, cost-effective quality care and customer service in this market. The Company offers the following three types of workers compensation products:
· guaranteed cost insurance products, in which policy premium charges are fixed for the period of coverage and do not vary as a result of the insureds loss experience;
· loss-sensitive insurance products, including large deductible and retrospectively rated policies, in which fees or premiums are adjusted based on actual loss experience of the insured during the policy period; and
· service programs, which are generally sold to the Companys National Accounts customers, where the Company receives fees rather than premiums for providing loss prevention, risk management, and claim and benefit administration services to organizations under service agreements. The Company also participates in state assigned risk pools as a servicing carrier and pool participant.
Commercial Automobile provides coverage for businesses against losses incurred from personal bodily injury, bodily injury to third parties, property damage to an insureds vehicle and property damage to other vehicles and other property resulting from the ownership, maintenance or use of automobiles and trucks in a business.
Property provides coverage for loss or damage to buildings, inventory and equipment from natural disasters, including hurricanes, windstorms, earthquakes, hail, and severe winter weather. Also covered are manmade events such as theft, vandalism, fires, explosions, terrorism and financial loss due to business interruption resulting from covered property damage. For additional information on terrorism coverages, see ReinsuranceTerrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 and Terrorism Risk Insurance Extension Act of 2005. Property also includes specialized equipment insurance, which provides coverage for loss or damage resulting from the mechanical breakdown of boilers and machinery, and ocean and inland marine, which provides coverage for goods in transit and unique, one-of-a-kind exposures.
General Liability provides coverage for liability exposures including bodily injury and property damage arising from products sold and general business operations. Specialized liability policies may also include coverage for directors and officers liability arising in their official capacities, employment practices liability insurance, fiduciary liability for trustees and sponsors of pension, health and welfare, and other employee benefit plans, errors and omissions insurance for employees, agents, professionals and others arising from acts or failures to act under specified circumstances, as well as umbrella and excess insurance. Errors and omissions insurance for professionals (such as lawyers, accountants, doctors and other health care providers) is sometimes also known as professional liability insurance.
The following discussion reflects the Companys retention policy as of January 1, 2007. For third party liability, Business Insurance generally limits its net retention to a maximum of $13 million per insured, per occurrence after reinsurance. The net retained amount per risk for property exposures is generally limited to $15 million, after reinsurance. The Company also utilizes facultative reinsurance to provide additional limits capacity or to reduce retentions on an individual risk basis. The Company may also retain amounts greater than those described herein based upon the individual characteristics of the risk.
The following table shows the distribution of Business Insurances direct written premiums for the states that accounted for the majority of premium volume for the year ended December 31, 2006:
(1) No other single state accounted for 3.0% or more of the total direct written premiums written in 2006 by the domestic operations of the Business Insurance segment.
The insurance industry is represented in the commercial marketplace by many insurance companies of varying size as well as other entities offering risk alternatives such as self-insured retentions or captive programs. Market competition works within the insurance regulatory framework to set the price charged for insurance products and the level of service provided. Growth is driven by a companys ability to provide insurance and services at a price that is reasonable and acceptable to the customer. In addition, the marketplace is affected by available capacity of the insurance industry, as measured by policyholders surplus, and the availability of reinsurance. Surplus expands and contracts primarily in conjunction with profit levels generated by the industry. Capital raised by debt and equity offerings also increases a companys surplus. Growth in premium and service business is also measured by a companys ability to retain existing customers and to attract new customers. Additionally, many large commercial customers self-insure their risks or utilize large deductibles on purchased insurance.
Select Accounts business is typically written through independent agents and, to a lesser extent, regional brokers and direct writers. Both national and regional property casualty insurance companies compete in the Select Accounts market which generally comprises lower hazard, main street business customers. Risks are underwritten and priced using standard industry practices and a combination of proprietary and standard industry product offerings. Competition in this market is primarily based on price, product offerings and response time in policy services. Select Accounts has established a strong marketing relationship with its distribution network and has provided it with defined underwriting policies, a broad array of products, competitive prices and one of the most efficient automated environments in the industry. In addition, the Company has established centralized service centers to help agents perform many service functions, in return for a fee. Select Accounts overall service platform is one of the strongest in the small business commercial market.
Commercial Accounts business has historically been written through independent agents and brokers, although some companies use direct writing. Competitors in this market are primarily national property casualty insurance companies willing to write most classes of business using traditional products and pricing, and regional insurance companies. Companies compete on price, product offerings, response time in policy issuance and claim and loss prevention services. Additionally, improved efficiency through automation and response time to customer needs are key to success in this market.
The National Accounts group is comprised of three business units:
· National Accounts business is typically written through national brokers and, to a lesser extent, regional brokers. Insurance companies compete in this market based on price, product offerings, claim and loss prevention services, managed care cost containment and risk management information systems. National Accounts also offers a large nationwide network of localized claim service centers which provide greater flexibility in claims adjusting and allows National Accounts to more quickly respond to the needs of its customers.
· Discover Re competes with traditional providers of commercial insurance coverages, as well as other underwriters of property and casualty insurance in the alternative risk transfer market, such as risk retention groups, self-insurance plans, captives managed by others, and a variety of other risk-financing vehicles and mechanisms.
· National Accounts residual market business competes for state contracts to provide claims and policy management services. These contracts, which generally have three-year terms, are selected by state agencies through a bid process based on the quality of service and price. National Accounts services approximately 36% of the total workers compensation assigned risk market, making the Company one of the largest servicing carriers in the industry.
There are several other business groups in Business Insurance that compete in focused target markets. Each of these markets is different and requires unique combinations of industry knowledge, proprietary coverage forms, specialized risk control and loss handling services, and partnerships with agents and brokers that also focus on these markets. In some cases the competition is national carriers with similarly dedicated underwriting and marketing groups. In other cases, smaller regional companies tend to be the primary competition. In either case, these businesses have regional structures that allow them to deliver personalized service and local knowledge to their customer base. Specialized agents and brokers, including managing general agents and wholesale agents, supplement this strategy. In all of these businesses, the competitive strategy is market leadership attained through focused industry knowledge applied to insurance and risk needs.
The Financial, Professional & International Insurance segment includes surety and financial liability coverages, which require a primarily credit-based underwriting process, as well as property and casualty products that are primarily marketed on an international basis. The segment includes the following businesses:
· Bond & Financial Products provides a wide range of customers with bond and insurance products and risk management services. The range of coverages includes surety and fidelity bonds for construction and general commercial enterprises, professional liability and management liability for public corporations, private companies and not-for-profit organizations for losses caused by the negligence or misconduct of named directors and officers; professional liability for a variety of professionals, such as lawyers, design professionals and real estate agents for liability from errors and omissions committed in the course of professional conduct or practice; and a full range of property, auto, liability, fidelity and professional/management liability insurance for financial institutions. This business represents the fourth quarter 2006 combination of the Companys previous Bond and Financial & Professional Services marketing groups.
In December 2006, the Company reached a definitive agreement to sell its Mexican surety subsidiary, Afianzadora Insurgentes, S.A. de C.V., which accounted for $79 million of net written premiums in 2006. The impact of this transaction will not be material to the Companys results of operations or financial condition.
· International and Lloyds includes coverages marketed to and underwritten for several customer groups within the United Kingdom, Canada and the Republic of Ireland and business written as a Corporate Member at Lloyds. International offers specialized insurance and risk management services to several customer groups, including those in the technology, public services, and financial and professional services industry sectors. International primarily underwrites employers liability (similar to workers compensation coverage in the United States), public and product liability (the equivalent of general liability), professional indemnity (similar to professional liability coverage), motor (similar to automobile coverage in the United States) and property exposures. The Company underwrites four principal lines of businessaviation, marine, global property, and accident and special risksthrough its Lloyds syndicate (Syndicate 5000), for which the Company provides 100% of the capital. During the second half of 2004, the Company made a decision to exit certain portions of the Lloyds personal lines business and, in early 2005, sold the right to renew this business as well as the operating companies that supported it.
The following table sets forth Financial, Professional & International Insurance net written premiums by market and product line for the periods indicated. For a description of the markets and product lines referred to in the table, see Principal Markets and Methods of Distribution and Product Lines, respectively.
Within the Financial, Professional & International Insurance segment, Bond & Financial Products distributes the majority of its products in the United States through approximately 6,400 of the same independent agencies and brokers that distribute the Business Insurance segments products. These brokers and independent agencies are located throughout the United States. Bond & Financial Products, in conjunction with the Business Insurance segment, is making significant investments in enhanced technology utilizing internet-based applications to provide real-time interface capabilities with its independent agencies and brokers. Bond & Financial Products builds relationships with well-established, independent insurance agencies and brokers. In selecting new independent agencies and brokers to distribute its products, Bond & Financial Products considers each agencys or brokers profitability, financial stability, staff experience and strategic fit with its operating and marketing plans. Once an agency or broker is appointed, its ongoing performance is monitored. In addition, Bond & Financial Products sells its surety products through independent agents using subsidiaries in Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom. The Company has reached a definitive agreement to sell its Mexican subsidiary.
The International and Lloyds market distributes its products through brokers in the domestic markets of each of the three countries in which it operates, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Republic of Ireland. It also writes business at Lloyds, where its products are distributed through Lloyds wholesale and retail brokers. By virtue of Lloyds worldwide licenses, Financial, Professional & International Insurance has access to international markets across the world.
Pricing levels for Financial, Professional & International Insurance property and casualty insurance products are generally developed based upon an expectation of the frequency and severity of estimated losses, the expenses of producing business and managing claims, and a reasonable allowance for profit. Financial, Professional & International Insurance has a disciplined approach to underwriting and risk management that emphasizes profitable growth rather than premium volume or market share.
Financial, Professional & International Insurance has developed an underwriting and pricing methodology that incorporates dedicated underwriting, claims, engineering, actuarial and product development disciplines. This approach is designed to maintain high quality underwriting and pricing discipline, based on an in-depth knowledge of the specific account or industry issues. The underwriters use proprietary data gathered and analyzed over many years to assess and evaluate risks prior to quotation, and then use proprietary forms to tailor insurance coverage to insureds within the target markets. This methodology enables Financial, Professional & International Insurance to streamline its risk selection process and develop pricing parameters that will not compromise its underwriting integrity.
The Company continually monitors its exposure to natural and manmade peril catastrophic losses and attempts to mitigate such exposure. In order to reduce the Companys exposure to catastrophe losses, Financial, Professional & International Insurance limits the writing of new commercial property and energy and marine business and selectively takes underwriting action on existing business in some markets. In addition, underwriting standards have been tightened, price increases have been implemented in some catastrophe-prone areas, and deductibles are in place in hurricane and wind and hail prone areas. The Company uses various analyses and methods, including sophisticated computer modeling techniques, to analyze underwriting risks of business in hurricane-prone, earthquake-prone and target risk areas. The Company relies upon this analysis to make underwriting decisions designed to manage its exposure on catastrophe-exposed business. The Company also utilizes reinsurance to manage its aggregate exposures to catastrophes. See Reinsurance.
Fidelity and Surety provides fidelity insurance coverage, which protects an insured for loss due to embezzlement or misappropriation of funds by an employee, and surety, which is a three-party agreement whereby the insurer agrees to pay a third party or make complete an obligation in response to the default, acts or omissions of an insured. Surety is generally provided for construction performance, legal matters such as appeals, trustees in bankruptcy and probate and other performance bonds. In addition to the business written in the United States, this product line includes surety business written in the following subsidiaries of the Company: St. Paul Guarantee (Canada), Afianzadora Insurgentes (Mexico) and St. Paul Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of Europe (United Kingdom). The Company has reached a definitive agreement to sell Afianzadora Insurgentes.
General Liability provides coverage for liability exposures including bodily injury and property damage arising from products sold and general business operations. Specialized liability policies may also include coverage for directors and officers liability arising in their official capacities, employment practices liability insurance, fiduciary liability for trustees and sponsors of pension, health and welfare, and other employee benefit plans, errors and omissions insurance for employees, agents, professionals and others arising from acts or failures to act under specified circumstances, as well as umbrella and excess insurance. Errors and omissions insurance for professionals (such as lawyers, accountants, doctors and other health care providers) is sometimes also known as professional liability insurance.
International provides coverage through operations in the United Kingdom, Canada and the Republic of Ireland, and at Lloyds. The coverage provided in those markets includes employers liability (similar to workers compensation coverage in the United States), public and product liability (the equivalent of general liability), professional indemnity (similar to professional liability coverage), motor (similar to automobile coverage in the United States) and property. While the covered hazards may be similar to those in the U.S. market, the different legal environments can make the product risks and coverage terms potentially very different from those in the United States.
Other coverages include Property, Workers Compensation, Commercial Automobile and Commercial Multi-Peril, which are described in more detail in the Business Insurance section of this narrative.
The following discussion reflects the Companys retention policy as of January 1, 2007. For third party liability, including but not limited to umbrella liability, professional liability, directors and officers liability, and employment practices liability, Financial, Professional & International Insurance generally limits the net retentions up to $11.5 million per policy after reinsurance. For surety protection, the Company generally retains up to $24.5 million probable maximum loss (PML) per principal but may retain higher amounts based on the type of obligation, credit quality and other credit risk factors. In the International and Lloyds operations, per risk retentions range from $3 million to $10 million. The Company also utilizes facultative reinsurance to provide additional limits capacity or to reduce retentions on an individual risk basis. The Company may also retain amounts greater than those described herein based upon the individual characteristics of the risk.
The following table shows the distribution of Financial, Professional & Internationals direct written premiums for the states, or for locations outside of the United States, that accounted for the majority of premium volume for the year ended December 31, 2006:
(1) No other single state within the United States accounted for 3.0% or more of the total direct written premiums written in 2006 by the Financial, Professional & International Insurance segment.
The competitive landscape in which the Financial, Professional & International Insurance segment operates is affected by many of the same factors described previously for the Business Insurance segment. Bond & Financial Products competes with other stock companies, mutual companies, alternative risk sharing groups and other underwriting organizations. Competitors in this market are primarily national property and casualty insurance companies willing to write most classes of business using traditional products and pricing and, to a lesser extent, regional insurance companies and companies that have developed niche programs for specific industry segments. In addition, many large commercial customers self-insure their risks or utilize large deductibles on purchased insurance.
Bond & Financial Products underwrites and markets its products to national, mid-sized and small businesses and organizations, as well as individuals, and distributes them through both national and wholesale brokers, regional brokers, and retail agents. Bond & Financial Products competes in the competitive surety and management liability marketplaces, as well as offering general property and casualty coverages to financial institutions. Both national and regional property casualty insurance companies compete with Bond & Financial Products. Its reputation for timely and consistent decision-making, a nationwide network of local underwriting, claims and industry experts and strong producer and
customer relationships, as well as its ability to offer its customers a full range of products, provides Bond & Financial Products an advantage over many of its competitors and enables it to compete effectively in a complex, dynamic marketplace. The ability of Bond & Financial Products to cross-sell its products to customers of the Business Insurance and Personal Insurance segments provides further competitive advantages for the Company.
International competes with numerous international and local country insurers in the United Kingdom, Canada and the Republic of Ireland. Companies compete on the basis of price, product offerings and the level of claim and risk management services provided. The Company has developed expertise in various markets in these countries similar to those served in the United States and provides both property and casualty coverage for these markets. Products are generally distributed through a relatively small broker base whose customer groups align with the Companys targeted markets.
At Lloyds, the Company competes with other syndicates operating in the Lloyds market as well as international and domestic insurers in the various markets where the Company writes business worldwide. Lloyds syndicates are increasingly capitalized by corporate capital, much of which is provided by large international insurance enterprises. Competition is again based on price and product offerings. The Company has an exclusive focus on lines it believes it can underwrite effectively and profitably with an emphasis on short-tail insurance lines. The Company underwrites through four principal lines of business at Lloyds: aviation, marine, global property, and accident and special risks.
Personal Insurance writes virtually all types of property and casualty insurance covering personal risks. The primary coverages in Personal Insurance are automobile and homeowners insurance sold to individuals. These products are distributed through independent agents, sponsoring organizations such as employee and affinity groups, and joint marketing arrangements with other insurers.
In January 2007, the Company reached a definitive agreement to sell its subsidiary, Mendota Insurance Company and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Mendakota Insurance Company and Mendota Insurance Agency, Inc. These subsidiaries primarily offered nonstandard automobile coverage and accounted for approximately $187 million of net written premium volume in 2006. The sale is not expected to be material to the Companys results of operations or financial condition.
The following table sets forth net written premiums for Personal Insurance by product line for the periods indicated. For a description of the product lines referred to in the accompanying table, see Product Lines. In addition, see Principal Markets and Methods of Distribution for a discussion of distribution channels for Personal Insurances product lines.
Personal Insurance products are distributed primarily through approximately 8,700 independent agents located throughout the United States, supported by personnel in eleven marketing regions, three single state companies and six service centers. In selecting new independent agencies to distribute its products, Personal Insurance considers each agencys profitability, financial stability, staff experience and strategic fit with Personal Insurances operating and marketing plans. Once an agency is appointed, Personal Insurance carefully monitors its performance. While the principal markets for Personal Insurances insurance products are in states along the East Coast, in the South and Texas, Personal Insurance is expanding its geographic presence across the United States.
Personal Insurance operates single state companies in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Florida with products marketed primarily through independent agents. These states represented approximately 19% of Personal Insurance direct written premiums in 2006. The companies were established to manage complex markets in Massachusetts and New Jersey and property catastrophe exposure in Florida. Each company has dedicated resources in underwriting, claim, finance, legal and service functions.
Personal Insurance uses a consistent operating model with agents outside of the single state companies (see discussion above). The model provides technological alternatives to agents to maximize their ease of doing business. Personal Insurance agents quote and issue approximately 99% of Personal Insurances policies directly from their agencies by leveraging either their own agency management system or using Personal Insurances proprietary quote and issuance systems which allows agents to rate, quote and issue policies on line. All of these quote and issue platforms interface with Personal Insurances underwriting and rating systems, which edit transactions for compliance with Personal Insurances underwriting and pricing programs. Business processed by agents on these platforms is subject to consultative review by Personal Insurances in-house underwriters. Personal Insurance also provides a download capability that refreshes the individual agency system databases of approximately 6,000 agents each day with updated policy information.
Personal Insurance continues to develop functionality to provide its agents with a comprehensive array of online service capabilities packaged together in an easy-to-use agency service portal, including customer service, marketing and claim functionality. Agencies can also choose to shift the ongoing service responsibility for Personal Insurances customers to one of the Companys four Customer Care Centers, where the Company renders customer service on behalf of an agency by providing a comprehensive array of direct customer service needs, including response to billing and coverage inquiries, and policy changes. Approximately 1,300 agents take advantage of this service alternative.
Personal Insurance also markets through additional distribution channels, including sponsoring organizations such as employers and consumer associations, and joint marketing arrangements with other insurers. Personal Insurance handles the sales and service for these programs either through a sponsoring independent agent or through two of the Companys call center locations. A number of well-known corporations make the Companys product offerings available to their employees primarily through a payroll deduction payment process. The Company has significant relationships with the majority of the American Automobile Association (AAA) clubs in the United States and other affinity groups that make available Personal Insurances product offerings to their members. Since 1995, the Company has had a marketing agreement with GEICO to underwrite homeowners business for their auto customers. This agreement has added profitable business and helped to geographically diversify the homeowners line of business.
Pricing levels for Personal Insurance property and casualty insurance products are generally developed based upon an expectation of estimated losses, the expense of producing, issuing and servicing
the business and a reasonable allowance for profit and contingencies. The Company has a disciplined approach to underwriting and risk management that emphasizes profitable growth rather than premium volume or market share.
Personal Insurance has developed a product management methodology that integrates the disciplines of underwriting, claim, actuarial and product development. This approach is designed to maintain high quality underwriting discipline and pricing segmentation. Proprietary data is analyzed with respect to Personal Insurances business over many years. Personal Insurance uses a variety of proprietary and vendor produced risk differentiation models to facilitate its pricing segmentation. Personal Insurances product managers establish strict underwriting guidelines integrated with its filed pricing and rating plans, which enable Personal Insurance to streamline its risk selection and pricing processes.
Pricing for personal automobile insurance is driven by changes in the frequency of claims and by inflation in the cost of automobile repairs, medical care and litigation of liability claims. As a result, the profitability of the business is largely dependent on promptly identifying and rectifying disparities between premium levels and projected claim costs, and obtaining approval from state regulatory authorities when necessary for filed rate changes.
Pricing in the homeowners business is also driven by changes in the frequency of claims and by inflation in the cost of building supplies, labor and household possessions. Most homeowners policies offer, but do not require, automatic increases in coverage to reflect growth in replacement costs and property values. In addition to the normal risks associated with any multiple peril coverage, the profitability and pricing of homeowners insurance is affected by the incidence of natural disasters, particularly those related to weather and earthquakes. In order to reduce the Companys exposure to catastrophe losses, Personal Insurance limits the writing of new homeowners business and selectively takes underwriting action on existing business in some markets. In addition, underwriting standards have been tightened, price increases have been implemented in some catastrophe-prone areas, and deductibles are in place in hurricane and wind and hail prone areas. Personal Insurance uses computer-modeling techniques to assess its level of exposure to loss in hurricane and earthquake catastrophe-prone areas. Changes to methods of marketing and underwriting in some jurisdictions are subject to state-imposed restrictions, which can make it more difficult for an insurer to significantly reduce catastrophe exposures.
Insurers writing personal lines property and casualty policies may be unable to increase prices until some time after the costs associated with coverage have increased, primarily because of state insurance rate regulation. The pace at which an insurer can change rates in response to increased costs depends, in part, on whether the applicable state law requires prior approval of rate increases or notification to the regulator either before or after a rate change is imposed. In states with prior approval laws, rates must be approved by the regulator before being used by the insurer. In states having file-and-use laws, the insurer must file rate changes with the regulator, but does not need to wait for approval before using the new rates. A use-and-file law requires an insurer to file rates within a period of time after the insurer begins using the new rate. Approximately one-half of the states require prior approval of most rate changes. The Companys ability or willingness to raise prices, modify underwriting terms or reduce exposure to certain geographies may be limited due to considerations of public policy, the evolving political environment and/or social responsibilities. The Company also may choose to write business it might not otherwise write for strategic purposes, such as improving access to other underwriting opportunities.
Independent agents either utilize one of the Companys automated quote and issue systems or they submit applications to the Companys service centers for underwriting review, quote, and issuance. Automated transactions are edited by the Companys systems and issued if they conform to established guidelines. Exceptions are reviewed by underwriters in the Companys business centers. Audits are conducted by business center underwriters and agency managers, on a systematic sampling basis, across all of the Companys independent agency generated business. Each agent is assigned to a specific employee or
team of employees responsible for working with the agent on business plan development, marketing, and overall growth and profitability. The Company uses agency level management information to analyze and understand results and to identify problems and opportunities.
The Personal Insurance products sold through additional marketing channels utilize the same quote and issuance systems discussed previously and exceptions are underwritten by the Companys employees. Underwriters work with Company management on business plan development, marketing, and overall growth and profitability. Channel-specific production and claim information is used to analyze results and identify problems and opportunities.
The primary coverages in Personal Insurance are personal automobile and homeowners insurance sold to individuals. Personal Insurance had approximately 7.1 million policies in force at December 31, 2006.
Personal Automobile provides coverage for liability to others for both bodily injury and property damage and for physical damage to an insureds own vehicle from collision and various other perils. In addition, many states require policies to provide first-party personal injury protection, frequently referred to as no-fault coverage.
Homeowners and Other provides protection against losses to dwellings and contents from a wide variety of perils, as well as coverage for liability arising from ownership or occupancy. The Company writes homeowners insurance for dwellings, condominiums and rental property contents. The Company also writes coverage for personal watercraft, personal articles such as jewelry, and umbrella liability protection.
The following discussion reflects the Companys retention policy as of January 1, 2007. Personal Insurance retains the first $5 million of umbrella policies and purchases facultative reinsurance for limits over $5 million. For personal property insurance, there is a $6 million maximum retention per risk. The Company also utilizes facultative reinsurance to provide additional limits capacity or to reduce retentions on an individual risk basis. The Company may also retain amounts greater than those described herein based upon the individual characteristics of the risk
The following table shows the distribution of Personal Insurances direct written premiums for the states that accounted for the majority of premium volume for the year ended December 31, 2006:
(1) No other single state accounted for 3.0% or more of the total direct written premiums written in 2006 by the Personal Insurance segment.
Personal lines insurance is written by hundreds of insurance companies of varying sizes. Although national companies write the majority of the business, Personal Insurance also faces competition from local and regional companies which often have a competitive advantage because of their knowledge of the local marketplace and their relationship with local agents. Personal Insurance believes that the principal competitive factors are price, service, perceived stability of the insurer and name recognition. Personal Insurance competes for business within each independent agency since these agencies also offer policies of competing companies. At the agency level, competition is primarily based on price and the level of service, including claims handling, as well as the level of automation and the development of long-term relationships with individual agents. Personal Insurance also competes with insurance companies that use exclusive agents or salaried employees to sell their products. In addition to its traditional independent agency distribution, Personal Insurance has broadened its distribution of products by marketing to sponsoring organizations, including employee and affinity groups, and through joint marketing arrangements with other insurers. Personal Insurance believes that its continued focus on underwriting and pricing segmentation, claim settlement effectiveness strategies and expense management practices enable Personal Insurance to price its products competitively in all of its distribution channels.
The Companys claims management strategies, together with its focus on optimizing claim outcomes, cost efficiency and service are critical to the Companys ability to grow profitably and reflect these core tenets:
· fair, efficient, fact-based claims management processes;
· use of advanced technology provides front-line claim professionals with necessary information and facilitates prompt claim resolution;
· specialization of claim professionals and segmentation of claims by complexity, as indicated by severity, coverage and causation, allow the Company to focus its resources effectively;
· effective collaboration, using meaningful management information, across all divisions within the Company facilitates product analysis and enhances risk selection and risk pricing; and
· excellent customer service enhances customer retention.
The Companys claims function is managed through its Claim Services operations. With nearly 13,000 employees, Claim Services employs a diverse group of professionals, including claim adjusters, appraisers, attorneys, investigators, engineers, accountants, system specialists and training, management and support personnel. Approved external service providers, such as independent adjusters and appraisers, investigators and attorneys, are available for use as appropriate.
Field claim management teams located in 29 claim centers and 89 satellite and specialty-only offices in 46 states are organized to maintain focus on the specific claim characteristics unique to the businesses within the Business Insurance, Financial, Professional & International Insurance, and Personal Insurance segments. Claim teams with specialized skills, resources, and workflows are matched to the unique exposures of those businesses with local claim management dedicated to achieving optimal results within each segment. The Companys home office operations provide additional support in the form of workflow design, quality management, information technology, advanced management information and data analysis, training, financial reporting and control, and human resources strategy. In addition to the field teams, claim staff is dedicated to each of Personal Insurances single state companies in Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey. This structure permits the Company to maintain the economies of scale of a larger, established company while retaining the agility to respond promptly to the needs of customers, brokers, agents and underwriters. Claims management for International is generally provided locally by staff in the respective international location due to local knowledge of applicable laws and regulations.
An integral part of the Companys strategy to benefit customers and shareholders is its continuing industry leadership in the fight against insurance fraud through its Investigative Services unit. The Company has a nationwide staff of experts that investigate a wide array of insurance fraud schemes using in-house forensic resources and other technological tools. This staff also has specialized expertise in fire scene examinations, medical provider fraud schemes and data mining. The Company also dedicates investigative resources to ensure that violations of law are reported to and prosecuted by law enforcement agencies.
Claim Services uses advanced technology, management information, and data analysis to assist the Company in reviewing its claim practices and results to evaluate and improve its performance. The Companys claim management strategy is focused on segmentation of claims and appropriate technical specialization to drive effective claim resolution. The Company continually monitors its investment in claim resources to maintain an effective focus on claim outcomes and a disciplined approach to continual improvement. In recent years, the Company has invested significant additional resources in many of its claim handling operations and routinely monitors the effect of its investments to ensure a consistent optimization between outcomes, cost, and service.
During 2006, Claim Services refined its catastrophic response strategy to increase the Companys ability to respond to a significant catastrophic event using its own personnel, placing less reliance on independent adjustors and appraisers. The Company established a larger dedicated catastrophe response team, and trained a larger Enterprise Response Team of existing Company employees who can be deployed on short notice in the event of a catastrophe that generates claim volume exceeding the capacity of the dedicated catastrophe response team.
The Company is also a leader in bringing effective claim solutions that provide superior customer service. One example of this is ConciergeClaimSM, a new auto claim service that features selected
independently-owned auto repair facilities with Company appraisers on site to complete an estimate, handle all rental arrangements and monitor the repair process from start to finish. By managing the claim in this way, the Company can help ensure prompt, quality results and create a differentiated, superior claim experience for customers.
Another strategic advantage is TravCompSM, a workers compensation claim resolution and medical management program that assists adjusters in the prompt investigation and effective management of workers compensation claims. Innovative medical and claims management technologies permit nurse, medical and claims professionals to share appropriate vital information that supports prompt investigation, effective return to work and claim resolution strategies. These technologies, together with effective matching of professional skills and authority to specific claim issues, have resulted in more efficient management of workers compensation claims with lower medical, wage replacement costs and loss adjustment expenses.
The Company reinsures a portion of the risks it underwrites in order to control its exposure to losses. The Company cedes to reinsurers a portion of these risks and pays premiums based upon the risk and exposure of the policies subject to such reinsurance. Ceded reinsurance involves credit risk, except with regard to mandatory pools, and is generally subject to aggregate loss limits. Although the reinsurer is liable to the Company to the extent of the reinsurance ceded, the Company remains liable as the direct insurer on all risks reinsured. Reinsurance recoverables are reported after reductions for known insolvencies and after allowances for uncollectible amounts. The Company also holds collateral, including trust agreements, escrow funds and letters of credit, under certain reinsurance agreements. The Company monitors the financial condition of reinsurers on an ongoing basis and reviews its reinsurance arrangements periodically. Reinsurers are selected based on their financial condition, business practices and the price of their product offerings. For additional information concerning reinsurance, see note 4 of notes to the Companys consolidated financial statements.
The Company utilizes a variety of reinsurance agreements to manage its exposure to large property and casualty losses, including:
· facultative reinsurance, in which reinsurance is provided for all or a portion of the insurance provided by a single policy and each policy reinsured is separately negotiated;
· treaty reinsurance, in which reinsurance is provided for a specified type or category of risks; and
· catastrophe reinsurance, in which the Company is indemnified for an amount of loss in excess of a specified retention with respect to losses resulting from a catastrophic event.
For a description of reinsurance-related litigation, see Item 3, Legal Proceedings.
Catastrophes can be caused by various natural and man-made events including hurricanes, windstorms, earthquakes, hail, severe winter weather, explosions and fires. The incidence and severity of catastrophes are inherently unpredictable. The extent of losses from a catastrophe is a function of both the total amount of insured exposure in the area affected by the event and the severity of the event. Most catastrophes are restricted to small geographic areas; however, hurricanes and earthquakes may produce significant damage in larger areas, especially those that are heavily populated. The Company generally seeks to reduce its exposure to catastrophes through individual risk selection and the purchase of catastrophe reinsurance.
The Company utilizes reinsurance agreements with nonaffiliated reinsurers to manage its exposure to losses resulting from one occurrence. The Companys General Catastrophe reinsurance treaty covers the
accumulation of net property losses arising out of one occurrence. The coverage provided under the General Catastrophe reinsurance treaty, effective for the time period indicated, is as follows:
This agreement excludes nuclear, chemical, biochemical and radiological losses and all terrorism losses as defined by the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Extension Act of 2005. The agreement covers all of the Companys exposures in the United States and Canada and their possessions and waters contiguous thereto, the Caribbean and Mexico. For business underwritten in Canada, the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and in the Companys operations at Lloyds, separate reinsurance protections are purchased locally that have lower net retentions more commensurate with the size of the respective local balance sheet. The Company conducts an ongoing review of its risk and catastrophe coverages and makes changes as it deems appropriate.
In addition to its General Catastrophe treaty, the Company also is party to a Northeast General Catastrophe treaty providing $500 million of coverage, subject to a $2.25 billion retention, for losses arising from hurricanes, earthquakes and winter storm or freeze losses from Virginia to Maine, and waters contiguous thereto. Losses from a covered event (occurring over several days) anywhere in the United States may be used to satisfy the retention.
The Company participates in the FHCF, which is a state-mandated catastrophe reinsurance fund that provides reimbursement to insurers for a portion of their residential catastrophic hurricane losses. The FHCF is primarily funded by premiums from insurance companies that write residential property business in Florida and, if insufficient, assessments on all Florida property and casualty lines of business, excluding accident and health, the National Flood Insurance Program, workers compensation and medical malpractice insurance. The FHCFs resources are limited to these contributions and to its borrowing capacity at the time of a significant catastrophe in Florida. Based on current expected reimbursements for 2004 and 2005 losses, the state of Florida levied a 1% assessment effective January 1, 2007 for all of the Companys relevant policyholders as discussed above. The Company holds no liability for this pass-through assessment, since the Company is only liable for the assessments collected from insureds. Prior to the special legislative session in Florida in January 2007, the projected FHCF bonding for future events was adequate to cover its statutory capacity. In January 2007, the Governor of Florida signed into law legislation which expanded the capacity of the FHCF from $16 billion to $28 billion, with an option for the FHCF Board of Governors to add an additional $4 billion of capacity. Additionally, participating companies have the option to select lower attachment points to the FHCF in $1 billion increments ranging from $6 billion to $3 billion. As a result, the maximum potential industry capacity has been increased from approximately $16 billion to $35 billion for a single hurricane event impacting Florida residential property exposures. The Companys participation as of June 2006 (the most recent date for which data is available) accounted for less than 0.8% of the FHCF. This additional capacity is also funded primarily by premiums and relies on the same assessment and borrowing process described above. If there are hurricanes in 2007, the cash resources of the FHCF may not be sufficient to meet its obligations and continuing assessments may be necessary.
On November 26, 2002, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (the Terrorism Act) was enacted into Federal law and established the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program (the Program), a temporary Federal program in the Department of the Treasury that provided for a system of shared public and private compensation for insured losses resulting from acts of terrorism or war committed by or on behalf of a foreign interest. The Program was scheduled to terminate on December 31, 2005. In December 2005, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Extension Act of 2005 (the Terrorism Extension Act) was enacted into Federal law, reauthorizing the Program through December 31, 2007, while reducing the Federal role under the Program.
In order for a loss to be covered under the Program (subject losses), the loss must meet certain aggregate industry loss minimums that vary by Program year of amounts $100 million or less, and must be the result of an event that is certified as an act of terrorism by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. The original Program excluded from participation certain of the following types of insurance: Federal crop insurance, private mortgage insurance, financial guaranty insurance, medical malpractice insurance, health or life insurance, flood insurance and reinsurance. The Terrorism Extension Act exempted from coverage certain additional types of insurance, including commercial automobile, professional liability (other than directors and officers), surety, burglary and theft, and farm-owners multi-peril. In the case of a war declared by Congress, only workers compensation losses are covered by the Terrorism Act and the Terrorism Extension Act. Both Acts generally require that all commercial property casualty insurers licensed in the United States participate in the Program. Under the Program, a participating insurer is entitled to be reimbursed by the Federal government for a percentage of subject losses, after an insurer deductible, subject to an annual cap. The Federal reimbursement percentage is 85% in 2007.
The deductible is calculated by applying the deductible percentage to the insurers direct earned premiums for covered lines from the calendar year immediately preceding the applicable year. The deductible under the Program was 10% for 2004, 15% for 2005, 17.5% for 2006 and will be 20% for 2007. The Companys estimated deductible under the Program is $2.20 billion for 2007. The annual cap limits the amount of aggregate subject losses for all participating insurers to $100 billion. Once subject losses have reached the $100 billion aggregate during a program year, Congress shall determine the source of funds, if any, available for losses that exceed the $100 billion cap. The Company had no terrorism-related losses in 2006, 2005 or 2004. If the Program is not renewed for periods after January 1, 2008, the benefits of the Program will not be available to the Company, and the Company will be subject to losses from acts of terrorism subject only to the terms and provisions of applicable policies, including policies written in 2007 for which the period of coverage extends into 2008. Given the unpredictable frequency and severity of terrorism losses, as well as the limited terrorism coverage in the Companys own reinsurance program, future losses from acts of terrorism, particularly those involving nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological events, could be material to the Companys operating results, financial condition and/or liquidity in future periods, particularly if the Program is not extended. Regardless of whether the Terrorism Act is extended, the Company will continue to manage this type of catastrophic risk by monitoring and controlling terrorism risk aggregations to the best of its ability.
Claim and claim adjustment expense reserves (loss reserves) represent managements estimate of ultimate unpaid costs of losses and loss adjustment expenses for claims that have been reported and claims that have been incurred but not yet reported.
Management continually refines its reserve estimates in a regular ongoing process that includes review of key assumptions, underlying variables and historical loss experience. The Company reflects adjustments to reserves in the results of operations in the periods in which the estimates are changed. In establishing reserves, the Company takes into account estimated recoveries for reinsurance, salvage and subrogation.
The reserves are also reviewed regularly by qualified actuaries employed by the Company. For additional information on the process of estimating reserves and a discussion of underlying variables and risk factors, see Item 7Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of OperationsCritical Accounting Estimates.
The process of estimating loss reserves involves a high degree of judgment and requires the consideration of a number of variables. These variables (discussed by product line in the Critical Accounting Estimates section) are affected by both internal and external events, such as changes in claims handling procedures, inflation, judicial trends and legislative changes, among others. The impact of many of these items on ultimate costs of claims and claim adjustment expenses is difficult to estimate. Reserve estimation difficulties also differ significantly by product line due to differences in the underlying insurance contract (e.g., claims made versus occurrence), claim complexity, the volume of claims, the potential severity of individual claims, determining the occurrence date for a claim, and reporting lags (the time between the occurrence of the insured event and when it is actually reported to the insurer). Informed judgment is applied throughout the process.
The Company derives estimates for unreported claims and development on reported claims principally from actuarial analyses of historical patterns of loss development by accident year for each type of exposure and business unit. Similarly, the Company derives estimates of unpaid loss adjustment expenses principally from actuarial analyses of historical development patterns of the relationship of loss adjustment expenses to losses for each line of business and type of exposure. For a description of the Companys reserving methods for asbestos and environmental claims, see Item 7Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of OperationsAsbestos Claims and Litigation, and Environmental Claims and Litigation.
Included in the claims and claim adjustment expense reserves in the consolidated balance sheet are certain reserves discounted to the present value of estimated future payments. The liabilities for losses for some long-term disability payments under workers compensation insurance and workers compensation excess insurance, which totaled $1.98 billion and $1.92 billion at December 31, 2006 and 2005, respectively, were discounted using a rate of 5% at December 31, 2006 and 2005. Reserves related to certain fixed and determinable asbestos-related settlements, where all payment amounts and their timing are known, totaled $34 million at December 31, 2005, and were discounted using a rate of 2.6% at that date. There were no such reserves at December 31, 2006. Reserves for certain assumed reinsurance business were discounted using a rate of 7% and a range of rates from 5% to 7.5%, at December 31, 2006 and 2005, respectively, and totaled $37 million and $79 million at December 31, 2006 and 2005, respectively.
The table on page 26 sets forth the year-end reserves from 1996 through 2006 and the subsequent changes in those reserves, presented on a historical basis. The original estimates, cumulative amounts paid and reestimated reserves in the table for the years 1996 through 2003 have not been restated to reflect the acquisition of SPC in 2004. The table includes SPC reserves beginning at December 31, 2004.
The original estimates, cumulative amounts paid and reestimated reserves in the table for the years 1996 to 2000 have also not been restated to reflect the acquisition of Northland and Commercial Guaranty Casualty. Beginning in 2001, the table includes the reserve activity of Northland and Commercial Guaranty Casualty. The data in the table is presented in accordance with reporting requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Care must be taken to avoid misinterpretation by those unfamiliar with this information or familiar with other data commonly reported by the insurance industry. The accompanying data is not accident year data, but rather a display of 1996 to 2006 year-end reserves and the subsequent changes in those reserves.
For instance, the cumulative deficiency (redundancy) shown in the accompanying table for each year represents the aggregate amount by which original estimates of reserves as of that year-end have changed in subsequent years. Accordingly, the cumulative deficiency for a year relates only to reserves at that year-end and those amounts are not additive. Expressed another way, if the original reserves at the end of 1996 included $4 million for a loss that is finally paid in 2005 for $5 million, the $1 million deficiency (the excess of the actual payment of $5 million over the original estimate of $4 million) would be included in the cumulative deficiencies in each of the years 1996 to 2004 shown in the accompanying table.
Various factors may distort the re-estimated reserves and cumulative deficiency or redundancy shown in the accompanying table. For example, a substantial portion of the cumulative deficiencies shown in the accompanying table arise from claims on policies written prior to the mid-1970s involving liability exposures such as asbestos and environmental claims. In the post-1984 period, the Company has developed more stringent underwriting standards and policy exclusions and has significantly contracted or terminated the writing of these risks. See Item 7Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of OperationsAsbestos Claims and Litigation, and Environmental Claims and Litigation. General conditions and trends that have affected the development of these liabilities in the past will not necessarily recur in the future.
Other factors that affect the data in the accompanying table include the discounting of certain reserves, as discussed above, and the use of retrospectively rated insurance policies. For example, workers compensation indemnity reserves (tabular reserves) are discounted to reflect the time value of money. Apparent deficiencies will continue to occur as the discount on these workers compensation reserves is accreted at the appropriate interest rates. Also, a portion of National Accounts business is underwritten with retrospectively rated insurance policies in which the ultimate loss experience is primarily borne by the insured. For this business, increases in loss experience result in an increase in reserves and an offsetting increase in amounts recoverable from insureds. Likewise, decreases in loss experience result in a decrease in reserves and an offsetting decrease in amounts recoverable from these insureds. The amounts recoverable on these retrospectively rated policies mitigate the impact of the cumulative deficiencies or redundancies on the Companys earnings but are not reflected in the accompanying table.
Because of these and other factors, it is difficult to develop a meaningful extrapolation of estimated future redundancies or deficiencies in loss reserves from the data in the accompanying table.
Included in the cumulative deficiency by year is the following impact of unfavorable prior year reserve development related to asbestos and environmental claims and claim adjustment expenses, in millions:
(a) Includes reserves of The Northland Company and its subsidiaries and Commercial Guaranty Lloyds Insurance Company which were acquired from Citigroup on October 1, 2001. Also includes reserves of Commercial Guaranty Casualty Insurance Company, which was contributed to TPC by Citigroup on October 3, 2001. At December 31, 2001, these gross reserves were $867 million, and net reserves were $633 million.
(b) For years prior to 2004, excludes SPC reserves, which were acquired on April 1, 2004. Accordingly, the reserve development (net reserves for claims and claim adjustment expenses reestimated as of subsequent years less net reserves recorded at the end of the year, as originally estimated) for years prior to 2004 relates only to losses recorded by TPC and does not include reserve development recorded by SPC. For 2004 and subsequent years, includes SPC reserves and subsequent development recorded by SPC. At December 31, 2004, SPC gross reserves were $23,274 million and net reserves were $15,959 million.
At December 31, 2006, 2005 and 2004, claim and claim adjustment expense reserves (net of reinsurance) shown in the preceding table, which are prepared in accordance U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), were $104 million, $296 million and $282 million lower, respectively, than those reported in the Companys respective annual reports filed with insurance regulators, which are prepared in accordance with statutory accounting practices. The accounting for retroactive reinsurance is a significant factor in the difference in reserves. Retroactive reinsurance balances result from reinsurance placed to cover losses on insured events occurring prior to the contract inception. For GAAP reporting, retroactive reinsurance balances are included in reinsurance recoverables and result in lower net reserve amounts. Statutory accounting practices require retroactive reinsurance balances to be recorded in other liabilities as contra-liabilities rather than in loss reserves.
Asbestos and environmental claims are segregated from other claims and are handled separately by the Companys Special Liability Group, a separate unit staffed by dedicated legal, claim, finance and engineering professionals. For additional information on asbestos and environmental claims, see Item 7Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations.
Most of the Companys insurance subsidiaries are members of intercompany property and casualty reinsurance pooling arrangements. Pooling arrangements permit the participating companies to rely on the capacity of the entire pools capital and surplus rather than just on its own capital and surplus. Under such arrangements, the members share substantially all insurance business that is written, and allocate the combined premiums, losses and expenses. During 2005, the Company combined the previously separate St. Paul Insurance Group and Travelers Property Casualty pools, forming the new St. Paul Travelers Reinsurance Pool. Travelers Indemnity Company is the lead company of the new pool, which includes 28 companies. The Company also merged Gulf Insurance Company, the lead company of the former Gulf Insurance Group, into Travelers Indemnity Company effective July 1, 2005. As of December 31, 2006, there were two intercompany pooling arrangements: the St. Paul Travelers Reinsurance Pool and the Northland Pool.
Ratings are an important factor in setting the Companys competitive position in the insurance marketplace. The Company receives ratings from the following major rating agencies: A.M. Best Company (A.M. Best), Fitch Ratings (Fitch), Moodys Investors Service (Moodys) and Standard & Poors Corp. (S&P). Rating agencies typically issue two types of ratings: claims-paying (or financial strength) ratings which assess an insurers ability to meet its financial obligations to policyholders and debt ratings which assess a companys prospects for repaying its debts and assist lenders in setting interest rates and terms for a companys short and long term borrowing needs. Agency ratings are not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security, and they may be revised or withdrawn at any time by the rating organization. Each agencys rating should be evaluated independently of any other agencys rating. The system and the number of rating categories can vary widely from rating agency to rating agency. Customers usually focus on claims-paying ratings, while creditors focus on debt ratings. Investors use both to evaluate a companys overall financial strength. The ratings issued on the Company or its subsidiaries by any of these agencies are announced publicly and are available on the Companys website and from the agencies.
The Companys insurance operations could be negatively impacted by a downgrade in one or more of the Companys financial strength ratings. If this were to occur, there could be a reduced demand for certain products in certain markets. Additionally, the Companys ability to access the capital markets could be impacted and higher borrowing costs may be incurred.
The following table summarizes the current claims-paying (or financial strength) ratings of the St. Paul Travelers Reinsurance Pool, Travelers C&S of America, Northland Pool, Travelers Personal single state companies, Travelers Europe, Discover Reinsurance Company, Afianzadora Insurgentes, S.A. de C.V., St. Paul Guarantee Insurance Company and St. Paul Travelers Insurance Company Limited by A.M. Best, Moodys, S&P and Fitch as of February 23, 2007. The table also presents the position of each rating in the applicable agencys rating scale.
(a) The St. Paul Travelers Reinsurance Pool consists of: The Travelers Indemnity Company, The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Company, The Phoenix Insurance Company, The Travelers Indemnity Company of Connecticut, The Travelers Indemnity Company of America, Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, Travelers Commercial Casualty Company, TravCo Insurance Company, The Travelers
Home and Marine Insurance Company, Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, The Standard Fire Insurance Company, The Automobile Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut, Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America, Farmington Casualty Company, Travelers Commercial Insurance Company, Travelers Casualty Company of Connecticut, Travelers Property Casualty Insurance Company, Travelers Personal Security Insurance Company, Travelers Personal Insurance Company, Travelers Excess and Surplus Lines Company, St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company, St. Paul Surplus Lines Insurance Company, Athena Assurance Company, St. Paul Protective Insurance Company, St. Paul Medical Liability Insurance Company, Discover Property & Casualty Insurance Company, Discover Specialty Insurance Company, and United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company.
(b) The following affiliated companies are 100% reinsured by one of the pool participants noted in (a) above: Atlantic Insurance Company, Fidelity and Guaranty Insurance Company, Fidelity and Guaranty Insurance Underwriters, Inc., Gulf Underwriters Insurance Company, Seaboard Surety Company, Select Insurance Company, St. Paul Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, St. Paul Guardian Insurance Company, St. Paul Mercury Insurance Company, The Travelers Lloyds Insurance Company and Travelers Lloyds of Texas Insurance Company.
(c) The Northland Pool consists of: Northland Insurance Company, Northfield Insurance Company, Northland Casualty Company, Mendota Insurance Company, Mendakota Insurance Company, American Equity Insurance Company and American Equity Specialty Insurance Company. In January 2007, the Company reached a definitive agreement to sell Mendota Insurance Company and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mendakota Insurance Company.
(d) In December 2006, the Company reached a definitive agreement to sell its Mexican subsidiary, Afianzadora Insurgentes, S.A. de C.V.
The following table summarizes the current debt, preferred stock and commercial paper ratings of the Company and its subsidiaries by A.M. Best, Moodys, S&P and Fitch as of February 23, 2007. The table also presents the position of each rating in the applicable agencys rating scale.
Rating Agency Actions
The following rating agency actions were taken with respect to the Company in 2006 and through February 23, 2007:
· On February 2, 2006, Fitch affirmed all ratings of the Company, including the A- long-term issuer rating, A- ratings on the Companys senior unsecured notes, and BBB+ ratings on the Companys subordinated notes in capital securities. Additionally, Fitch affirmed the AA- insurer financial strength (IFS) ratings on members of the St. Paul Travelers Reinsurance Pool. The rating outlooks are stable.
· On May 3, 2006, Moodys affirmed the long-term debt ratings (senior unsecured debt at A3) of the Company and the IFS ratings on members of the St. Paul Travelers Reinsurance Pool (Aa3). The outlook for these ratings was changed to stable from negative.
· On May 30, 2006, A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A+ (Superior) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of aa- of St. Paul Travelers Insurance Companies and its property/casualty members. Concurrently, A.M. Best affirmed the debt ratings of a- on senior debt, bbb+ on subordinated debt, bbb on trust preferred securities, bbb on preferred stock and AMB-1 on commercial paper of The St. Paul Travelers Companies, Inc. Additionally, A.M. Best downgraded the FSR to A- (Excellent) from A (Excellent) and assigned an ICR of a- to First Floridian Auto and Home Insurance Company.
· On June 14, 2006, S&P raised its FSR ratings on the St. Paul Travelers Reinsurance Pool to AA- from A+ and raised its counterparty credit rating on The St. Paul Travelers Companies, Inc. to A- from BBB+. The ratings outlooks are stable.
· On June 15, 2006, S&P assigned its A- senior debt rating to the $800 million senior unsecured notes due in 2016 and 2036 issued by the Company in June 2006.
· On June 15, 2006, A.M. Best assigned a debt rating of a- to the $800 million senior unsecured notes due in 2016 and 2036 issued by the Company in June 2006.
· On June 15, 2006, Fitch announced that it expected to assign an A- debt rating to the $800 million senior unsecured notes due in 2016 and 2036 planned to be issued by the Company in June 2006. Subsequently, on June 19, 2006, Fitch assigned the A- debt rating to these senior notes.
· On June 16, 2006, Moodys assigned an A3 debt rating to the $800 million senior unsecured notes due in 2016 and 2036 issued by the Company in June 2006, and affirmed the stable outlook it had announced on May 3, 2006.
· On July 28, 2006, Fitch affirmed all ratings of The St. Paul Travelers Companies, Inc., including the issuer default rating of A, the A- ratings on senior unsecured notes and the BBB+ ratings on subordinated notes and capital securities. In addition, the AA- insurer financial strength ratings on members of the St. Paul Travelers Inter-Company Pool was affirmed. The ratings outlooks are stable.
· On December 18, 2006, A.M. Best reaffirmed the FSR of A- (Excellent) of Afianzadora Insurgentes, S.A. de C.V., the Companys Mexican subsidiary.
· On January 18, 2007, A.M. Best placed the FSR of A- (Excellent) of Afianzadora Insurgentes, S.A. de C.V., the Companys Mexican subsidiary, under review with negative implications. This rating action was a result of the Company having reached a definitive agreement to sell this surety company. The rating will remain under review until the sale is finalized.
· On January 24, 2007, A.M. Best placed the FSR of A (Excellent) and the ICR of a of Mendota Insurance Company and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mendakota Insurance Company, under review with negative implications. These ratings actions were the result of the Company having reached a definitive agreement to sell these subsidiaries. The ratings will remain under review pending regulatory approval and completion of the transaction. The ratings of the Northland Pool were unchanged.
A significant majority of funds available for investment are deployed in a widely diversified portfolio of high quality, liquid intermediate-term taxable U.S. government, corporate and mortgage backed bonds
and tax-exempt U.S. municipal bonds. The Company closely monitors the duration of its fixed maturity investments, and investment purchases and sales are executed with the objective of having adequate funds available to satisfy the Companys insurance and debt obligations. The Companys management of the duration of the fixed income investment portfolio generally produces a duration that modestly exceeds the duration of the Companys net insurance liabilities.
The primary goals of the Companys asset liability management process are to satisfy the insurance liabilities, manage the interest rate risk embedded in those insurance liabilities, and maintain sufficient liquidity to cover fluctuations in projected liability cash flows. Generally, the expected principal and interest payments produced by the Companys fixed income portfolio adequately fund the estimated runoff of the Companys insurance reserves. Although this is not an exact cash flow match in each period, the substantial degree by which the market value of the fixed income portfolio exceeds the present value of the net insurance liabilities, plus the positive cash flow from newly sold policies and the large amount of high quality liquid bonds provides assurance of the Companys ability to fund the payment of claims without having to sell illiquid assets or access credit facilities.
The Company also invests much smaller amounts in equity securities, venture capital and real estate. These investment classes have the potential for higher returns but also involve varying degrees of risk, including less stable rates of return and less liquidity.
See note 3 of notes to the Companys consolidated financial statements for additional information regarding the Companys investment portfolio.
See notes 1 and 14 of notes to the Companys consolidated financial statements for a discussion of the policies and transactions related to the Companys derivative financial instruments.
STAs insurance subsidiaries are subject to regulation in the various states and jurisdictions in which they transact business. The extent of regulation varies, but generally derives from statutes that delegate regulatory, supervisory and administrative authority to a department of insurance in each state. The regulation, supervision and administration relate, among other things, to standards of solvency that must be met and maintained, the licensing of insurers and their agents, the nature of and limitations on investments, premium rates, restrictions on the size of risks that may be insured under a single policy, reserves and provisions for unearned premiums, losses and other obligations, deposits of securities for the benefit of policyholders, approval of policy forms and the regulation of market conduct, including the use of credit information in underwriting as well as other underwriting and claims practices. In addition, many states have enacted variations of competitive ratemaking laws, which allow insurers to set certain premium rates for certain classes of insurance without having to obtain the prior approval of the state insurance department. State insurance departments also conduct periodic examinations of the financial condition and market conduct of insurance companies and require the filing of financial and other reports on a quarterly and annual basis. STAs insurance subsidiaries are collectively licensed to transact insurance business in all states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, Bermuda and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
As part of ongoing, industry-wide investigations, the Company has received subpoenas and written requests for information from government agencies and authorities, including 21 states and the SEC. The areas of inquiry addressed to the Company include the method by which brokers and agents are compensated. The Company is cooperating with these subpoenas and requests for information. As
described in more detail in Part I, Item 3Legal Proceedings herein, in August 2006, the Company entered into agreements with several of these states to resolve issues related to broker and agent compensation. The Company discontinued paying contingent commissions on excess casualty and umbrella business effective September 30, 2006. In addition, the Company discontinued paying contingent commissions for homeowners multi-peril, private passenger automobile physical damage, private passenger automobile no-fault, other private passenger automobile liability, boiler and machinery and financial guaranty insurance lines effective January 1, 2007. The Company has developed alternative compensation arrangements for these lines of business that compensate brokers and agents in a manner that differentiates for business performance and is consistent with all applicable laws. Beginning January 1, 2007, the Company is offering an optional fixed commission program for most commercial insurance lines.
STAs principal insurance subsidiaries are domiciled in the states of Connecticut and Minnesota. The insurance holding company laws of both states applicable to STAs subsidiaries require notice to, and approval by, the state insurance commissioner for the declaration or payment of any dividend, that together with other distributions made within the preceding twelve months, exceeds the greater of 10% of the insurers capital and surplus as of the preceding December 31, or the insurers net income for the twelve-month period ending the preceding December 31, in each case determined in accordance with statutory accounting practices and by state regulation. This declaration or payment is further limited by adjusted unassigned surplus, as determined in accordance with statutory accounting practices.
The insurance holding company laws of other states in which STAs insurance subsidiaries are domiciled generally contain similar, although in some instances somewhat more restrictive, limitations on the payment of dividends.
STAs insurance subsidiaries are subject to each states regulations regarding premium rate approvals. The applicable regulations are used by states to establish standards to ensure that rates are not excessive, inadequate, unfairly discriminatory, or used to engage in unfair price competition. An insurers ability to increase premiums and the relative timing of the process, are dependent upon each respective states requirements.