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Liberty Mutual tops 2014 with strong fourth quarter profit

Posted On: Mar. 3, 2015 12:00 AM CST

A focus on “deliberate underwriting actions and solid investment results” boosted profits and premiums in 2014 for Liberty Mutual Holding Co., though the insurer’s workers compensation business declined last year.

Liberty Mutual reported net income of $559 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, up 12.7% from the fourth quarter of 2013. Revenues for the fourth quarter last year reached $9.95 billion, down slightly from $9.96 billion the same period in 2013.

Liberty Mutual said its net written premiums increased 1.1% to $8.86 billion in the recent quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2013.

“Deliberate underwriting actions and solid investment results led to net operating income of $2.2 billion for the year, an increase of 16% despite higher catastrophe losses and continued low interest rates,” Liberty Mutual Chairman and CEO David H. Long said in a statement.

Net income for 2014 reached $1.83 billion for Liberty Mutual, up 5.2% from the prior year, while revenues for the full year climbed 3.2% to $39.63 billion last year.

Liberty Mutual net written premiums reached $36.28 billion for 2014, up from 3.3% from the prior year. The company reported a combined ratio of 97.5% last year, down from 99.7% in 2013.

Despite overall improvements in Liberty Mutual’s business, the insurer reported lower premiums last year for its workers comp segment.

Net written premiums for voluntary market workers comp policies declined to $479 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, down 12.9% from the fourth quarter of 2013. Voluntary workers comp net written premiums decreased to $2.15 billion for all of 2014, down 14% from the prior year.

Mr. Long said last year that the insurer is attempting to reduce its workers comp exposures. The company is the second largest workers comp insurer behind Travelers Cos. Inc., according to 2014 data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.