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Liberty Mutual Holdings Co. Inc. on Tuesday reported net income of $162 million for the fourth quarter of 2020, compared with a net loss of $301 million in the year-earlier period, due to favorable core underwriting results across the insurer’s Global Retail Markets and Global Risk Solutions businesses and strong investment returns.
In an earnings call Wednesday detailing the results, Liberty Mutual executives said the company had received more than 20,000 claims related to last week’s adverse weather events, primarily coming from policyholders in Texas and Oklahoma.
“It’s a little too early to frame what the total loss could be,” said David Long, Liberty Mutual’s chairman and CEO. “It’s going to be ugly, but not ugly enough to have reinsurance kick in.”
The Boston-based insurer’s net written premium for the quarter was $10.1 billion, a $344 million increase over the fourth quarter of 2019, and its combined ratio for the quarter was 101.9%, an improvement of 4.8 points from the same period in 2019.
The fourth-quarter 2020 results included $596 million in restructuring costs related to the implementation of an early retirement program that is expected to yield $260 million in annual run rate savings in 2022 and beyond, Tim Sweeney, president of GRM, said during the call.
The insurer reported full-year 2020 net income of $758 million, a 26.9% decrease from 2019. Net written premiums rose 2% to $40.6 billion The combined ratio for 2020 was 101.8%, a 0.1 point deterioration from 2019.
In the Global Retail Markets business, net written premium for the fourth quarter decreased 0.1% from the same period in 2019 to $6.67 billion.
The decline was driven by results in commercial auto, workers compensation and commercial multi-peril within U.S. business lines and risk appetite change in the west region, Mr. Sweeney said. He also noted that in GRM’s U.S. business line, auto frequency remained low in the quarter, partially offset by increased severity trends.
Net written premium for GRM for 2020 declined 1.3% from the previous year to $27.4 billion.
In the insurer’s Global Risk Solutions business, net written premium for the fourth quarter of 2020 totaled $3.43 billion, an 11.5% increase over the same quarter in 2019, partially driven by the specialty segment which saw a 24% renewal rate increase in the quarter — “well in excess of loss trends,” said Dennis Langwell, president of GRS.
Full-year net written premium for GRS was $13.35 billion, a 10.6% increase over 2019.
The insurer reported $115 million in COVID-19-related fourth-quarter losses, which Mr. Langwell attributed to several factors, including workers compensation reserves as a result of new reporting, potential increases in losses from deferred medical treatments, and event cancellations.
More insurance and risk management news on the coronavirus crisis here.