10-K 1 d400078d10k.htm FORM 10-K Form 10-K
Table of Contents

 

 

UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D. C. 20549

FORM 10-K

 

x   ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2012

OR

 

¨ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM ________ TO ________

Commission File No. 1-8661

The Chubb Corporation

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

New Jersey   13-2595722
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)   (I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
15 Mountain View Road  
Warren, New Jersey   07059
(Address of principal executive offices)   (Zip Code)

(908) 903-2000

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

(Title of each class)   (Name of each exchange on which registered)
Common Stock, par value $1 per share   New York Stock Exchange
Series B Participating Cumulative   New York Stock Exchange
Preferred Stock Purchase Rights  

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

(Title of class)

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.   Yes [ü]   No [    ]

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.   Yes [    ]   No [ü]

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 [ü]   No [    ]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).   Yes [ü]   No [    ]

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant’s 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.   [ü]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer   [ü]      Accelerated filer   [    ]
Non-accelerated filer   [    ]      Smaller reporting company   [    ]
(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)     

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).   Yes [    ]   No [ü]

The aggregate market value of common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was 19,297,403,749 as of June 30, 2012, computed on the basis of the closing sale price of the common stock on that date.

260,975,310

Number of shares of common stock outstanding as of February 8, 2013

Documents Incorporated by Reference

Portions of the definitive Proxy Statement for the 2013 Annual Meeting of Shareholders are incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K.

 

 

 


Table of Contents

CONTENTS

 

    

ITEM

  

DESCRIPTION

  

PAGE

PART I

  

1

  

Business    

   3
  

1A

  

Risk Factors

   14
  

1B

  

Unresolved Staff Comments

   23
  

2

  

Properties

   23
  

3

  

Legal Proceedings

   23

PART II

  

5

  

Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity,
Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

   25
  

6

  

Selected Financial Data

   27
  

7

  

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

   28
  

7A

  

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

   68
  

8

  

Consolidated Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

   72
  

9

  

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants
on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

   72
  

9A

  

Controls and Procedures

   72
  

9B

  

Other Information

   73

PART III

  

10

  

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

   75
  

11

  

Executive Compensation

   75
  

12

  

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

   75
  

13

  

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

   75
  

14

  

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

   75

PART IV

  

15

  

Exhibits, Financial Statements and Schedules

   75
     

Signatures

   76
     

Index to Financial Statements and Financial Statement Schedules

   F-1
     

Exhibits Index

   E-1

 

EX-10.32

 

EX-10.37

 

EX-12.1

 

EX-21.1

 

EX-23.1

 

EX-31.1

 

EX-31.2

 

EX-32.1

 

EX-32.2

 

EX-101

  Instance Document

EX-101

  Schema Document

EX-101

  Calculation Linkbase Document

EX-101

  Labels Linkbase Document

EX-101

  Presentation Linkbase Document

EX-101

  Definition Linkbase Document

 

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Table of Contents

PART I.

 

Item 1. Business

General

The Chubb Corporation (Chubb) was incorporated as a business corporation under the laws of the State of New Jersey in June 1967. In this document, Chubb and its subsidiaries are referred to collectively as the Corporation. Chubb is a holding company for several, separately organized, property and casualty insurance companies referred to informally as the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies (the P&C Group). Since 1882, insurance companies or predecessor companies included in the P&C Group have provided property and casualty insurance to businesses and individuals around the world. According to A.M. Best, the U.S. companies of the P&C Group constitute the 12th largest U.S. property and casualty insurance group based on 2011 net written premiums.

At December 31, 2012, the Corporation had total assets of $52.2 billion and shareholders’ equity of $15.8 billion. Revenues, income before income tax and assets for each operating segment for the three years ended December 31, 2012 are included in Note (14) of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements. The Corporation employed approximately 10,200 persons worldwide on December 31, 2012.

Chubb’s principal executive offices are located at 15 Mountain View Road, Warren, New Jersey 07059, and the telephone number is (908) 903-2000.

The Corporation’s Internet address is www.chubb.com. Chubb’s annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports, if any, filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 are available free of charge on this website as soon as reasonably practicable after they have been electronically filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Chubb’s Corporate Governance Guidelines, charters of the independent committees of its Board of Directors, Restated Certificate of Incorporation, By-Laws, Code of Business Conduct and Code of Ethics for CEO and Senior Financial Officers are also available on the Corporation’s website or by writing to Chubb’s Corporate Secretary.

Property and Casualty Insurance

The P&C Group consists of subsidiaries domiciled both in and outside the United States. Federal Insurance Company (Federal) is the largest insurance subsidiary in the P&C Group and is the direct parent company of most of Chubb’s other insurance subsidiaries. Chubb & Son, a division of Federal (Chubb & Son), is the manager of several U.S. subsidiaries in the P&C Group. Chubb & Son also provides certain services to other insurance companies included in the P&C Group. Acting subject to the supervision and control of the respective boards of directors of the insurance companies included in the P&C Group, Chubb & Son provides day to day management and operating personnel. This arrangement offers the P&C Group operational efficiencies through economies of scale and flexibility.

The principal insurance companies included in the P&C Group that are based in the United States are:

 

Federal Insurance Company    Chubb Custom Insurance Company
Pacific Indemnity Company    Chubb National Insurance Company
Executive Risk Indemnity Inc.    Executive Risk Specialty Insurance Company
Great Northern Insurance Company    Chubb Lloyds Insurance Company of Texas
Vigilant Insurance Company    Chubb Insurance Company of New Jersey
Chubb Indemnity Insurance Company   

The principal insurance companies included in the P&C Group that are based outside the United States are:

 

Chubb Insurance Company of Europe SE    Chubb Insurance Company of Australia Ltd.
Chubb Insurance Company of Canada    Chubb Argentina de Seguros, S.A.
Chubb do Brasil Companhia de Seguros   

 

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In addition to the subsidiaries listed above, the P&C Group has insurance subsidiaries based in locations outside the United States, including Mexico, Colombia and Chile. Federal has several branches based in locations outside the United States, including Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Property and casualty insurance policies are separately issued by individual companies included within the P&C Group. The P&C Group operates through three strategic business units: Chubb Personal Insurance, Chubb Commercial Insurance and Chubb Specialty Insurance. For the year ended December 31, 2012, Chubb Personal Insurance, Chubb Commercial Insurance and Chubb Specialty Insurance represented 35%, 43% and 22%, respectively, of Chubb’s total net written premiums.

Chubb Personal Insurance offers personal insurance products for homes and valuable articles (such as art and jewelry), primarily for high net worth individuals. The homeowners business represents more than half of the total net written premiums of Chubb Personal Insurance. Chubb Personal Insurance also offers personal insurance products for fine automobiles and yachts as well as personal liability insurance (both primary and excess). In addition, it provides personal accident and supplemental health insurance to a wide range of customers including businesses.

The largest market for Chubb Personal Insurance products is the United States. The largest markets for our homeowners and automobile insurance products outside the United States are Canada, Brazil and Europe. The largest markets for our accident and health insurance products are Latin America (primarily Brazil), the United States and Europe.

Chubb Commercial Insurance offers a broad range of commercial insurance products. Our underwriting strategy focuses on specific industry segments and niches. Much of our commercial customer base is comprised of mid-sized commercial entities. Our insurance offerings include multiple peril, primary liability, excess and umbrella liability, automobile, workers’ compensation and property and marine. The largest market for Chubb Commercial Insurance products is the United States. The largest markets for our commercial products outside the United States are Europe, Canada and Australia.

Chubb Specialty Insurance offers a wide variety of specialized professional liability products for privately held and publicly traded companies, financial institutions, professional firms, healthcare and not-for-profit organizations. Chubb Specialty Insurance products primarily include directors and officers liability insurance, errors and omissions liability insurance, employment practices liability insurance, fiduciary liability insurance and commercial and financial fidelity insurance. The largest market for these products is the United States. Outside the United States, the largest markets for these products are Europe, Canada and Australia. Chubb Specialty Insurance also offers surety products, primarily in the United States and Latin America.

Premiums Written

A summary of the P&C Group’s premiums written during the past three years is shown in the following table:

 

Year

     Direct
Premiums
Written
       Assumed
Reinsurance
Premiums (a)
       Ceded
Reinsurance
Premiums (a)
       Net
Premiums
Written
 
       (in millions)  

2012

     $ 12,647         $ 423         $ 1,200         $ 11,870   

2011

       12,452           398           1,092           11,758   

2010

       12,072           271           1,107           11,236   

 

  (a) Intercompany items eliminated.

The net premiums written during the last three years for major classes of the P&C Group’s business are included in the Property and Casualty Insurance — Underwriting Results section of Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A).

 

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One or more members of the P&C Group are licensed and transact business in each of the 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, some of the territories of the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and parts of Latin America and Asia. In accordance with applicable licensing laws, members of the P&C Group are permitted to write business in jurisdictions beyond their state or country of domicile. In 2012, approximately 76% of the P&C Group’s direct premiums written was produced in the United States, where the P&C Group’s businesses enjoy broad geographic distribution with a particularly strong market presence in the Northeast. The five states in the United States accounting for the largest amounts of direct premiums written were New York with 12%, California with 9%, Texas with 5%, Florida with 4% and New Jersey with 4%. Of the approximately 24% of the P&C Group’s 2012 direct premiums written that were produced outside of the United States, approximately 5% were produced in Canada, 5% in the United Kingdom, 4% in Brazil and 3% in Australia. The P&C Group also produced business outside the United States in additional locations, including other countries in Europe, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Korea, Singapore, Chile, Hong Kong, China and Japan. We generally define the location of where premiums were produced as the location of the risk associated with the underlying policies. The method of determining location of risk varies by class of business. Location of risk for property classes is typically based on the physical location of the covered property, while location of risk for liability classes may be based on the main location of the insured, or in the case of the workers’ compensation line, the primary work location of the covered employee. Revenues of the P&C Group by geographic zone for the three years ended December 31, 2012 are included in Note (14) of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

Underwriting Results

A frequently used industry measurement of property and casualty insurance underwriting results is the combined loss and expense ratio. The P&C Group uses the combined loss and expense ratio calculated in accordance with statutory accounting principles applicable to property and casualty insurance companies. This ratio is the sum of the ratio of losses and loss expenses to premiums earned (loss ratio) plus the ratio of statutory underwriting expenses to premiums written (expense ratio) after reducing both premium amounts by dividends to policyholders. When the combined ratio is under 100%, underwriting results are generally considered profitable; when the combined ratio is over 100%, underwriting results are generally considered unprofitable. Investment income is not reflected in the combined ratio. The profitability of property and casualty insurance companies depends on the results of both underwriting and investments operations.

The combined loss and expense ratios during the last three years in total and for the major classes of the P&C Group’s business are included in the Property and Casualty Insurance — Underwriting Operations section of MD&A.

Another frequently used measurement in the property and casualty insurance industry is the ratio of statutory net premiums written to policyholders’ surplus. At December 31, 2012 and 2011, the ratio for the P&C Group was 0.84.

Producing and Servicing of Business

In the United States, the P&C Group primarily offers products through independent insurance agencies and accepts business on a regular basis from insurance brokers. These include major international, national, regional and local agencies and brokers. In most instances, our agents and brokers also offer insurance products of other companies that compete with the P&C Group’s insurance products. Certain of our products are also distributed through managing general agents and other wholesale agencies and brokers. Chubb & Son maintains administrative offices in Warren and Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, as well as local offices throughout the United States. These local offices assist in producing and servicing the P&C Group’s business.

 

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Certain business of the P&C Group in the United States is produced through participation in certain underwriting pools and syndicates. Such pools and syndicates provide underwriting capacity for risks which an individual insurer cannot prudently underwrite because of the magnitude of the risk assumed or which can be more effectively handled by one organization due to the need for specialized loss control and other services.

Outside the United States, the P&C Group primarily offers products through international, national, regional and local insurance brokers. Local offices of the P&C Group assist the brokers in producing and servicing the business. Certain products (in particular, personal automobile and accident and health products) also are distributed through managing general agents, business centers, alliances with financial institutions and other businesses, automobile dealers, affinity groups and direct marketing operations. In addition, the Corporation has a Lloyds syndicate, Chubb Syndicate 1882, to enhance the P&C Group’s product distribution and ability to offer certain products.

In addition to insurance products issued directly to insureds, the P&C Group, to a far lesser extent, assumes reinsurance from other insurance carriers for some lines of business both inside and outside the United States. The P&C Group assumes reinsurance on a risk-by-risk, or facultative, basis and on a treaty basis where an agreed-upon portion of business is automatically reinsured.

Reinsurance Ceded

In accordance with the standard practice of the insurance industry, the P&C Group purchases reinsurance from reinsurers. The P&C Group cedes reinsurance to provide greater diversification of risk and to limit the P&C Group’s maximum net loss arising from large risks or from catastrophic events.

A large portion of the P&C Group’s ceded reinsurance is effected under contracts known as treaties under which all risks meeting prescribed criteria are automatically covered. Most of the P&C Group’s treaty reinsurance arrangements consist of excess of loss and catastrophe contracts that protect against a specified part or all of certain types of losses over stipulated amounts arising from any one occurrence or event. In certain circumstances, reinsurance is also effected by negotiation on individual risks, referred to as facultative reinsurance. The amount of each risk retained by the P&C Group is subject to maximum limits that vary by line of business and type of coverage. Retention limits are regularly reviewed and are revised periodically as the P&C Group’s capacity to underwrite risks changes. For a discussion of the P&C Group’s reinsurance program and the cost and availability of reinsurance, see the Property and Casualty Insurance — Underwriting Results section of MD&A.

Ceded reinsurance contracts do not relieve the P&C Group of the primary obligation to its policyholders. Consequently, an exposure exists with respect to reinsurance recoverable to the extent that any reinsurer is unable to meet its obligations or disputes the liabilities assumed under the reinsurance contracts. The collectibility of reinsurance is subject to the solvency of the reinsurers, coverage interpretations and other factors. The P&C Group is selective in regard to its reinsurers, placing reinsurance with only those reinsurers that the P&C Group believes have strong balance sheets and superior underwriting ability. The P&C Group monitors the financial strength of its reinsurers and its concentration of risk with reinsurers on an ongoing basis.

Unpaid Losses and Loss Adjustment Expenses and Related Amounts Recoverable from Reinsurers

Insurance companies are required to establish a liability in their accounts for the ultimate costs (including loss adjustment expenses) of claims that have been reported but not settled and of claims that have been incurred but not reported. Insurance companies are also required to report as assets the portion of such liability that will be recovered from reinsurers.

The process of establishing the liability for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses is complex and imprecise as it must take into consideration many variables that are subject to the outcome of future events. As a result, informed subjective estimates and judgments as to our ultimate exposure to losses are an integral component of our loss reserving process.

 

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The anticipated effect of inflation is implicitly considered when estimating liabilities for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses. Estimates of the ultimate value of all unpaid losses are based in part on the development of paid losses, which reflect actual inflation. Inflation is also reflected in the case estimates established on reported open claims which, when combined with paid losses, form another basis to derive estimates of reserves for all unpaid losses. There is no precise method for subsequently evaluating the adequacy of the consideration given to inflation, since claim settlements are affected by many factors.

The P&C Group continues to emphasize early and accurate reserving, inventory management of claims and lawsuits, and control of the dollar value of settlements. The number of outstanding claims at year-end 2012 was approximately 7% higher than the number at year-end 2011 primarily due to an increase in outstanding catastrophe claims. The number of new arising claims during 2012 was approximately 7% lower than in the prior year.

Additional information related to the P&C Group’s estimates related to unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses and the uncertainties in the estimation process is presented in the Property and Casualty Insurance — Loss Reserves section of MD&A.

The table on page 8 presents the subsequent development of the estimated year-end liability for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses, net of reinsurance recoverable, for the ten years prior to 2012.

The top line of the table shows the estimated net liability for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses recorded at the balance sheet date for each of the indicated years. This liability represents the estimated amount of losses and loss adjustment expenses for claims arising in all years prior to the balance sheet date that were unpaid at the balance sheet date, including losses that had been incurred but not yet reported to the P&C Group.

The upper section of the table shows the reestimated amount of the previously recorded net liability based on experience as of the end of each succeeding year. The estimate is increased or decreased as more information becomes known about the frequency and severity of losses for each individual year. The increase or decrease is reflected in operating results of the period in which the estimate is changed. The “cumulative net deficiency (redundancy)” as shown in the table represents the aggregate change in the reserve estimates from the original balance sheet dates through December 31, 2012. The amounts noted are cumulative in nature; that is, an increase in a loss estimate that is related to a prior period occurrence generates a deficiency in each intermediate year. For example, a deficiency recognized in 2012 relating to losses incurred prior to December 31, 2002 would be included in the cumulative deficiency amount for each year in the period 2002 through 2011. Yet, the deficiency would be reflected in operating results only in 2012. The effect of changes in estimates of the liabilities for losses occurring in prior years on income before income taxes in each of the past three years is shown in the reconciliation of the beginning and ending liability for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses in the Property and Casualty Insurance — Loss Reserves section of MD&A.

 

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ANALYSIS OF LOSS AND LOSS ADJUSTMENT EXPENSE DEVELOPMENT

 

   

                                                                         December 31                                                                        

 

Year Ended

 

2002

   

2003

   

2004

   

2005

   

2006

   

2007

   

2008

   

2009

   

2010

   

2011

   

2012

 
    (in millions)  

Net Liability for Unpaid Losses and Loss Adjustment Expenses

  $ 12,642      $ 14,521      $ 16,809      $ 18,713      $ 19,699      $ 20,316      $ 20,155      $ 20,786      $ 20,901      $ 21,329      $ 22,022   

Net Liability Reestimated as of:

                     

One year later

    13,039        14,848        16,972        18,417        19,002        19,443        19,393        20,040        20,134        20,715     

Two years later

    13,634        15,315        17,048        17,861        18,215        18,619        18,685        19,229        19,494       

Three years later

    14,407        15,667        16,725        17,298        17,571        18,049        17,965        18,638         

Four years later

    14,842        15,584        16,526        16,884        17,184        17,510        17,463           

Five years later

    14,907        15,657        16,411        16,636        16,829        17,139             

Six years later

    15,064        15,798        16,310        16,459        16,605               

Seven years later

    15,255        15,802        16,231        16,350                 

Eight years later

    15,305        15,801        16,178                   

Nine years later

    15,323        15,816                     

Ten years later

    15,362                       

Total Cumulative Net Deficiency (Redundancy)

    2,720        1,295        (631     (2,363     (3,094     (3,177     (2,692     (2,148     (1,407     (614  

Cumulative Net Deficiency Related to Asbestos and Toxic Waste Claims (Included in Above Total)

    863        613        538        503        479        391        306        216        155        83     

Cumulative Amount of
Net Liability Paid as of:

                     

One year later

    3,550        3,478        3,932        4,118        4,066        4,108        4,063        4,074        4,300        4,493     

Two years later

    5,911        6,161        6,616        6,896        6,789        6,565        6,711        6,831        7,011       

Three years later

    7,945        8,192        8,612        8,850        8,554        8,436        8,605        8,696         

Four years later

    9,396        9,689        10,048        10,089        9,884        9,734        9,840           

Five years later

    10,543        10,794        10,977        10,994        10,821        10,588             

Six years later

    11,353        11,530        11,606        11,697        11,426               

Seven years later

    11,915        12,037        12,149        12,163                 

Eight years later

    12,292        12,497        12,519                   

Nine years later

    12,652        12,807                     

Ten years later

    12,898                       

Gross Liability, End of Year

  $ 16,713      $ 17,948      $ 20,292      $ 22,482      $ 22,293      $ 22,623      $ 22,367      $ 22,839      $ 22,718      $ 23,068      $ 23,963   

Reinsurance Recoverable, End of Year

    4,071        3,427        3,483        3,769        2,594        2,307        2,212        2,053        1,817        1,739        1,941   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net Liability, End of Year

  $ 12,642      $ 14,521      $ 16,809      $ 18,713      $ 19,699      $ 20,316      $ 20,155      $ 20,786      $ 20,901      $ 21,329      $ 22,022   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Reestimated Gross Liability

  $ 20,240      $ 19,674      $ 19,621      $ 19,854      $ 19,052      $ 19,271      $ 19,539      $ 20,584      $ 21,220      $ 22,380     

Reestimated Reinsurance Recoverable

    4,878        3,858        3,443        3,504        2,447        2,132        2,076        1,946        1,726        1,665     
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

Reestimated Net Liability

  $ 15,362      $ 15,816      $ 16,178      $ 16,350      $ 16,605      $ 17,139      $ 17,463      $ 18,638      $ 19,494      $ 20,715     
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

Cumulative Gross Deficiency (Redundancy)

  $ 3,527      $ 1,726      $ (671   $ (2,628   $ (3,241   $ (3,352   $ (2,828   $ (2,255   $ (1,498   $ (688  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

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The subsequent development of the net liability for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses as of year-ends 2002 and 2003 was adversely affected by significant unfavorable development related to asbestos and toxic waste claims. The cumulative net deficiencies experienced related to asbestos and toxic waste claims were the result of: (1) an increase in the actual number of claims filed; (2) an increase in the estimated number of potential claims; (3) an increase in the severity of actual and potential claims; (4) an adverse litigation environment; and (5) an increase in litigation costs associated with such claims. For the years 2002 and 2003, in addition to the unfavorable development related to asbestos and toxic waste claims, there was substantial unfavorable development in the professional liability classes — principally directors and officers liability and errors and omissions liability, due in large part to adverse loss trends related to corporate failures and allegations of management misconduct and accounting irregularities — and, to a lesser extent, workers’ compensation and commercial casualty classes. For the years 2004 through 2011, unfavorable development related to asbestos and toxic waste claims was more than offset by substantial favorable development, primarily in the professional liability and commercial casualty classes due to favorable loss trends and in the commercial property and homeowners classes due to lower than expected emergence of losses.

Conditions and trends that have affected development of the liability for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses in the past will not necessarily recur in the future. Accordingly, it is not appropriate to extrapolate future redundancies or deficiencies based on the data in this table.

The middle section of the table on page 8 shows the cumulative amount paid with respect to the reestimated net liability as of the end of each succeeding year. For example, in the 2002 column, as of December 31, 2012 the P&C Group had paid $12,898 million of the currently estimated $15,362 million of net losses and loss adjustment expenses that were unpaid at the end of 2002; thus, an estimated $2,464 million of net losses incurred on or before December 31, 2002 remain unpaid as of December 31, 2012, approximately 35% of which relates to asbestos and toxic waste claims.

The lower section of the table on page 8 shows the gross liability, reinsurance recoverable and net liability recorded at the balance sheet date for each of the indicated years and the reestimation of these amounts as of December 31, 2012.

The liability for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses, net of reinsurance recoverable, reported in the accompanying consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) comprises the liabilities of the member companies, both inside and outside the United States, of the P&C Group as follows:

 

     December 31  
     2012        2011  
     (in millions)  

U.S. subsidiaries

   $ 18,000         $ 17,500   

Outside U.S. subsidiaries

     4,022           3,829   
  

 

 

      

 

 

 
   $ 22,022         $ 21,329   
  

 

 

      

 

 

 

Members of the P&C Group are required to file annual statements with insurance regulatory authorities prepared on an accounting basis prescribed or permitted by such authorities (statutory basis). The difference between the liability for unpaid losses and loss expenses, net of reinsurance recoverable, reported in the statutory basis financial statements of the U.S. members of the P&C Group and such liability reported on a GAAP basis in the consolidated financial statements is not significant.

Investments

Investment decisions are centrally managed by the Corporation’s investment professionals based on guidelines established by management and approved by the respective boards of directors for each company in the P&C Group. The P&C Group’s investment portfolio primarily comprises high quality bonds, principally tax exempt securities, corporate bonds, mortgage-backed securities and U.S. Treasury securities, as well as foreign government and corporate bonds that support operations outside the United States. The portfolio also includes equity securities, primarily publicly traded common stocks, and other invested assets, primarily private equity limited partnerships, all of which are held with the primary objective of capital appreciation.

 

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Additional information about the Corporation’s investment portfolio as well as its approach to managing risks is presented in the Invested Assets section of MD&A, the Investment Portfolio section of Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk and Note (3) of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

The investment results of the P&C Group for each of the past three years are shown in the following table:

 

     Average
Invested

Assets(a)
     Investment
Income(b)
     Percent Earned  

Year

         Before Tax     After Tax  
     (in millions)               

2012

   $ 38,598       $ 1,482         3.84     3.12

2011

     38,901         1,562         4.02        3.25   

2010

     38,288         1,558         4.07        3.29   

 

  (a) Average of amounts with fixed maturity securities at amortized cost, equity securities at fair value and other invested assets, which include private equity limited partnerships carried at the P&C Group’s equity in the net assets of the partnerships.
  (b) Investment income after deduction of investment expenses, but before applicable income tax.

Competition

The property and casualty insurance industry is highly competitive both as to price and service with numerous property and casualty insurance companies operating in the United States and in most of the jurisdictions outside the United States in which the P&C Group writes business. These other insurers may operate independently or in groups. We do not believe that any single company or group is dominant across all lines of business or jurisdictions.

Members of the P&C Group compete not only with other stock companies but also with mutual companies, other underwriting organizations and alternative risk sharing mechanisms. Some competitors produce their business at a lower cost through the use of salaried personnel rather than independent agents and brokers. Rates are not uniform among insurers and vary according to the types of insurers, product coverage and methods of operation. The P&C Group competes for business not only on the basis of price, but also on the basis of financial strength, availability of coverage desired by customers and quality of service, including claim adjustment service. The P&C Group works closely with its distribution network of agents and brokers, as well as customers, to reinforce with them the stability, expertise and added value the P&C Group provides. The relatively large size and underwriting capacity of the P&C Group provide it opportunities not available to smaller companies.

The P&C Group’s products and services are generally designed to serve specific customer groups or needs and to offer a degree of customization that is of value to the insured. The P&C Group’s presence in many countries around the globe enables it to deliver products that satisfy the property and casualty insurance needs of both local and multinational customers.

Regulation and Premium Rates

Regulation in the United States

In the United States, Chubb and the companies within the P&C Group are subject to regulation by certain states as members of an insurance holding company system. All states have enacted legislation that regulates insurance holding company systems such as the Corporation. This legislation generally provides that each insurance company in the system is required to register with the department of insurance of its state of domicile and furnish information concerning the operations of companies within the holding company system that may materially affect the operations, management or financial condition of the insurers within the system. Notice to the insurance commissioners is required prior to the consummation of transactions affecting the ownership or control of an insurer and of certain material transactions between an insurer and any person in its holding company system and, in addition,

 

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certain of such transactions cannot be consummated without the commissioners’ prior approval. Recent amendments to the model holding company law and regulation adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and passed by some state legislatures will require insurance holding company systems to provide regulators with more information about the risks posed by any non-insurance company subsidiaries in the holding company system.

Companies within the P&C Group are subject to regulation and supervision in the respective states in which they do business. In general, such regulation is designed to protect the interests of policyholders, and not necessarily the interests of insurers, their shareholders and other stakeholders. The extent of such regulation varies but generally has its source in statutes that delegate regulatory, supervisory and administrative powers to a department of insurance. Federal is incorporated as an Indiana stock insurance company. As such, the State of Indiana’s Department of Insurance is the P&C Group’s primary regulator.

State insurance departments impose regulations that, among other things, establish the standards of solvency that must be met and maintained. The NAIC has a risk-based capital requirement for property and casualty insurance companies. The risk-based capital formula is used by all state regulatory authorities to identify insurance companies that may be undercapitalized and that merit further regulatory attention. The formula prescribes a series of risk measurements to determine a minimum capital amount for an insurance company, based on the profile of the individual company. The ratio of a company’s actual policyholders’ surplus to its minimum capital requirement will determine whether any state regulatory action is required. At December 31, 2012, the policyholder’s surplus of each of the U.S. companies in the P&C Group exceeded the applicable risk-based capital requirement. The NAIC periodically reviews the risk-based capital formula and changes to the formula could be considered in the future. The NAIC recently has undertaken a Solvency Modernization Initiative focused on updating the U.S. insurance solvency regulation framework, including capital requirements, governance and risk management, group supervision, accounting and financial reporting and reinsurance. Among the changes under consideration by the NAIC is implementation of an Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA) rule that would require insurers to measure and share with solvency regulators their internal assessment of capital needs for the entire holding company group, including non-insurance subsidiaries. A significant focus of the ORSA rules and other Solvency Modernization Initiative efforts has been on the adequacy and quality of insurance company enterprise risk management.

State insurance departments also administer other aspects of insurance regulation and supervision that affect the P&C Group’s operations including: the licensing of insurers and their agents; restrictions on insurance policy terminations; unfair trade practices; the nature of and limitations on investments; premium rates; restrictions on the size of risks that may be insured under a single policy; deposits of securities for the benefit of policyholders; approval of policy forms; periodic examinations of the affairs of insurance companies; annual and other reports required to be filed on the financial condition of companies or for other purposes; limitations on dividends to policyholders and shareholders; and the adequacy of provisions for unearned premiums, unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses, both reported and unreported, and other liabilities.

Regulatory requirements applying to premium rates vary from state to state, but generally provide that rates cannot be excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory. In many states, these regulatory requirements can impact the P&C Group’s ability to change rates, particularly with respect to personal lines products such as automobile and homeowners insurance, without prior regulatory approval. For example, in certain states there are measures that limit the use of catastrophe models or credit scoring in ratemaking and, at times, some states have adopted premium rate freezes or rate rollbacks. State limitations on the ability to cancel or non-renew certain policies also can affect the P&C Group’s ability to charge adequate rates.

 

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Subject to legislative and regulatory requirements, the P&C Group’s management determines the prices charged for its policies based on a variety of factors including loss and loss adjustment expense experience, inflation, anticipated changes in the legal environment, both judicial and legislative, and tax law and rate changes. Methods for arriving at prices vary by type of business, exposure assumed and size of risk. Underwriting profitability is affected by the accuracy of these assumptions, by the willingness of insurance regulators to approve changes in those rates that they control and by certain other matters, such as underwriting selectivity and expense control.

In all states, insurers authorized to transact certain classes of property and casualty insurance are required to become members of an insolvency fund. In the event of the insolvency of a licensed insurer writing a class of insurance covered by the fund in the state, companies in the P&C Group, together with the other fund members, are assessed in order to provide the funds necessary to pay certain claims against the insolvent insurer. Generally, fund assessments are proportionately based on the members’ written premiums for the classes of insurance written by the insolvent insurer. In certain states, the P&C Group can recover a portion of these assessments through premium tax offsets or policyholder surcharges. In 2012, assessments of the members of the P&C Group were insignificant. The amount of future assessments cannot be reasonably estimated and can vary significantly from year to year.

Insurance regulation in certain states requires the companies in the P&C Group, together with other insurers operating in the state, to participate in assigned risk plans, reinsurance facilities and joint underwriting associations, which are mechanisms that generally provide applicants with various basic insurance coverages when they are not available in voluntary markets. Such mechanisms are most prevalent for automobile and workers’ compensation insurance, but a majority of states also mandate that insurers, such as the P&C Group, participate in Fair Plans or Windstorm Plans, which offer basic property coverages to insureds where not otherwise available. Some states also require insurers to participate in facilities that provide homeowners, crime and other classes of insurance when periodic market constrictions may occur. Participation is based upon the amount of a company’s voluntary written premiums in a particular state for the classes of insurance involved. These involuntary market plans generally are underpriced and produce unprofitable underwriting results.

In several states, insurers, including members of the P&C Group, participate in market assistance plans. Typically, a market assistance plan is voluntary, of limited duration and operates under the supervision of the insurance commissioner to provide assistance to applicants unable to obtain commercial and personal liability and property insurance. The assistance may range from identifying sources where coverage may be obtained to pooling of risks among the participating insurers. A few states require insurers, including members of the P&C Group, to purchase reinsurance from a mandatory reinsurance fund.

Although the federal government and its regulatory agencies generally do not directly regulate the business of insurance, federal initiatives often have an impact on the business in a variety of ways. Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, signed into law in July 2010, two federal government bodies, the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) and the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), were created which may impact the regulation of insurance. Although the FIO is prohibited from directly regulating the business of insurance, it has authority to represent the United States in international insurance matters and has limited powers to preempt certain types of state insurance laws. The FIO also can recommend to the FSOC that it designate an insurer as an entity posing risks to U.S. financial stability in the event of the insurer’s material financial distress or failure. An insurer so designated by FSOC could be subject to Federal Reserve supervision and heightened prudential standards. Other current and proposed federal measures that may significantly affect the P&C Group’s business and the market as a whole include those concerning federal terrorism insurance, tort law, natural catastrophes, corporate governance, ergonomics, health care reform including the containment of medical costs, privacy, e-commerce, international trade, federal regulation of insurance companies and the taxation of insurance companies.

Companies in the P&C Group are also affected by a variety of state and federal legislative and regulatory measures as well as by decisions of their courts that define and extend the risks and benefits

 

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for which insurance is provided. These include: redefinitions of risk exposure in areas such as water damage, including mold, flood and storm surge; products liability and commercial general liability; credit scoring; and extension and protection of employee benefits, including workers’ compensation and disability benefits.

Regulation outside the United States

Outside the United States, the extent of insurance regulation varies significantly among the countries in which the P&C Group operates, and regulatory and political developments in international markets could impact the P&C Group’s business. Some countries have minimal regulatory requirements, while others, such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, regulate insurers extensively; however, virtually all countries impose some form of licensing, solvency, auditing and financial reporting requirements. Some countries also regulate insurance rates and/or policy forms. Overall, there appears to be a general movement towards greater regulatory oversight of insurance carriers, particularly with respect to capital adequacy and solvency requirements. In some jurisdictions, foreign insurers are subject to greater restrictions than domestic companies, including requirements related to records, limitations on reinsurance ceded to affiliated insurers/reinsurers and local retention of funds.

Regulators in many countries are working with the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) to consider changes to insurance company solvency standards and group supervision of companies in a holding company system, including non-insurance companies. These IAIS initiatives include a set of Insurance Core Principles (ICPs) for a globally-accepted framework for insurance sector regulation and supervision, as well as the Common Framework for the Supervision of Internationally Active Insurance Groups (ComFrame). The IAIS also is working on a process to recommend insurers for designation by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) as Global Systemically Important Insurers (G-SIIs), as well as policy measures that could be applied to any insurer designated as a G-SII. These policy measures may include heightened supervision and prudential standards. The European Union Solvency II directive, being implemented to harmonize insurance regulation across the European Union member states, will require regulated companies such as the P&C Group’s European operations to meet new requirements in relation to risk and capital management. The Solvency II directive is currently scheduled to take effect January 1, 2016, but it is possible that full effectiveness may be later.

Regulatory Coordination

State regulators in the United States and regulatory agencies outside the United States are increasingly coordinating the regulation of multinational insurers by conducting a supervisory college. A supervisory college, as defined by the IAIS, is “a forum for cooperation and communication between the involved supervisors established for the fundamental purpose of facilitating the effectiveness of supervision of entities which belong to an insurance group; facilitate both the supervision of the group as a whole on a group-wide basis and improving the legal entity supervision of the entities within the insurance group.”

Real Estate

The Corporation’s wholly owned subsidiary, Bellemead Development Corporation, and its subsidiaries were involved in commercial development activities primarily in New Jersey and residential development activities primarily in central Florida. The real estate operations are in runoff.

Chubb Financial Solutions

Chubb Financial Solutions (CFS) provided customized financial products, primarily derivative financial instruments, to corporate clients. CFS has been in runoff since 2003. Since that date, CFS has terminated early or run off nearly all of its contractual obligations within its financial products portfolio. Additional information related to CFS’s operations is included in the Corporate and Other — Chubb Financial Solutions section of MD&A.

 

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Item 1A. Risk Factors

The Corporation’s business is subject to a number of risks, including those described below, that could have a material effect on the Corporation’s results of operations, financial condition or liquidity and that could cause our operating results to vary significantly from period to period. References to “we,” “us” and “our” appearing in this Form 10-K should be read as referring to the Corporation.

If our property and casualty loss reserves are insufficient, our results could be adversely affected.

The process of establishing loss reserves is complex and imprecise because it must take into consideration many variables that are subject to the outcome of future events. As a result, informed subjective estimates and judgments as to our ultimate exposure to losses are an integral component of our loss reserving process. Variations between our loss reserve estimates and the actual emergence of losses could be material and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.

A further discussion of the risk factors related to our property and casualty loss reserves is presented in the Property and Casualty Insurance — Loss Reserves section of MD&A.

Cyclicality of the property and casualty insurance industry may cause fluctuations in our results.

The property and casualty insurance business historically has been cyclical, experiencing periods characterized by intense price competition, relatively low premium rates and less restrictive underwriting standards followed by periods of relatively low levels of competition, high premium rates and more selective underwriting standards. We expect this cyclicality to continue. The periods of intense price competition in the cycle could adversely affect our financial condition, profitability or cash flows.

A number of factors, including many that are volatile and unpredictable, can have a significant impact on cyclical trends in the property and casualty insurance industry and the industry’s profitability. These factors include:

 

   

an apparent trend of courts to grant increasingly larger awards for certain damages;

 

   

catastrophic hurricanes, windstorms, earthquakes and other natural disasters, as well as the occurrence of man-made disasters (e.g., a terrorist attack);

 

   

availability, price and terms of reinsurance;

 

   

fluctuations in interest rates;

 

   

changes in the investment environment that affect market prices of and income and returns on investments; and

 

   

inflationary pressures that may tend to affect the size of losses experienced by insurance companies.

We cannot predict whether or when market conditions will improve, remain constant or deteriorate. Negative market conditions may impair our ability to write insurance at rates that we consider appropriate relative to the risk assumed. If we cannot write insurance at appropriate rates, our ability to transact business would be materially and adversely affected.

The effects of emerging claim and coverage issues on our business are uncertain.

As industry practices and legal, judicial, social, environmental and other conditions change, unexpected or unintended issues related to claims and coverage may emerge. These issues may adversely affect our business by either extending coverage beyond our underwriting intent or by increasing the number or size of claims. In some instances, these issues may not become apparent for some time after we have written the insurance policies that are affected by such issues. As a result, the full extent of liability under our insurance policies may not be known for many years after the policies are issued. Emerging claim and coverage issues could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.

 

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Catastrophe losses could materially and adversely affect our business.

As a property and casualty insurance holding company, our insurance operations expose us to claims arising out of catastrophes. Catastrophes can be caused by various natural perils, including hurricanes and other windstorms, earthquakes, tsunamis, tidal waves, severe winter weather and brush fires. Catastrophes can also be man-made, such as a terrorist attack. The frequency and severity of catastrophes are inherently unpredictable. It is possible that both the frequency and severity of natural and man-made catastrophic events will increase.

The extent of losses from a catastrophe is a function of both the total amount of exposure under our insurance policies in the area affected by the event and the severity of the event. Most catastrophes are restricted to relatively small geographic areas; however, hurricanes and earthquakes may produce significant damage over larger areas, especially those that are heavily populated.

We are exposed to natural and man-made catastrophe risks in both our U.S. and international operations. Catastrophe risks include hurricanes and cyclones along the coastlines of North America, the Caribbean region, Latin America, Asia and Australia. Catastrophe risks also include winter storms, northeasters, thunderstorms, hail storms, tornadoes, flooding and other water damage, earthquakes, other seismic or volcanic eruption, wildfires, and terrorism that may occur in locations in and outside the United States where we insure properties.

We utilize proprietary and third party catastrophe modeling tools to assist us in managing our catastrophe exposures. These models rely on various methodologies and assumptions which are subjective and subject to uncertainty. The methodologies and assumptions also may be changed from time to time by the third party modeling company. The use of different methodologies or assumptions would result in the model generating substantially different estimations of our catastrophe exposures. Moreover, modeled loss estimates may be materially different from actual results.

Natural or man-made catastrophic events could cause claims under our insurance policies to be higher than we anticipated and could cause substantial volatility in our financial results for any fiscal quarter or year. Our ability to write new business could also be affected. Increases in the value and geographic concentration of insured property and the effects of inflation could increase the severity of claims from catastrophic events in the future. In addition, states have from time to time passed legislation that has the effect of limiting the ability of insurers to manage catastrophe risk, such as legislation limiting insurers ability to increase rates and prohibiting insurers from withdrawing from catastrophe-exposed areas.

As a result of the foregoing, it is possible that the occurrence of any natural or man-made catastrophic event could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and liquidity. A further discussion of the risk factors related to catastrophes is presented in the Property and Casualty Insurance — Catastrophe Risk Management section of MD&A.

Payment of obligations under surety bonds could adversely affect our future operating results.

The surety business tends to be characterized by infrequent but potentially high severity losses. The majority of our surety obligations are intended to be performance-based guarantees. When losses occur, they may be mitigated, at times, by recovery rights to the customer’s assets, contract payments, collateral and bankruptcy recoveries. We have substantial commercial and construction surety exposure for current and prior customers. In that regard, we have exposures related to surety bonds issued on behalf of companies that have experienced or may experience deterioration in creditworthiness. If the financial condition of these companies were adversely affected by the economy or otherwise, we may experience an increase in filed claims and may incur high severity losses, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

 

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We rely on pricing and capital models, but actual results could differ materially from the model outputs.

We employ various predictive modeling, stochastic modeling and/or forecasting techniques to analyze and estimate loss trends and the risks associated with our assets and liabilities. We utilize the modeled outputs and related analyses to assist us in making underwriting, pricing, reinsurance and capital decisions. The modeled outputs and related analyses are subject to numerous assumptions, uncertainties and the inherent limitations of any statistical analysis. Consequently, modeled results may differ materially from our actual experience. If, based upon these models or otherwise, we under price our products or underestimate the frequency and/or severity of loss events, our results of operations or financial condition may be adversely affected. If, based upon these models or otherwise, we over price our products or overestimate the risks we are exposed to, new business growth and retention of our existing business may be adversely affected, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

The failure of the risk mitigation strategies we utilize could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.

We utilize a number of strategies to mitigate our risk exposure, such as:

 

   

engaging in rigorous underwriting;

 

   

carefully evaluating terms and conditions of our policies;

 

   

focusing on our risk aggregations by geographic zones, industry type, credit exposure and other bases; and

 

   

ceding reinsurance.

However, there are inherent limitations in all of these tactics and no assurance can be given that an event or series of events will not result in loss levels in excess of our probable maximum loss models, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations. It is also possible that losses could manifest themselves in ways that we do not anticipate and that our risk mitigation strategies are not designed to address. Such a manifestation of losses could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations. These risks may be heightened during difficult economic conditions such as those currently being experienced in the United States and elsewhere.

Reinsurance coverage may not be available to us in the future at commercially reasonable rates or at all.

The availability and cost of reinsurance are subject to prevailing market conditions that are beyond our control. No assurances can be made that reinsurance will remain continuously available to us in amounts that we consider sufficient and at rates that we consider acceptable, which would cause us to increase the amount of risk we retain, reduce the amount of business we underwrite or look for alternatives to reinsurance. This, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.

A downgrade in our credit ratings and financial strength ratings could adversely impact the competitive positions of our operating businesses.

Credit ratings and financial strength ratings can be important factors in establishing our competitive position in the insurance markets. There can be no assurance that our ratings will continue for any given period of time or that they will not be changed. If our credit ratings were downgraded in the future, we could incur higher borrowing costs and may have more limited means to access capital. In addition, a downgrade in our financial strength ratings could adversely affect the competitive position of our insurance operations, including a possible reduction in demand for our products in certain markets.

 

 

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We may be unsuccessful in our efforts to sell new products and/or to expand our existing product offerings to new markets.

Our strategy for enhancing profitable growth includes new product initiatives as well as expanding existing product offerings to new markets. We may not be successful in these efforts, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. If we are successful, results attributable to these product offerings could be different than we anticipate and could have an adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.

We are dependent on a distribution network comprised of independent insurance brokers and agents to distribute our products.

We generally do not use salaried employees to promote or distribute our insurance products. Instead, we rely on a large number of independent insurance brokers and agents. Accordingly, our business is dependent on the willingness of these brokers and agents to recommend our products to their customers. Deterioration in relationships with our broker and agent distribution network could materially and adversely affect our ability to sell our products, which, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.

Intense competition for our products could harm our ability to maintain or increase our profitability and premium volume.

The property and casualty insurance industry is highly competitive. We compete not only with other stock companies but also with mutual companies, other underwriting organizations and alternative risk sharing mechanisms. We compete for business not only on the basis of price, but also on the basis of financial strength, availability of coverage desired by customers and quality of service, including claim adjustment service. We may have difficulty in continuing to compete successfully on any of these bases in the future. If competition limits our ability to write new business at adequate rates, our results of operations could be adversely affected.

We are subject to an extensive legal and regulatory framework in the United States. Compliance with current and future regulation may reduce our profitability and limit our growth. Moreover, our failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations could result in restrictions on our ability to do business, subject us to fines and penalties and have other adverse effects on our business.

Our insurance subsidiaries are subject to extensive regulation and supervision in the jurisdictions in which they conduct business. This regulation is generally designed to protect the interests of policyholders, and not necessarily the interests of insurers, their shareholders or other investors. The regulation relates to authorization for lines of business, capital and surplus requirements, investment limitations, underwriting limitations, limitations on transactions with affiliates, dividend limitations, changes in control, premium rates and a variety of other financial and nonfinancial components of an insurance company’s business. Complying with applicable laws and regulations may increase our cost of doing business and limit our opportunities for business growth, as could actions we take to comply with applicable laws and regulations and changes thereto. Failure to comply with, or to obtain, appropriate authorizations and/or exemptions under any applicable laws and regulations could result in restrictions on our ability to do business or undertake activities that are regulated in one or more of the jurisdictions in which we conduct business and could subject us to fines and other sanctions.

Virtually all states in which the P&C Group operates require that we, together with other insurers licensed to do business in such states, bear a portion of the loss suffered by some insureds as the result of impaired or insolvent insurance companies. In addition, in various states, our insurance subsidiaries must participate in mandatory arrangements to provide various types of insurance coverage to individuals or entities that otherwise are unable to purchase that coverage from private insurers. A few states also require us to purchase reinsurance from mandatory reinsurance funds, which can create a credit risk for insurers if such funds are not adequately funded by the state. In addition, in some cases,

 

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the existence of a reinsurance fund could affect the prices we can charge for our policies. The effect of these and similar arrangements could reduce our profitability in any given period and/or limit our ability to grow our business.

In recent years, the regulatory framework in the United States has come under increased scrutiny, including scrutiny by federal officials, and some state legislatures have considered or enacted laws that may alter or increase state authority to regulate insurance companies as well as insurance holding companies. Further, the NAIC and state insurance regulators are continually reexamining existing laws and regulations, specifically focusing on modifications to statutory accounting principles, interpretations of existing laws and the development of new laws and regulations. The NAIC has undertaken a Solvency Modernization Initiative focused on updating the U.S. insurance solvency regulation framework, including capital requirements, governance and risk management, group supervision, accounting and financial reporting and reinsurance. Any proposed or future legislation or regulations, including NAIC initiatives, if adopted, may be more restrictive on our ability to conduct business than current legal and regulatory requirements or may result in higher costs or increased capital requirements.

Although the federal government and its regulatory agencies generally do not directly regulate the business of insurance, federal initiatives often have an impact on the insurance business in a variety of ways. Current and proposed federal measures that may significantly affect the P&C Group’s business and the insurance market as a whole include measures concerning federal terrorism insurance, systemic risk regulation, tort law, natural catastrophes, corporate governance, ergonomics, health care reform, including containment of medical costs, privacy, e-commerce, international trade, federal regulation of insurance companies and taxation of insurance companies.

Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, signed into law in July 2010, two federal government bodies, the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) and the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), were created which may impact the regulation of insurance. Although the FIO is prohibited from directly regulating the business of insurance, it has authority to represent the United States in international insurance matters and has limited powers to preempt certain types of state insurance laws. The FIO also can recommend to the FSOC that it designate an insurer as an entity posing risks to U.S. financial stability in the event of the insurer’s material financial distress or failure. An insurer so designated by FSOC could be subject to Federal Reserve supervision and heightened prudential standards. While we do not believe the P&C Group or any of its affiliated companies are systemically important financial institutions, it is possible the FSOC could conclude otherwise. If the FSOC were to designate the P&C Group or any of its affiliated companies for supervision by the Federal Reserve, it could place more restrictions on our ability to conduct business and may result in higher costs, increased capital requirements and/or lower profitability. Even if an insurance company is not designated as a systemically important financial institution, it still could be adversely impacted by new rules governing such institutions, as non-bank financial institutions may, under certain circumstances, be subject to possible assessment to fund the orderly resolution of a financially distressed systemically important financial institution.

The P&C Group is subject to regulation and supervision in jurisdictions outside the United States where we do business. Compliance with current and future regulation in these jurisdictions may reduce our profitability and limit our growth. Moreover, our failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations could result in restrictions on our ability to do business, subject us to fines or penalties or have other adverse effects on our business.

Insurers in the P&C Group doing business outside the United States also are subject to regulation and supervision in the jurisdictions within which they operate. The extent of insurance regulation varies from country to country. Complying with applicable laws and regulations may increase our costs of doing business and limit our opportunities to grow our business, as could our taking actions necessary to comply with applicable laws and regulations as well as changes thereto. Moreover, we may be unable to comply fully with all of the laws and regulations to which we are subject. Any such noncompliance could result in restrictions on our ability to do business, subject us to fines or penalties or have other adverse effects on our business.

 

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Regulators in many countries are working with the IAIS to consider changes to insurance company solvency standards and group supervision of companies in a holding company system, including noninsurance companies. Some IAIS initiatives are particularly focused on the supervision of internationally active insurance groups, such as the P&C Group. The European Union Solvency II directive will require regulated companies, such as the P&C Group’s European operations, to meet new requirements in relation to risk and capital management. A U.S. parent company of a European Union subsidiary could be subject to certain requirements of the Solvency II directive if the U.S. state-based regulatory system is not deemed “equivalent” to Solvency II. The Solvency II directive is scheduled to be effective January 1, 2016. Regulators outside the European Union are considering similar risk and capital management requirements that could impact the P&C Group’s operations. Such proposed or future legislation and regulatory initiatives in countries where we operate, if adopted, may be more restrictive on our ability to conduct business than current regulatory requirements or may result in higher costs, increased capital requirements and/or lower profitability.

The IAIS also is working with the FSB to decide if any insurers should be designated globally systemically important insurers. While we do not believe the P&C Group or any of its companies are globally systemically significant insurers, it is possible the FSB could conclude otherwise. The ramifications of a FSB globally systemically important insurer designation for the P&C Group or any of its affiliated companies is unknown at this time; however, it is likely to result in greater regulatory scrutiny and could place more restrictions on our ability to conduct business, result in higher costs, increased capital requirements or lower profitability.

State regulators in the United States and regulatory agencies outside the United States are increasingly coordinating the regulation of multinational insurers. We cannot predict the impact that decisions of these coordinated regulatory efforts will have on our business.

State regulators in the United States and regulatory agencies outside the United States are increasingly coordinating the regulation of multinational insurers, such as the P&C Group. The coordinated regulatory effort is referred to as a supervisory college, which the IAIS has defined as “a forum for cooperation and communication between the involved supervisors established for the fundamental purpose of facilitating the effectiveness of supervision of entities which belong to an insurance group; facilitate both the supervision of the group as a whole on a group-wide basis and improving the legal entity supervision of the entities within the insurance group by conducting a supervisory college.” The P&C Group expects to be the focus of a supervisory college commencing in 2013. We cannot predict the impact that decisions of the supervisory college will have on our business.

We are subject to a number of risks associated with our business outside the United States.

A significant portion of our business is conducted outside the United States, including in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and Latin America. By doing business outside the United States, we are subject to a number of risks, including without limitation, dealing with jurisdictions, especially in emerging markets, that may lack political, financial or social stability and/or a strong legal and regulatory framework, which may make it difficult to do business and comply with local laws and regulations in such jurisdictions. Failure to comply with local laws in a particular jurisdiction or doing business in a country that becomes increasingly unstable could have a significant adverse effect on our business and operations in that market as well as on our reputation generally.

As part of our international operations, we engage in transactions denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. To reduce our exposure to currency fluctuation, we attempt to match the currency of the liabilities we incur under insurance policies with assets denominated in the same local currency. However, in the event that we underestimate our exposure, negative movements in the U.S. dollar versus the local currency will exacerbate the impact of the exposure on our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, holding foreign currencies subjects us to the monetary policies and currency controls of the issuing government. The devaluation of a currency we hold or the imposition of controls that prevent the export of such currency could negatively impact our business.

 

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We report the results of our international operations on a consolidated basis with our domestic business. These results are reported in U.S. dollars. A significant portion of the business we write outside the United States, however, is transacted in local currencies. Consequently, fluctuations in the relative value of local currencies in which the policies are written versus the U.S. dollar can mask the underlying trends in our international business.

The United States and other jurisdictions in which we operate have adopted various laws and regulations that may apply to the business we conduct outside of the United States, including those relating to antibribery and economic sanctions compliance. These laws and regulations often apply not only to our direct activities, but also to those activities we conduct through intermediaries, such as agents, brokers and other business partners. Although we have policies and controls in place that are designed to ensure compliance with these laws and regulations, it is possible that one or more of our employees or intermediaries could fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations. In such event, we could be exposed to civil penalties, criminal penalties and other sanctions. In addition, such violations could damage our business and/or our reputation. Such civil penalties, criminal penalties, other sanctions and damage to our business and/or reputation could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.

We cannot predict the impact that changing climate conditions, including legal, regulatory and social responses thereto, may have on our business.

Various scientists, environmentalists, international organizations, regulators and other commentators believe that global climate change has added, and will continue to add, to the unpredictability, frequency and severity of natural disasters (including, but not limited to, hurricanes, tornadoes, freezes, other storms and fires) in certain parts of the world. In response to this belief, a number of legal and regulatory measures as well as social initiatives have been introduced in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas and other carbon emissions which may be chief contributors to global climate change.

We cannot predict the impact that changing climate conditions, if any, will have on our results of operations or our financial condition. Moreover, we cannot predict how legal, regulatory and social responses to concerns about global climate change will impact our business.

The inability of our property and casualty insurance subsidiaries to pay dividends in sufficient amounts would limit our ability to meet our obligations, to pay future dividends and to repurchase shares of our common stock.

As a holding company, Chubb relies primarily on dividends from its property and casualty insurance subsidiaries to meet its obligations for payment of interest and principal on outstanding debt obligations, to pay dividends to shareholders and to repurchase shares of our common stock. The ability of our property and casualty insurance subsidiaries to pay dividends in the future will depend on their statutory surplus, on earnings and on regulatory restrictions. We are subject to regulation by some states as an insurance holding company system. Such regulation generally provides that transactions between companies within the holding company system must be fair and equitable. Transfers of assets among affiliated companies, certain dividend payments from property and casualty insurance subsidiaries and certain material transactions between companies within the system may be subject to prior notice to, or prior approval by, state regulatory authorities. The ability of our property and casualty insurance subsidiaries to pay dividends is also restricted by regulations that set standards of solvency that must be met and maintained, that limit investments and that limit dividends to shareholders. These regulations may affect Chubb’s insurance subsidiaries’ ability to provide Chubb with dividends.

We may experience reduced returns or losses on our investments especially during periods of heightened volatility, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.

The returns on our investment portfolio may be reduced or we may incur losses as a result of changes in general economic conditions, interest rates, real estate markets, fixed income markets, equity

 

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markets, alternative investment markets, credit markets, exchange rates, global capital market conditions and numerous other factors that are beyond our control.

During prolonged periods of low interest rates and investment returns, we may not be able to invest new money generated by our operations or reinvest funds at rates that generate the same level of investment income generated by our existing invested assets, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

The worldwide financial markets experience high levels of volatility during certain periods, which could have an increasingly adverse impact on the U.S. and foreign economies. The financial market volatility and the resulting negative economic impact could continue and it is possible that it may be prolonged, which could adversely affect our current investment portfolio, make it difficult to determine the value of certain assets in our portfolio and/or make it difficult for us to purchase suitable investments that meet our risk and return criteria. These factors could cause us to realize less than expected returns on invested assets, sell investments for a loss or write off or write down investments, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.

A significant portion of our investment portfolio is invested in obligations of states, municipalities and political subdivisions (often referred to as municipal bonds). The recent financial market volatility and the resulting negative economic impact have resulted in actual or projected budget deficits for many municipal bond issuers. These deficits, combined with declining municipal tax bases and revenues, have raised concerns over the potential for an increased risk of default or impairment of municipal bonds. Such concerns, as well as actual defaults or impairments, could adversely impact these investments in terms of volatility, liquidity and value.

Our investment portfolio includes commercial mortgage-backed securities, residential mortgage-backed securities, collateralized mortgage obligations and pass-through securities. Continuation of the prolonged stress in the U.S. housing market and/or financial market disruption could adversely impact these investments.

Our investment portfolio includes securities that may be more volatile than fixed maturity instruments and certain of these instruments may be illiquid.

Our investment portfolio includes equity securities and private equity limited partnership interests which may experience significant volatility in their investment returns and valuation. Moreover, our private equity limited partnership interests are subject to transfer restrictions and may be illiquid. If the investment returns or value of these investments decline, or if we are unable to dispose of these investments at their carrying value, it could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.

Changes to federal and/or state tax laws could adversely affect the value of our investment portfolio.

A significant portion of our investment portfolio consists of tax exempt securities and we receive certain tax benefits relating to such securities based on current laws and regulations. Our portfolio has also benefited from certain other laws and regulations, including without limitation, tax credits. Federal and/or state tax legislation could be enacted that would lessen or eliminate some or all of the tax advantages currently benefiting us and could negatively impact the value of our investment portfolio.

We are exposed to credit risk and foreign currency risk in our business operations and in our investment portfolio.

We are exposed to credit risk in several areas of our business operations, including, without limitation, credit risk relating to reinsurance, co-sureties on surety bonds, policyholders of certain of our insurance products, independent agents and brokers, issuers of securities, insurers of certain securities and certain other counterparties relating to our investment portfolio.

 

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With respect to reinsurance coverages that we have purchased, our ability to recover amounts due from reinsurers may be affected by the creditworthiness and willingness to pay of the reinsurers. Although certain reinsurance we have purchased is collateralized, the collateral is exposed to credit risk of the counterparty that has guaranteed an investment return on such collateral.

It is customary practice in the surety business for multiple insurers to participate as co-sureties on large surety bonds, meaning that each insurer (each referred to as a co-surety) assumes its proportionate share of the risk and receives a corresponding percentage of the bond premium. Under these arrangements, the co-sureties’ obligations are joint and several. Consequently, if a co-surety defaults on its obligations, the remaining co-surety or co-sureties are obligated to make up the shortfall to the beneficiary of the surety bond even though the non-defaulting co-sureties did not receive the premium for that portion of the risk. Therefore, we are subject to credit risk with respect to the insurers with whom we are co-sureties on surety bonds.

In accordance with industry practice, when insureds purchase our insurance products through independent agents and brokers, they generally pay the premiums to the agent or broker, which in turn is required to remit the collected premium to us. In many jurisdictions, we are deemed to have received payment upon the receipt of the payment by the agent or broker, regardless of whether the agent or broker actually remits payment to us. As a result, we assume credit risk associated with amounts due from independent agents and brokers.

The value of our investment portfolio is subject to credit risk from the issuers and/or guarantors of the securities in the portfolio, other counterparties in certain transactions and, for certain securities, insurers that guarantee specific issuer’s obligations. Defaults by the issuer and, where applicable, an issuer’s guarantor, insurer or other counterparties with regard to any of such investments could reduce our net investment income and net realized investment gains or result in investment losses.

We report our financial results in U.S. dollars, but a significant amount of the business we write and expenses we incur outside the United States are denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. In addition, a substantial portion of our investment portfolio is denominated in non-U.S. dollar currencies. As a result, changes in the strength of the U.S. dollar relative to these foreign currencies could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Our exposure to any of the above credit risks and foreign currency risk could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.

Changes in accounting principles and financial reporting requirements may impact the manner in which we present our results of operations and financial condition.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission may issue from time to time new accounting and reporting standards or changes in the interpretation of existing standards. These new standards or changes in interpretation could have an effect on how we report our results of operations and financial condition in the future.

If we experience difficulties with outsourcing and similar third party relationships, our ability to conduct our business might be negatively impacted.

We outsource certain business and administrative functions and rely on third parties to perform certain services on our behalf. We may do so increasingly in the future. If we fail to develop and implement our outsourcing strategies or our third party providers fail to perform as anticipated, we may experience operational difficulties, increased costs, reputational damage and a loss of business that may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition. By utilizing third parties to perform certain business and administrative functions, we may be exposed to greater risk of data security breaches. Any breach of data security could damage our reputation and/or result in monetary damages, which, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.

 

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The occurrence of certain events could have a materially adverse effect on our systems and could impact our ability to conduct business effectively.

Our computer, information technology and telecommunications systems, which we use to conduct our business, interface with and rely upon third party systems. Systems failures or outages could compromise our ability to perform business functions in a timely manner, which could harm our ability to conduct business and hurt our relationships with our business partners and customers.

In the event of a disaster such as a natural catastrophe, an industrial accident, a blackout, a computer virus, a terrorist attack or war, our systems may be inaccessible to our employees, customers or business partners for an extended period of time. Even if our employees or third party providers are able to report to work, they might be unable to perform their duties for an extended period of time if our computer, information technology or telecommunication systems were disabled or destroyed.

Our systems could be subject to physical break-ins, electronic hacking, and subject to similar disruptions from unauthorized access or tampering. This may impede or interrupt our business operations, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.

Loss of sensitive data and other security breaches could damage our reputation and harm our business.

We routinely transmit, receive and store personal, confidential and proprietary information by email and other electronic means. Although we attempt to protect this confidential and proprietary information, we may be unable to do so in all events, especially with customers, business partners and other third parties who may not have or use appropriate controls to protect confidential information.

In addition, we are subject to numerous data privacy laws, such as those enacted by the U.S. federal government, various state governments, the European Union and other jurisdictions in which we do business relating to the privacy of the information of clients, employees or others. A misuse or mishandling of confidential or proprietary information being sent to or received from a client, employee or third party could result in legal liability, regulatory action and reputational harm. Third parties to whom we outsource certain of our functions are also subject to these risks, and their failure to adhere to these laws and regulations could negatively impact us.

Any breach of data security could result in damage to our reputation, our incurring substantial costs and other negative consequences, which, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.

 

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

 

Item 2. Properties

The executive offices of the Corporation are in Warren, New Jersey. The administrative offices of the P&C Group are located in Warren and Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. The P&C Group maintains territory, branch and service offices in major cities throughout the United States and also has offices in Canada, Europe, Australia, Latin America and Asia. Office facilities are leased with the exception of buildings in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and Simsbury, Connecticut. Management considers its office facilities suitable and adequate for the current level of operations.

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

The information required with respect to Item 3 is included in Note (13)(a) of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, which information is incorporated by reference into this Item 3.

 

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Executive Officers of the Registrant

 

    Age(a)   Year of
Election(b)

John D. Finnegan, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

      64         2002  

W. Brian Barnes, Senior Vice President and Chief Actuary of Chubb & Son, a division of Federal

      50         2008  

Maureen A. Brundage, Executive Vice President and General Counsel

      56         2005  

Robert C. Cox, Executive Vice President of Chubb & Son, a division of Federal

      55         2003  

John J. Kennedy, Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer

      57         2008  

Mark P. Korsgaard, Executive Vice President of Chubb & Son, a division of Federal

      57         2010  

Paul J. Krump, President of Commercial and Specialty Lines of Chubb & Son, a division of Federal

      53         2001  

Harold L. Morrison, Jr., Executive Vice President, Chief Global Field Officer and Chief Administrative Officer of Chubb & Son, a division of Federal

      55         2008  

Steven R. Pozzi, Executive Vice President of Chubb & Son, a division of Federal

      56         2009  

Dino E. Robusto, President of Personal Lines and Claims of Chubb & Son, a division of Federal

      54         2006  

Richard G. Spiro, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

      48         2008  

Kathleen M. Tierney, Executive Vice President of Chubb & Son, a division of Federal

      44         2010  

 

  (a)

Ages listed above are as of April 30, 2013.

 

  (b) Date indicates year first elected or designated as an executive officer.

All of the foregoing officers serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors of the Corporation and have been employees of the Corporation for more than five years except for Mr. Spiro.

Before joining the Corporation in 2008, Mr. Spiro was an investment banker at Citigroup Global Markets Inc., where he served as a Managing Director in Citigroup’s financial institutions investment banking group.

 

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PART II.

 

Item 5. Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

The common stock of Chubb is listed and principally traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the trading symbol “CB”. The following are the high and low closing sale prices as reported on the NYSE Composite Tape and the quarterly dividends declared per share for each quarter of 2012 and 2011.

 

     2012  
     First
Quarter
     Second
Quarter
     Third
Quarter
     Fourth
Quarter
 

Common stock prices

           

High

   $ 71.01       $ 74.28       $ 76.76       $ 81.19   

Low

     66.90         68.82         68.83         73.83   

Dividends declared

     .41         .41         .41         .41   

 

     2011  
     First
Quarter
     Second
Quarter
     Third
Quarter
     Fourth
Quarter
 

Common stock prices

           

High

   $ 61.31       $ 65.87       $ 64.45       $ 70.31   

Low

     57.32         60.50         55.43         58.12   

Dividends declared

     .39         .39         .39         .39   

At February 8, 2013, there were approximately 7,600 common shareholders of record.

The declaration and payment of future dividends to Chubb’s shareholders will be at the discretion of Chubb’s Board of Directors and will depend upon many factors, including the Corporation’s operating results, financial condition and capital requirements, and the impact of regulatory constraints discussed in Note (17)(e) of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

The following table summarizes Chubb’s repurchases of its common stock during each month in the quarter ended December 31, 2012.

 

Period

   Total
Number of
Shares
Purchased(a)
       Average Price
Paid Per Share
       Total Number of
Shares Purchased as
Part of Publicly
Announced Plans or
Programs
       Maximum Approximate
Dollar Value of
Shares that May
Yet Be Purchased
Under the Plans or
Programs(b)
 
                                (in millions)  

October 2012

     41,900           76.99           41,900         $ 354   

November 2012

                                   354   

December 2012

     328,000           76.48           328,000           329   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

Total

     369,900           76.54           369,900        
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

(a)

The stated amounts exclude 4,180 shares delivered to Chubb during the month of December 2012 by employees of the Corporation to cover option exercise prices in connection with the Corporation’s stock-based compensation plans.

 

(b)

On January 26, 2012, the Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to $1.2 billion of Chubb’s common stock. On January 31, 2013, the Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to $1.3 billion of Chubb’s common stock replacing the January 26, 2012 authorization. This authorization has no expiration date.

 

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Stock Performance Graph

The following performance graph compares the performance of Chubb’s common stock during the five-year period from December 31, 2007 through December 31, 2012 with the performance of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the Standard & Poor’s Property & Casualty Insurance Index. The graph plots the changes in value of an initial $100 investment over the indicated time periods, assuming all dividends are reinvested.

Cumulative Total Return
Based upon an initial investment of $100 on December 31, 2007
with dividends reinvested

LOGO

 

     December 31  
     2007        2008        2009        2010        2011        2012  

Chubb

   $ 100         $ 96         $ 95         $ 119         $ 142         $ 157   

S&P 500

     100           63           80           92           94           109   

S&P 500 Property & Casualty Insurance

     100           71           79           86           86           104   

Our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may incorporate information by reference, including this Form 10-K. Unless we specifically state otherwise, the information under this heading “Stock Performance Graph” shall not be deemed to be “soliciting materials” and shall not be deemed to be “filed” with the SEC or incorporated by reference into any of our filings under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

 

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Item 6. Selected Financial Data

 

      

2012

    

2011

    

2010

    

2009

    

2008

 
       (in millions except for per share amounts)  

FOR THE YEAR

                

Revenues

                

Property and Casualty Insurance

                

Premiums Earned

     $ 11,838       $ 11,644       $ 11,215       $ 11,331       $ 11,828   

Investment Income

       1,518         1,598         1,590         1,585         1,652   

Other Revenues

                               2         4   

Corporate and Other

       46         55         88         75         108   

Realized Investment Gains
(Losses), Net

       193         288         426         23         (371
    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total Revenues

     $ 13,595       $ 13,585       $ 13,319       $ 13,016       $ 13,221   
    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Income

                

Property and Casualty Insurance

                

Underwriting Income

     $ 548       $ 574       $ 1,222       $ 1,631       $ 1,361   

Investment Income

       1,482         1,562         1,558         1,549         1,622   

Other Income (Charges)

       10         21         2         (3      9   
    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Property and Casualty
Insurance Income

       2,040         2,157         2,782         3,177         2,992   

Corporate and Other

       (237      (246      (220      (238      (214

Realized Investment Gains
(Losses), Net

       193         288         426         23         (371
    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Income Before Income Tax

       1,996         2,199         2,988         2,962         2,407   

Federal and Foreign Income Tax

       451         521         814         779         603   
    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net Income

     $ 1,545       $ 1,678       $ 2,174       $ 2,183       $ 1,804   
    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Per Share

                

Net Income

     $ 5.69       $ 5.76       $ 6.76       $ 6.18       $ 4.92   

Dividends Declared on
Common Stock

       1.64         1.56         1.48         1.40         1.32   

AT DECEMBER 31

                

Total Assets(a)

     $ 52,184       $ 50,445       $ 49,976       $ 50,176       $ 48,156   

Long Term Debt

       3,575         3,575         3,975         3,975         3,975   

Total Shareholders’ Equity(a)

       15,827         15,301         15,257         15,361         13,159   

Book Value Per Share(a)

       60.45         56.15         51.32         46.27         37.35   

 

(a) Amounts in years prior to 2012 have been adjusted to reflect the adoption of new guidance issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board related to the accounting for costs associated with acquiring or renewing insurance contracts. The adoption of this guidance decreased deferred policy acquisition costs by $420 million, decreased deferred income tax liabilities by $147 million and decreased shareholders’ equity by $273 million as of January 1, 2008. The effect of the adoption of the new guidance on net income was not material. The amounts of the retrospective reductions to previously reported deferred acquisition costs, related deferred income tax liabilities and shareholders’ equity as of December 31, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008 were the same as the amounts of the reductions as of January 1, 2008.

 

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Table of Contents
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations addresses the financial condition of the Corporation as of December 31, 2012 compared with December 31, 2011 and the results of operations for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2012. This discussion should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and related notes and the other information contained in this report.

INDEX

 

    

PAGE

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information

  

29

Critical Accounting Estimates and Judgments

  

30

Overview

  

31

Property and Casualty Insurance

   32

Underwriting Operations

   33

Underwriting Results

   33

Net Premiums Written

   33

Reinsurance Ceded

   35

Profitability

   36

Review of Underwriting Results by Business Unit

  

38

Personal Insurance

   38

Commercial Insurance

   40

Specialty Insurance

   42

Reinsurance Assumed

   43

Catastrophe Risk Management

  

43

Natural Catastrophes

   44

Terrorism Risk and Legislation

   44

Loss Reserves

   45

Estimates and Uncertainties

   47

Reserves Other than Those Relating to Asbestos and Toxic Waste Claims

   47

Reserves Relating to Asbestos and Toxic Waste Claims

   51

Asbestos Reserves

   51

Toxic Waste Reserves

   54

Reinsurance Recoverable

   55

Prior Year Loss Development

   56

Investment Results

   59

Other Income and Charges

   60

Corporate and Other

  

60

Chubb Financial Solutions

   60

Realized Investment Gains and Losses

  

61

Capital Resources and Liquidity

   62

Capital Resources

   62

Ratings

   63

Liquidity

   64

Contractual Obligations and Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

   65

Invested Assets

  

66

Fair Values of Financial Instruments

  

67

Pension and Other Postretirement Benefits

  

68

Change in Accounting Principle

  

68

 

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CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

Certain statements in this document are “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA). These forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the PSLRA and include statements regarding our loss reserve and reinsurance recoverable estimates; asbestos and toxic waste liabilities and related developments; the impact of the economy on our business; the impact of changes to our reinsurance program in 2012 and the cost of reinsurance in 2013; the adequacy of the rates at which we renewed and wrote new business; premium volume, pricing and competition in 2013; property and casualty investment income during 2013; cash flows generated by our fixed income investments; currency rate fluctuations; the repurchase of common stock under our share repurchase program; our capital adequacy and funding of liquidity needs; the funding and timing of loss payments; and the redemption of our capital securities. Forward-looking statements are made based upon management’s current expectations and beliefs concerning trends and future developments and their potential effects on us. These statements are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from those suggested by forward-looking statements as a result of risks and uncertainties, which include, among others, those discussed or identified from time to time in our public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and those associated with:

 

   

global political, economic and market conditions, particularly in the jurisdictions in which we operate and/or invest, including:

 

   

changes in credit ratings, interest rates, market credit spreads and the performance of the financial markets;

 

   

currency fluctuations;

 

   

the effects of inflation;

 

   

changes in domestic and foreign laws, regulations and taxes;

 

   

changes in competition and pricing environments;

 

   

regional or general changes in asset valuations;

 

   

the inability to reinsure certain risks economically; and

 

   

changes in the litigation environment;

 

   

the effects of the outbreak or escalation of war or hostilities;

 

   

the occurrence of terrorist attacks, including any nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological events;

 

   

premium pricing and profitability or growth estimates overall or by lines of business or geographic area, and related expectations with respect to the timing and terms of any required regulatory approvals;

 

   

adverse changes in loss cost trends;

 

   

our ability to retain existing business and attract new business at acceptable rates;

 

   

our expectations with respect to cash flow and investment income and with respect to other income;

 

   

the adequacy of our loss reserves, including:

 

   

our expectations relating to reinsurance recoverables;

 

   

the willingness of parties, including us, to settle disputes;

 

   

developments in judicial decisions or regulatory or legislative actions relating to coverage and liability, in particular, for asbestos, toxic waste and other mass tort claims;

 

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development of new theories of liability;

 

   

our estimates relating to ultimate asbestos liabilities; and

 

   

the impact from the bankruptcy protection sought by various asbestos producers and other related businesses;

 

   

the availability and cost of reinsurance coverage;

 

   

the occurrence of significant weather-related or other natural or human-made disasters, particularly in locations where we have concentrations of risk or changes to our estimates (or the assessments of rating agencies and other third parties) of our potential exposure to such events;

 

   

the impact of economic factors on companies on whose behalf we have issued surety bonds, and in particular, on those companies that file for bankruptcy or otherwise experience deterioration in creditworthiness;

 

   

the effects of disclosures by, and investigations of, companies we insure, particularly with respect to our lines of business that have a longer time span, or tail, between the incidence of a loss and the settlement of the claim;

 

   

the impact of legislative, regulatory, judicial and similar developments on companies we insure, particularly with respect to our longer tail lines of business;

 

   

the impact of legislative, regulatory, judicial and similar developments on our business, including those relating to insurance industry reform, terrorism, catastrophes, the financial markets, solvency standards, capital requirements, accounting guidance and taxation;

 

   

any downgrade in our claims-paying, financial strength or other credit ratings;

 

   

the ability of our subsidiaries to pay us dividends;

 

   

our plans to repurchase shares of our common stock, including as a result of changes in:

 

   

our financial position and financial results;

 

   

our capital position and/or capital adequacy levels required to maintain our existing ratings from independent rating agencies;

 

   

our share price;

 

   

investment opportunities;

 

   

opportunities to profitably grow our property and casualty insurance business;

 

   

corporate and regulatory requirements; and

 

   

our ability to implement management’s strategic plans and initiatives.

Chubb assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information set forth in this document, which speak as of the date hereof.

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES AND JUDGMENTS

The consolidated financial statements include amounts based on informed estimates and judgments of management for transactions that are not yet complete. Such estimates and judgments affect the reported amounts in the financial statements. Those estimates and judgments that were most critical to the preparation of the financial statements involved the determination of loss reserves and the recoverability of related reinsurance recoverables and the evaluation of whether a decline in value of any investment is temporary or other than temporary. These estimates and judgments, which are discussed within the following analysis of our results of operations, require the use of assumptions about matters that are highly uncertain and therefore are subject to change as facts and circumstances develop. If different estimates and judgments had been applied, materially different amounts might have been reported in the financial statements.

 

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OVERVIEW

The following highlights do not address all of the matters covered in the other sections of Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations or contain all of the information that may be important to Chubb’s shareholders or the investing public. This overview should be read in conjunction with the other sections of Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

 

   

Net income was $1.5 billion in 2012, $1.7 billion in 2011 and $2.2 billion in 2010. The decrease in net income in 2012 compared with 2011 was due to both lower operating income and lower net realized investment gains. The decrease in net income in 2011 compared with 2010 was due primarily to lower operating income and, to a lesser extent, lower net realized investment gains. We define operating income as net income excluding realized investment gains and losses after tax.

 

   

Operating income was $1.4 billion in 2012, $1.5 billion in 2011 and $1.9 billion in 2010. The modestly lower operating income in 2012 compared with that in 2011 was due primarily to lower property and casualty investment income. The underwriting income of our property and casualty insurance business was similar in both years. The lower operating income in 2011 compared with that in 2010 was due to substantially lower underwriting income, attributable in large part to a higher impact of catastrophes. Property and casualty investment income was flat in 2011 compared with that in 2010. Management uses operating income, a non-GAAP financial measure, among other measures, to evaluate its performance because the realization of investment gains and losses in any period could be discretionary as to timing and can fluctuate significantly, which could distort the analysis of operating trends.

 

   

Underwriting results in 2012 were adversely affected by costs of $882 million before tax related to Storm Sandy, including estimated net losses of $829 million and reinsurance reinstatement premium costs of $53 million. The total costs of catastrophes before tax were $1,140 million in 2012, $1,030 million in 2011 and $634 million in 2010.

 

   

Underwriting results were profitable in 2012 and 2011, compared with highly profitable results in 2010. Our combined loss and expense ratio was 95.3% in 2012 and 2011 and 89.3% in 2010. The less profitable underwriting results in 2012 and 2011 compared to 2010 were primarily due to a substantially higher impact of catastrophes. The impact of catastrophes accounted for 9.6 percentage points of the combined ratio in 2012 compared with 8.9 percentage points in 2011 and 5.7 percentage points in 2010.

 

   

During 2012, 2011 and 2010, we experienced overall favorable development of $614 million, $767 million and $746 million, respectively, on loss reserves established as of the previous year end. The favorable development in each year was due primarily to favorable loss experience in certain commercial liability, professional liability and personal insurance classes.

 

   

Total net premiums written increased by 1% in 2012 and 5% in 2011. The effect of foreign currency translation on total net premium growth was slightly negative in 2012 compared to a slightly positive impact in 2011. Net premiums written in the United States increased by 2% in both 2012 and 2011. Net premiums written outside the United States decreased by 3% in 2012 and increased by 11% in 2011. When measured in local currencies, such premiums grew slightly in 2012 and grew significantly in 2011. In both years, premium growth both inside and outside the United States was limited by our emphasis on underwriting discipline in a highly competitive market and our focus on rate adequacy and profitability for both renewal and new business.

 

   

Property and casualty investment income after tax decreased by 5% in 2012 and was flat in 2011 in what continued to be a low yield investment environment. Management uses property and casualty investment income after tax, a non-GAAP financial measure, to evaluate its investment results because it reflects the impact of any change in the proportion of tax exempt investment income to total investment income and is therefore more meaningful for analysis purposes than investment income before income tax.

 

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Net realized investment gains before tax were $193 million ($125 million after tax) in 2012 compared with $288 million ($187 million after tax) in 2011 and $426 million ($277 million after tax) in 2010. The net realized gains in 2012 were primarily related to fixed maturities and investments in limited partnerships. The net realized gains in 2011 and 2010 were primarily related to investments in limited partnerships.

A summary of our consolidated net income is as follows:

 

     Years Ended December 31  
     2012      2011      2010  
     (in millions)  

Property and casualty insurance

   $ 2,040       $ 2,157       $ 2,782   

Corporate and other

     (237      (246      (220
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Consolidated operating income before income tax

     1,803         1,911         2,562   

Federal and foreign income tax

     383         420         665   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Consolidated operating income

     1,420         1,491         1,897   

Realized investment gains after income tax

     125         187         277   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Consolidated net income

   $ 1,545       $ 1,678       $ 2,174   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE

A summary of the results of operations of our property and casualty insurance business is as follows:

 

     Years Ended December 31  
     2012      2011      2010  
     (in millions)  

Underwriting

        

Net premiums written

   $ 11,870       $ 11,758       $ 11,236   

Increase in unearned premiums

     (32      (114      (21
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Premiums earned

     11,838         11,644         11,215   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Losses and loss expenses

     7,507         7,407         6,499   

Operating costs and expenses

     3,756         3,695         3,496   

Increase in deferred policy acquisition costs

     (3      (63      (30

Dividends to policyholders

     30         31         28   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Underwriting income

     548         574         1,222   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Investments

        

Investment income before expenses

     1,518         1,598         1,590   

Investment expenses

     36         36         32   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Investment income

     1,482         1,562         1,558   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Other income

     10         21         2   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Property and casualty income before tax

   $ 2,040       $ 2,157       $ 2,782   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Property and casualty investment income after tax

   $ 1,204       $ 1,265       $ 1,261   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Property and casualty income before tax was modestly lower in 2012 than in 2011, which in turn was significantly lower than in 2010. The modestly lower income in 2012 compared with 2011 was due primarily to a decrease in investment income. Underwriting income was similar in both years. The lower level of property and casualty income before tax in 2011 compared with 2010 was due to a substantial decrease in underwriting income that was primarily the result of a higher impact of catastrophes during 2011 and a decrease in current accident year underwriting profitability excluding the impact of catastrophes. Investment income was flat in 2011 compared with that in 2010.

The profitability of our property and casualty insurance business depends on the results of both our underwriting and investment operations. We view these as two distinct operations since the underwriting functions are managed separately from the investment function. Accordingly, in assessing our performance, we evaluate underwriting results separately from investment results.

 

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Underwriting Operations

Underwriting Results

We evaluate the underwriting results of our property and casualty insurance business in the aggregate and also for each of our separate business units.

Net Premiums Written

Net premiums written were $11.9 billion in 2012, $11.8 billion in 2011 and $11.2 billion in 2010. Net premiums written by business unit were as follows:

 

     Years Ended December 31  
     2012        % Increase
(Decrease)
2012 vs. 2011
    2011        % Increase
2011 vs.  2010
    2010  
     (dollars in millions)  

Personal insurance

   $ 4,125           4   $ 3,977           4   $ 3,825   

Commercial insurance

     5,174           2        5,051           8        4,676   

Specialty insurance

     2,568           (6     2,720                  2,727   
  

 

 

        

 

 

        

 

 

 

Total insurance

     11,867           1        11,748           5        11,228   

Reinsurance assumed

     3           *        10           *        8   
  

 

 

        

 

 

        

 

 

 

Total

   $ 11,870           1      $ 11,758           5      $ 11,236   
  

 

 

        

 

 

        

 

 

 

 

* The change in net premiums written is not presented since this business is in runoff.

Net premiums written increased by 1% in 2012 compared with 2011 and 5% in 2011 compared with 2010. Net premiums written in the United States, which in 2012 represented 74% of our total net premiums, increased by 2% in both 2012 and 2011 compared with the respective prior year. Net premiums written outside the United States, expressed in U.S. dollars, decreased by 3% in 2012 and increased by 11% in 2011. In 2012, foreign currency translation had a negative impact on growth of net premiums written outside the United States, reflecting the impact of the stronger U.S. dollar relative to several currencies in which we wrote business in 2012 compared to 2011. Conversely, in 2011, foreign currency translation had a positive impact on growth of net premiums written outside the United States reflecting the impact of the weaker U.S. dollar relative to several currencies in which we wrote business in 2011 compared to 2010. Measured in local currencies, net premiums written outside the United States grew slightly in 2012 and grew significantly in 2011. The countries outside the United States which were significant contributors to net premiums written in recent years were the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Australia and Germany.

We classify business as written in the United States or outside the United States based on the location of the risk associated with the underlying policies. The method of determining location of risk varies by class of business. Location of risk for property classes is typically based on the physical location of the covered property, while location of risk for liability classes may be based on the main location of the insured, or in the case of the workers’ compensation class, the primary work location of the covered employee.

Net premiums written in the United States increased in 2012 as a result of growth in our personal and commercial insurance segments. Net premiums written in the United States for our specialty insurance segment, of which the predominant component is our professional liability insurance business, decreased in 2012. Growth in our personal insurance business was attributable to new business, strong retention of existing business as well as higher rates and insured exposures upon renewal. While the pricing environment was positive during 2012 in the commercial and professional liability classes, continuing a trend that began during 2011, the positive trend had a more significant impact on growth in our commercial insurance business. Premium growth in our professional liability business remained constrained in 2012 by the continuing effects of the economic downturn and our focus on rate adequacy and profitability in what remains a highly competitive marketplace.

 

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In 2011, overall growth in net premiums written in the United States was due to growth in our commercial insurance segment, which reflected general improvement in the rate environment for this business. Net premiums written in the United States for our personal insurance segment were flat in 2011 compared to 2010. Net premiums written in the United States for our specialty insurance segment decreased modestly in 2011, due to overall slightly lower renewal rates and a decrease in new business compared to 2010.

Average renewal rates for our personal insurance business in the United States were up slightly in 2012, driven by our homeowners business. In 2011, average renewal rates for our personal insurance business in the United States were close to flat compared with 2010.

Overall, average renewal rates in 2012 in the United States were up significantly in both our commercial and professional liability business in comparison to expiring rates. Average renewal rates in 2011 were up modestly in our commercial business but were down slightly in our professional liability business. The amounts of coverage purchased or the insured exposures, both of which are bases upon which we calculate the premiums we charge, remained generally flat in both years compared to the respective prior year. We continued to retain a high percentage of our existing business in our commercial and professional liability classes in both years, but renewal retention levels in 2012 were lower than those in 2011, as we continued to seek renewal rate increases in most of these classes, and take underwriting actions to improve profitability, particularly in some of the professional liability classes. In both years, the overall level of new business was down for these components of our business, reflecting the competitive market as well as our underwriting discipline.

Net premiums written outside the United States decreased modestly in 2012, as slight growth in our personal insurance segment was more than offset by decreases in our commercial and specialty insurance segments. The lack of growth in our business outside the United States was primarily due to a lower level of new business in a weak rate environment for commercial and specialty insurance products and, to a lesser extent, the negative impact of foreign currency translation.

In 2011, net premiums written outside the United States grew in all segments of the business, due in part to the positive impact of foreign currency translation. Particularly strong growth occurred in our personal insurance business outside the United States in 2011.

Average renewal rates for our personal insurance business outside the United States were close to flat in 2012 and 2011. We continued to retain a high percentage of our customers and new business was also positive in both years, but more so in 2011.

Overall, average renewal rates outside the United States were up slightly in 2012 in both the commercial and professional liability components of our business in comparison to expiring rates. Rates were down slightly in 2011 in both components. The amounts of coverage purchased or the insured exposures remained flat in our commercial business in 2012 and were up slightly in 2011 compared to the respective prior year. For our professional liability business, the amounts of coverage purchased were down slightly in both years. We continued to retain a high percentage of our existing commercial and professional liability business in both years, but renewal retention levels in 2012 were lower than those in 2011. The overall level of new business was down in 2012 compared to 2011 for both our commercial and professional liability business. In 2011, the overall level of new business was up in our commercial insurance business and flat in the professional liability business compared to 2010.

The highly competitive market conditions worldwide are likely to continue in 2013. We expect that the positive pricing environment in the United States, which began in 2011 and continued throughout 2012, will continue into 2013. Outside the United States, we expect that the slightly positive pricing environment will continue in 2013. In addition, while there have been signs over the last two years that areas of the global economy have been improving, the improvement has been inconsistent across geographies and industries. If there is sustained improvement in the economy, it should result in a positive impact on premiums, although there is typically a lag between the recovery and any resulting growth in premiums. We expect our net written premiums will be modestly higher in 2013 compared with 2012, assuming average foreign currency to U.S. dollar exchange rates in 2013 remain similar to 2012 year-end levels.

 

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The reinsurance assumed business has been in runoff since the sale of our ongoing reinsurance assumed business in December 2005.

Reinsurance Ceded

Our premiums written are net of amounts ceded to reinsurers who assume a portion of the risk under the insurance policies we write that are subject to reinsurance. Most of our ceded reinsurance arrangements consist of excess of loss and catastrophe contracts that protect against a specified part or all of certain types of losses over stipulated amounts arising from any one occurrence or event. Therefore, unless we incur losses that exceed our initial retention under these contracts, we do not receive any loss recoveries. As a result, in some years, we cede premiums to reinsurance companies and receive few, if any, loss recoveries. However, in a year in which there is a significant catastrophic event, such as Storm Sandy in 2012, or a series of large individual losses, we may receive substantial loss recoveries. The impact of ceded reinsurance on net premiums written and net premiums earned and on net losses and loss expenses incurred for the three years ended December 31, 2012 is presented in Note (9) of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

The most significant component of our ceded reinsurance program is property reinsurance. We purchase two main types of property reinsurance: catastrophe and property per risk.

For property risks in the United States and Canada, we purchase traditional catastrophe reinsurance, including our primary treaty which we refer to as our North American catastrophe treaty, as well as supplemental catastrophe reinsurance that provides additional coverage for our exposures in the northeastern United States. For certain exposures in the United States, we have also arranged for the purchase of multi-year, collateralized reinsurance funded through the issuance of collateralized risk-linked securities, known as catastrophe bonds. For events outside the United States, we also purchase traditional catastrophe reinsurance.

The North American catastrophe treaty has an initial retention of $500 million and provides coverage for exposures in the United States and Canada of approximately 34% of losses (net of recoveries from other available reinsurance) between $500 million and $900 million and approximately 72% of losses (net of recoveries) between $900 million and $1.65 billion. For certain catastrophic events in the northeastern part of the United States or along the southern U.S. coastline, the combination of the North American catastrophe treaty, supplemental catastrophe reinsurance and/or the catastrophe bond arrangements provide additional coverages as discussed below.

The catastrophe bond arrangements provide reinsurance coverage for specific types of losses in specific geographic locations. They are generally designed to supplement coverage provided under the North American catastrophe treaty. We currently have two catastrophe bond arrangements in effect. We have a $475 million reinsurance arrangement, a portion of which expires in March 2014 and the remainder in March 2015, that provides coverage for our exposure to homeowners and commercial losses related to certain hurricane, earthquake, severe thunderstorm and winter storm loss events in twelve states in the northeastern United States and the District of Columbia. We also have a $150 million reinsurance arrangement that expires in March 2016 that provides coverage for homeowners-related hurricane and severe thunderstorm losses in eight states along the southern U.S. coastline.

For the indicated catastrophic events in the northeastern United States, the combination of the North American catastrophe treaty, the supplemental catastrophe reinsurance and the $475 million catastrophe bond arrangement provides additional coverage of approximately 65% of losses (net of recoveries from other available reinsurance) between $1.65 billion and $3.65 billion.

For hurricane and severe thunderstorm events along the southern U.S. coastline, the $150 million catastrophe bond arrangement provides additional coverage of approximately 50% of homeowners-related hurricane and severe thunderstorm losses (net of recoveries from other available reinsurance) between $850 million and $1.15 billion.

 

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For hurricane events in Florida, in addition to the coverage provided by the North American catastrophe treaty and the $150 million catastrophe bond arrangement discussed above, we have reinsurance from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (FHCF), which is a state-mandated fund designed to reimburse insurers for a portion of their residential catastrophic hurricane losses. Our participation in this mandatory program limits our initial retention in Florida for homeowners-related losses to approximately $165 million and provides coverage of 90% of covered losses between approximately $165 million and $595 million.

Our primary property catastrophe treaty for events outside the United States, including Canada, provides coverage of approximately 75% of losses (net of recoveries from other available reinsurance) between $100 million and $350 million. For catastrophic events in Australia and Canada, additional reinsurance provides coverage of 80% of losses (net of recoveries from other available reinsurance) between $350 million and $475 million.

In addition to catastrophe treaties, we also have a commercial property per risk treaty. This treaty provides coverage per risk of approximately $600 million to $800 million (depending upon the currency in which the insurance policy was issued) in excess of our initial retention. Our initial retention is generally between $25 million and $35 million.

In addition to our major property catastrophe and property per risk treaties, we purchase several smaller property treaties that only cover specific classes of business or locations having concentrations of risk.

Recoveries under our property reinsurance treaties are subject to certain coinsurance requirements that affect the interaction of some elements of our reinsurance program.

Our property reinsurance treaties generally contain terrorism exclusions for acts perpetrated by foreign terrorists, and for nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological loss causes whether such acts are perpetrated by foreign or domestic terrorists.

After stabilizing in 2011, reinsurance rates for property risks increased in 2012 due in large part to the significant catastrophe losses incurred worldwide by the insurance industry in 2011. Nevertheless, based on changes in coverage we made upon renewal of the major components of our program, the overall cost of our property reinsurance program was modestly lower in 2012 than in 2011, excluding the reinstatement premium costs associated with Storm Sandy. We do not expect the changes we made to our property reinsurance program during 2012 to have a material effect on the Corporation’s results of operations, financial condition or liquidity.

Our major, traditional property reinsurance treaties expire on April 1, 2013. Although the industry incurred significant catastrophe losses in 2012, particularly in the United States, we expect that reinsurance rates for property risks will vary somewhat in 2013 depending on individual insurers’ and reinsurers’ exposure to Storm Sandy related losses. The final structure of our reinsurance program and amount of coverage purchased, including the mixture of traditional catastrophe reinsurance and collateralized reinsurance coverage funded through the issuance of collateralized risk linked securities, is still being determined and will affect our total reinsurance costs in 2013.

Profitability

The combined loss and expense ratio (or combined ratio), expressed as a percentage, is the key measure of underwriting profitability traditionally used in the property and casualty insurance business. Management evaluates the performance of our underwriting operations and of each of our business units using, among other measures, the combined ratio calculated in accordance with statutory accounting principles. It is the sum of the ratio of losses and loss expenses to premiums earned (loss ratio) plus the ratio of statutory underwriting expenses to premiums written (expense ratio) after reducing both premium amounts by dividends to policyholders. When the combined ratio is under 100%, underwriting results are generally considered profitable; when the combined ratio is over 100%, underwriting results are generally considered unprofitable.

 

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Statutory accounting principles applicable to property and casualty insurance companies differ in certain respects from generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Under statutory accounting principles, policy acquisition and other underwriting expenses are recognized immediately, not at the time premiums are earned. Management uses underwriting results determined in accordance with GAAP, among other measures, to assess the overall performance of our underwriting operations. To convert statutory underwriting results to a GAAP basis, certain policy acquisition expenses are deferred and amortized over the period in which the related premiums are earned. Underwriting income determined in accordance with GAAP is defined as premiums earned less losses and loss expenses incurred and GAAP underwriting expenses incurred.

An accident year is the calendar year in which a loss is incurred or, in the case of claims-made policies, the calendar year in which a loss is reported. The total losses and loss expenses incurred for a particular calendar year include current accident year losses and loss expenses as well as any increases or decreases to our estimates of losses and loss expenses that occurred in all prior accident years, which we refer to as prior year loss development.

Underwriting results were profitable in 2012 and 2011 and highly profitable in 2010. The combined loss and expense ratio for our overall property and casualty business was as follows:

 

     Years Ended December 31  
       2012         2011         2010    

Loss ratio

     63.6     63.8     58.1

Expense ratio

     31.7        31.5        31.2   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Combined loss and expense ratio

     95.3     95.3     89.3
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

While the loss ratio in each of the last three years included the negative impact of significant catastrophes, it also reflected favorable loss experience excluding catastrophes that we believe resulted from our disciplined underwriting in recent years, as well as moderate loss trends, particularly in our personal and commercial insurance segments. Results in our specialty insurance business, while profitable, have been adversely affected by the lingering effects of the weak economy in recent years. Results in all three years benefited from favorable prior year loss development. For more information on prior year loss development, see “Property and Casualty Insurance — Loss Reserves, Prior Year Loss Development.”

The loss ratio in 2012 was similar to 2011, as a lower amount of favorable prior year loss development and a slightly higher impact of catastrophes in 2012 were offset by a decrease in the current accident year loss ratio excluding catastrophes. The loss ratio was higher in 2011 compared with 2010 due to a higher impact of catastrophes and a modest increase in the current accident year loss ratio excluding catastrophes.

Our estimated net losses from Storm Sandy were $829 million and we incurred $53 million of reinsurance reinstatement premium costs related to the storm. Our estimated gross losses from Storm Sandy were about $1.1 billion, with almost all of the losses from property claims, both commercial and homeowners, and only a modest impact from automobile and other claims. Our net losses of $829 million were lower than the gross amount due primarily to our traditional property catastrophe treaty and, to a much lesser extent, per risk and quota share reinsurance treaties as well as facultative reinsurance placed on an individual risk basis. While it is possible that our estimate of ultimate gross losses related to Storm Sandy could change in the future, we do not expect that any such change would have a material effect on the Corporation’s consolidated financial condition or liquidity, due to the substantial amount of remaining reinsurance available for this event under a combination of the catastrophe treaty and other components of our property reinsurance program.

In 2012, the net impact of all catastrophes was $1.1 billion, which represented 9.6 percentage points of the combined ratio. We incurred just under $1.1 billion of catastrophe losses and $53 million of related reinsurance reinstatement premium costs. The impact of catastrophes was $1.0 billion in 2011 and $634 million in 2010, which represented 8.9 percentage points and 5.7 percentage points,

 

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respectively, of the combined ratio. In 2012, most of the impact of catastrophes was due to Storm Sandy, but there were also catastrophe losses related to other events, including several severe hail and wind storms in the United States. A significant portion of the catastrophe losses in 2011 related to flooding in Australia as well as tornadoes and other storms in the United States, including losses of about $300 million related to Hurricane Irene. A significant portion of the catastrophe losses in 2010 related to numerous storms in the United States and, to a lesser extent, an earthquake in Chile.

The only reinsurance recoverable we had from our primary catastrophe reinsurance treaties during the three year period ended December 31, 2012 was that related to Storm Sandy because there was no other individual catastrophe event for which our losses exceeded our initial retention under the treaties. Under a region-specific property catastrophe reinsurance treaty, we had recoveries of about $60 million of our gross losses related to the earthquake in Chile in 2010.

Our expense ratio increased only slightly in 2012 and 2011 compared with the respective prior year. The increase in the expense ratio from 2010 to 2011 was due primarily to an increase in commissions on business written outside the United States partially offset by overhead expenses increasing at a lower rate than the rate of growth of premiums written. The increase in commissions outside the United States was due primarily to premium growth in classes of business with higher commission rates.

Review of Underwriting Results by Business Unit

Personal Insurance

Net premiums written from personal insurance, which represented 35% of our premiums written in 2012, increased by 4% in both 2012 and 2011 compared with the respective prior year. Net premiums written for the classes of business within the personal insurance segment were as follows:

 

     Years Ended December 31  
     2012        % Increase
2012 vs.  2011
    2011        % Increase
2011 vs.  2010
    2010  
     (dollars in millions)  

Automobile

   $ 691           1   $ 682           7   $ 638   

Homeowners

     2,554           3        2,477           4        2,382   

Other

     880           8        818           2        805   
  

 

 

        

 

 

        

 

 

 

Total personal

   $ 4,125           4      $ 3,977           4      $ 3,825   
  

 

 

        

 

 

        

 

 

 

Growth in net premiums written in our personal insurance business in 2012 occurred both inside and outside the United States, due in large part to new business, strong retention of existing business as well as higher rates and higher insured exposures upon renewal. In 2012, growth was more significant in the United States than growth outside the United States, which reflected the negative impact of foreign currency translation. Overall growth in net premiums written in our personal insurance business in 2011 was driven by growth outside the United States across all components of this business, due in large part to new business and, to a lesser extent, the positive impact of foreign currency translation. Personal automobile premiums increased slightly in 2012 and substantially in 2011 compared to the respective preceding year. Premium growth for personal automobile business in the United States, which remained a highly competitive marketplace, was modest in both years. Growth for personal automobile business written outside the United States was near flat in 2012, as the negative impact of foreign currency translation offset the new business growth in select locations, compared with strong growth in 2011. Premiums written outside the United States represented approximately 40% of our net premiums written in 2012 for the automobile class worldwide, with a substantial portion written in Brazil. Premiums from our homeowners business increased modestly in both years, with growth occurring both inside and outside the United States. Growth both inside and outside the United States in 2012 reflected higher renewal rates as well as increases in coverage on existing policies. In 2011, growth both inside and outside the United States was due primarily to new business and, to a lesser extent, increases in coverage on existing policies. Premiums from our other personal business, which includes accident and health, excess liability and yacht coverages, increased significantly in 2012 after increasing slightly in 2011. In

 

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2012, growth occurred in our excess liability business, which is predominantly written in the United States, and in our accident and health business, both inside and outside the United States. Growth in 2011 was attributable primarily to an increase in premiums in our excess liability business. Premiums for our accident and health business were flat in 2011 as growth outside the United States, attributable to new business initiatives and, to a lesser extent, the positive effect of foreign currency translation was offset by a significant decrease in premiums written inside the United States, due to our decision to exit and run off the employer health care stop loss component of this business.

Our personal insurance business produced profitable underwriting results in 2012 and 2011 and highly profitable results in 2010. Results were more profitable in 2010 due in part to a lower impact of catastrophe losses. The impact of catastrophes accounted for 13.7 percentage points of the combined loss and expense ratio for our personal business in 2012, compared with 13.1 percentage points in 2011 and 10.2 percentage points in 2010. Most of the catastrophe losses in 2012 related to storms in the United States, particularly Storm Sandy. A significant portion of the catastrophe losses in 2011 and 2010 also related to storms in the United States, including Hurricane Irene in 2011. Results were more profitable in 2012 compared with 2011 due to better results in our homeowners business, driven mainly by improvement in the current accident year loss ratio excluding catastrophes. In addition to the higher impact of catastrophes, results were less profitable in 2011 compared to 2010 due to a higher expense ratio, a higher current accident year loss ratio excluding catastrophes and a lower amount of favorable prior year loss development. The combined loss and expense ratios for the classes of business within the personal insurance segment were as follows:

 

     Years Ended December 31  
     2012     2011     2010  

Automobile

     93.4     94.4     90.8

Homeowners

     94.2        100.2        91.7   

Other

     95.6        95.7        91.2   

Total personal

     94.4        98.3        91.5   

Our personal automobile results were profitable in 2012 and 2011 and highly profitable in 2010. Results in all three years benefited from moderate claim frequency and favorable prior year loss development.

Homeowners results were profitable in 2012, breakeven in 2011 and highly profitable in 2010. The more profitable results in 2012 compared with 2011 were due to a lower current accident year loss ratio excluding catastrophes, due in part to lower non-catastrophe weather-related losses. The less profitable results in 2011 compared with 2010 were due in large part to a higher impact of catastrophes, as well as a higher impact of non-catastrophe weather-related losses. The impact of catastrophes accounted for 21.0 percentage points of the combined loss and expense ratio for this class in 2012 compared with 20.6 percentage points in 2011 and 15.6 percentage points in 2010.

Our other personal business produced profitable results in each of the past three years, but more so in 2010. The less profitable results in 2012 and 2011 compared to 2010 reflected reduced profitability in the accident and health and excess liability components of this business. Results for our excess liability business, however, were highly profitable in all three years and benefited from favorable prior year loss development, particularly in 2010, as a result of better than expected loss trends. Our yacht business was also highly profitable in each of the past three years. Our accident and health business produced slightly profitable results in 2012 compared with breakeven results in 2011 and profitable results in 2010.

 

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Commercial Insurance

Net premiums written from commercial insurance, which represented 43% of our premiums written in 2012, increased by 2% in 2012 and 8% in 2011 compared with the respective prior year. Net premiums written for the classes of business within the commercial insurance segment were as follows:

 

     Years Ended December 31  
     2012        % Increase
(Decrease)
2012 vs. 2011
    2011        % Increase
2011 vs.  2010
    2010  
     (dollars in millions)  

Multiple peril

   $ 1,119           (2 )%    $ 1,136           4   $ 1,094   

Casualty

     1,641                  1,639           7        1,532   

Workers’ compensation.

     1,014           18        860           14        756   

Property and marine

     1,400           (1     1,416           9        1,294   
  

 

 

        

 

 

        

 

 

 

Total commercial

   $ 5,174           2      $ 5,051           8      $ 4,676   
  

 

 

        

 

 

        

 

 

 

In 2012, premium growth in our commercial insurance business was driven by an increase in business written in the United States. Net premiums written outside the United States decreased modestly in 2012 compared with 2011, due in part to the negative impact of foreign currency translation. Overall, premium growth for our commercial insurance business reflected improved pricing. Premium growth was limited in several classes of business, however, by a market that remained highly competitive and offered only limited attractive new business opportunities. The positive overall rate environment, which began in 2011, continued throughout 2012, particularly in the United States. Improvement in the rate environment outside the United States has generally been slower and continued to lag the United States. Average renewal rates in the United States were up significantly in 2012, with increases occurring in all major classes of our business. Average renewal rates outside the United States increased only slightly in 2012. Retention levels of our existing policyholders remained strong in 2012, but were down from those in 2011, both inside and outside the United States. The decline in retention was largely due to both our effort to increase rates and our non-renewal of some underperforming accounts and some property business in catastrophe exposed areas. The average renewal exposure change was close to flat in 2012, both inside and outside the United States. The amount of new business was down in 2012 compared with 2011, both inside and outside the United States, as we continued to maintain our underwriting discipline and our focus on obtaining adequate rates in the competitive market.

In 2011, premium growth occurred in all classes of our commercial insurance business. Growth occurred both inside and outside the United States. Premium growth outside the United States benefited modestly from the impact of foreign currency translation. Overall premium growth reflected higher rates, new business opportunities and slightly higher amounts of audit and endorsement premiums in a market that was highly competitive. In 2011, there was improvement in the overall rate environment, particularly in the United States, throughout the year. Average renewal rates in the United States increased over those in 2010 for all major classes of our commercial business. In 2011, the average renewal exposure change was flat in the United States and up slightly outside the United States. Retention levels of our existing policyholders remained strong and new business volume was up modestly in 2011 compared with 2010, driven by activity outside the United States.

Our commercial insurance business produced near breakeven underwriting results in 2012 and 2011 compared to profitable results in 2010. Results in all three years benefited from favorable loss experience, disciplined risk selection and appropriate terms and conditions in recent years. The 2012 results benefited from a lower current accident year loss ratio excluding catastrophes compared with 2011, but this was largely offset by a reduced amount of favorable prior year reserve development. The less profitable results in 2012 and 2011 compared to 2010 were mainly due to a higher impact of catastrophes. The impact of catastrophes accounted for 11.4 percentage points of the combined loss and expense ratio for our commercial insurance business in 2012, compared with 10.5 percentage points in 2011 and 5.4 percentage points in 2010. The less profitable results in 2011 compared with 2010 were also due to a higher current accident year loss ratio excluding catastrophes.

 

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The combined loss and expense ratios for the classes of business within commercial insurance were as follows:

 

     Years Ended December 31  
     2012     2011     2010  

Multiple peril

     93.7     101.5     94.7

Casualty

     92.1        87.9        91.7   

Workers’ compensation

     93.7        93.2        93.4   

Property and marine

     115.0        114.7        90.5   

Total commercial

     99.0        99.3        92.3   

Multiple peril results were profitable in 2012 and 2010 compared with slightly unprofitable results in 2011. The profitable results in 2012 compared with the unprofitable results in 2011 were due primarily to a lower impact of catastrophes and a lower current accident year loss ratio excluding catastrophes in the property component of this business, offset in part by less profitable results in the liability component. The unprofitable results in 2011 compared with the profitable results in 2010 were mainly due to a higher impact of catastrophes in the property component, offset in part by more profitable results in the liability component due to a higher amount of favorable prior year loss development. The impact of catastrophes accounted for 10.9 percentage points of the combined loss and expense ratio for the multiple peril class in 2012 compared with 15.1 percentage points in 2011 and 10.3 percentage points in 2010. The property component reflected moderate non-catastrophe losses in all three years, particularly outside the United States in 2010.

Results for our casualty business were profitable in each of the past three years, particularly in 2011. Results for the automobile component of our casualty business were near breakeven in 2012 compared with profitable results in 2011 and 2010. Automobile results were more profitable in 2011 compared with 2012 and 2010 mainly due to a higher amount of favorable prior year loss development. Results for the primary liability component of this business were unprofitable in 2012. Results for this component were profitable in 2011 and 2010, but more so in 2011. Primary liability results deteriorated in 2012 compared with 2011 and 2010 partly due to an increase in the frequency of large reported losses, many of which related to prior accident years. Conversely, results in 2011 benefited from a significant amount of favorable prior year loss development. Results for the excess liability component were increasingly profitable in each of the past three years. Excess liability results in all three years benefited from substantial favorable prior year loss development mainly due to lower than expected claim severity. Results for our casualty business were adversely affected in the last three years by incurred losses related to toxic waste claims and asbestos claims. Our analysis of these exposures resulted in increases in the estimate of our ultimate liabilities. Such losses represented 3.4 percentage points of the combined ratio for this business in 2012, 4.0 percentage points in 2011 and 2.7 percentage points in 2010.

Workers’ compensation results were profitable in each of the past three years reflecting our disciplined risk selection during the past several years. Results in 2011 benefited from modest favorable prior year loss development.

Property and marine results were highly unprofitable in 2012 and 2011 compared with highly profitable results in 2010. The unprofitable results in 2012 and 2011 were primarily due to a higher impact of catastrophes. The impact of catastrophes accounted for 31.6 percentage points of the combined loss and expense ratio in 2012 compared with 24.9 percentage points in 2011 and 8.9 percentage points in 2010. Excluding the impact of catastrophes, the combined ratio was 83.4%, 89.8% and 81.6% in 2012, 2011 and 2010, respectively. On this basis, the improved results in 2012 compared to 2011 primarily reflected a lower current accident year loss ratio excluding catastrophes, partly due to a lower frequency of losses. The less profitable results in 2011 compared to 2010, excluding the impact of catastrophes, primarily reflected a higher current accident year loss ratio excluding catastrophes, partly due to a higher frequency of large losses.

 

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Specialty Insurance

Net premiums written from specialty insurance, which represented 22% of our premiums written in 2012, decreased by 6% in 2012 and were flat in 2011 compared with the respective prior year. Net premiums written for the classes of business within the specialty insurance segment were as follows:

 

     Years Ended December 31  
     2012        % Decrease
2012 vs.  2011
    2011        % Increase
2011 vs.  2010
    2010  
     (dollars in millions)  

Professional liability.

   $ 2,273           (5 )%    $ 2,388             $ 2,398   

Surety

     295           (11     332           1        329   
  

 

 

        

 

 

        

 

 

 

Total specialty

   $ 2,568           (6   $ 2,720                $ 2,727   
  

 

 

        

 

 

        

 

 

 

Net premiums written in our professional liability business decreased by 5% in 2012 and were flat in 2011 compared with the respective prior year. Net premiums written in the United States decreased modestly in both years. Net premiums written outside the United States also decreased in 2012 but increased in 2011. Premium growth in our professional liability business remained constrained in both years by the continuing effects of the economic downturn in recent years and our focus on profitability rather than premium volume in what remains a highly competitive marketplace. Nevertheless, there was improvement in the overall rate environment, particularly in the United States, that began in late 2011 and continued throughout 2012. During this period, we pursued rate increases on our professional liability business to address margin compression experienced in these classes of business in recent years. Retention levels for this business remained strong, but declined modestly in 2012 compared to those in recent years as a result of our rate increase initiative, particularly in the United States. New business declined in both years in the United States. New business also declined outside the United States in 2012 but was flat in 2011. The decline in retention levels and new business volume in 2012 is consistent with our desire to selectively reduce our exposure in some customer segments where current rate levels are not attractive, as well as our commitment to maintaining underwriting discipline in this environment.

Average renewal rates for our professional liability business were up significantly in the United States in 2012, after declining slightly in 2011. The average rate of increase grew throughout 2012. The most significant increases in 2012 occurred in the directors and officers liability and employment practices liability lines of business. Average renewal rates outside the United States were up slightly in 2012 after a modest decline in 2011.

Net premiums written in our surety business declined significantly in 2012 and increased only slightly in 2011 compared to the respective prior year. In both years, net premiums written in the United States decreased, due to the effects of the weak economic conditions that resulted in fewer contracts requiring a surety bond being awarded to our existing customers that operate in the construction industry. Net written premiums written outside the United States increased in both years.

Our specialty insurance business produced profitable underwriting results in 2012 and highly profitable results in 2011 and 2010. The combined loss and expense ratios for the classes of business within specialty insurance were as follows:

 

     Years Ended December 31  
      2012     2011     2010  

Professional liability

     96.7     89.9     87.8

Surety

     51.4        49.1        41.3   

Total specialty

     91.3        85.1        82.2   

Our professional liability business produced profitable results in 2012 and highly profitable results in 2011 and 2010. The less profitable results in 2012 compared with 2011 and 2010 were due to a higher current accident year combined ratio and to a lower amount of favorable prior year loss development, particularly outside the United States. The fiduciary liability class produced highly profitable results in each of the past three years. Results for the directors and officers liability class were also highly

 

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profitable in all three years, but more so in 2011 and 2010. Results for both the fiduciary liability and directors and officers liability classes reflected favorable prior year loss development in each of the past three years. For the fidelity class, results were unprofitable in 2012. Results for this class were profitable in 2011 and 2010, but more so in 2010. The less profitable results in each successive year reflected increased large loss activity resulting from alleged third party and insured-employee criminal activity. Results for the employment practices liability class were highly unprofitable in 2012 compared with near breakeven results in 2011 and highly profitable results in 2010. The less profitable results in 2012 and 2011 in this class were due to deterioration in the current accident year loss ratio relative to the respective prior year. Results in 2012 also reflected unfavorable prior year loss development, while results in 2010 benefited from favorable prior year loss development. Employment practices liability claims have been more numerous and protracted in recent years due primarily to the effect of the economic downturn and higher unemployment levels during that time. Our errors and omissions liability business produced highly unprofitable results in each of the past three years, reflecting unfavorable prior year loss development and generally elevated claim frequency levels in recent years, particularly outside the United States.

Collectively, the results for the professional liability classes benefited from favorable prior year loss development in the past three years, but less so in each successive year, driven mainly by positive loss experience related to accident years 2008 and prior. The current accident year combined ratio in our professional liability business was slightly above breakeven in 2012 and near breakeven in 2011 and 2010. The higher current accident year combined ratio in 2012 was attributable to adverse loss trends in certain classes within this component of our business.

Our surety business produced highly profitable results in each of the past three years due to favorable loss experience. Our surety business tends to be characterized by losses that are infrequent but have the potential to be highly severe. When losses occur, they are sometimes mitigated by recovery rights to the customer’s assets, contract payments, collateral and bankruptcy recoveries.

The majority of our surety obligations are intended to be performance-based guarantees. We manage our exposure by individual account and by specific bond type. We have substantial commercial and construction surety exposure for current and prior customers, including exposures related to surety bonds issued on behalf of companies that have experienced deterioration in creditworthiness since we issued bonds to them. We therefore may experience an increase in filed claims and may incur high severity losses, especially in light of ongoing economic conditions. Such losses would be recognized if and when claims are filed and determined to be valid, and could have a material adverse effect on the Corporation’s results of operations.

Reinsurance Assumed

In 2005, we transferred our ongoing reinsurance assumed business and certain related assets, including renewal rights, to a reinsurance company. The reinsurer generally did not assume our reinsurance liabilities relating to reinsurance contracts incepting prior to December 31, 2005. We retained those liabilities and the related assets. For a transition period of about two years, the same reinsurer underwrote specific reinsurance business on our behalf. We retained a portion of this business and ceded the balance to the reinsurer.

As this business is in runoff, net premiums written from our reinsurance assumed business were not significant during the past three years. Reinsurance assumed results were profitable in each of the past three years. Results in each year benefited from favorable prior year loss development.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Our property and casualty subsidiaries have exposure to losses caused by natural perils such as hurricanes and other windstorms, earthquakes, severe winter weather and brush fires as well as from man-made catastrophic events such as terrorism. The frequency and severity of catastrophes are inherently unpredictable.

 

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Natural Catastrophes

The extent of losses from a natural catastrophe is a function of both the total amount of insured exposure in an area affected by the event and the severity of the event. We regularly assess our concentrations of risk in natural catastrophe exposed areas globally and have strategies and underwriting standards to manage these exposures through individual risk selection, subject to regulatory constraints, and through the purchase of catastrophe reinsurance coverage. We use catastrophe modeling and a risk concentration management tool to monitor and control our accumulations of potential losses in natural catastrophe exposed areas in the United States, such as California and the gulf and east coasts, as well as in natural catastrophe exposed areas in other countries. The information provided by the catastrophe modeling and the risk concentration management tool has resulted in our non-renewing some accounts and refraining from writing others.

Catastrophe modeling generally relies on multiple inputs based on experience, science, engineering and history, and the selection of those inputs requires a significant amount of judgment. The modeling results may also fail to account for risks that are outside the range of normal probability or are otherwise unforeseen. Because of this, actual results may differ materially from those derived from our modeling exercises.

We also continue to actively explore and analyze credible scientific evidence, including the potential impact of global climate change, that may affect our ability to manage our exposure under the insurance policies we issue as well as the impact that laws and regulations intended to combat climate change may have on us.

Despite our efforts to manage our catastrophe exposure, the occurrence of one or more severe natural catastrophic events could have a material effect on the Corporation’s results of operations, financial condition or liquidity.

Terrorism Risk and Legislation

The September 11, 2001 attack changed the way the property and casualty insurance industry views catastrophic risk. That tragic event demonstrated that numerous classes of business we write are subject to terrorism related catastrophic risks in addition to the catastrophic risks related to natural occurrences. This, together with the limited availability of terrorism reinsurance, required us to change how we identify and evaluate risk accumulations. We have licensed a terrorism model that provides loss estimates under numerous event scenarios.

Actual results may differ materially from those suggested by the model. The risk concentration management tool referred to above also enables us to identify locations and geographic areas that are exposed to risk accumulations. The information provided by the terrorism model and the risk concentration management tool has resulted in our non-renewing some accounts, subject to regulatory constraints, and refraining from writing others.

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 and more recently, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007 (collectively TRIA), are limited duration programs under which the U.S. federal government has agreed to share the risk of loss arising from certain acts of terrorism with the insurance industry. The current program, which will terminate on December 31, 2014, is applicable to many lines of commercial business but excludes, among others, commercial automobile, surety and professional liability insurance, other than directors and officers liability. The current program provides protection from all foreign and domestic acts of terrorism.

 

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As a precondition to recovery under TRIA, insurance companies with direct commercial insurance exposure in the United States for TRIA lines of business are required to make insurance for covered acts of terrorism available under their policies. In the event of an act of terrorism, each insurer has a separate deductible that it must meet before federal assistance becomes available. The deductible is based on a percentage of direct U.S. earned premiums for the covered lines of business in the previous calendar year. For 2013, that deductible is 20% of direct premiums earned in 2012 for these lines of business. For losses above the deductible, the federal government will pay for 85% of covered losses, while the insurer retains 15%. There is a combined annual aggregate limit for the federal government and all insurers of $100 billion. If acts of terrorism result in covered losses exceeding the $100 billion annual limit, insurers are not liable for additional losses. While we expect the provisions of TRIA will mitigate our exposure in the event of a large-scale terrorist attack, our deductible is substantial, approximating $1.0 billion in 2013.

For certain classes of business, such as workers’ compensation, terrorism coverage is mandatory. For those classes of business where it is not mandatory, policyholders may choose not to purchase terrorism coverage, which would, subject to other statutory or regulatory restrictions, reduce our exposure.

We also have exposure outside the United States to risk of loss from acts of terrorism. In some jurisdictions, we have access to government mechanisms that would mitigate our exposure.

We will continue to manage this type of catastrophic risk by monitoring terrorism risk aggregations. Nevertheless, given the unpredictability of the targets, frequency and severity of potential terrorist events as well as the very limited terrorism reinsurance coverage available in the market and the limitations of existing government programs and uncertainty regarding their availability in the future, the occurrence of a terrorist event could have a material adverse effect on the Corporation’s results of operations, financial condition or liquidity.

Loss Reserves

Unpaid losses and loss expenses, also referred to as loss reserves, are the largest liability of our property and casualty subsidiaries.

Our loss reserves include case estimates for claims that have been reported and estimates for claims that have been incurred but not reported at the balance sheet date as well as estimates of the expenses associated with processing and settling all reported and unreported claims, less estimates of anticipated salvage and subrogation recoveries. Estimates are based upon past loss experience modified for current trends as well as prevailing economic, legal and social conditions. Our loss reserves are not discounted to present value.

We regularly review our loss reserves using a variety of actuarial techniques. We update the reserve estimates as historical loss experience develops, additional claims are reported and/or settled and new information becomes available. Any changes in estimates are reflected in operating results in the period in which the estimates are changed.

Incurred but not reported (IBNR) reserve estimates are generally calculated by first projecting the ultimate cost of all claims that have occurred and then subtracting reported losses and loss expenses. Reported losses include cumulative paid losses and loss expenses plus case reserves. The IBNR reserve includes a provision for claims that have occurred but have not yet been reported to us, some of which are not yet known to the insured, as well as a provision for future development on reported claims. A relatively large proportion of our net loss reserves, particularly for long tail liability classes, are reserves for IBNR losses. In fact, about 70% of our aggregate net loss reserves at December 31, 2012 were for IBNR losses.

 

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Our gross case and IBNR loss reserves and related reinsurance recoverable by class of business were as follows:

 

     Gross Loss Reserves        Reinsurance
Recoverable
       Net
Loss
Reserves
 

December 31, 2012

   Case        IBNR        Total            
     (in millions)  

Personal insurance

                      

Automobile

   $ 265         $ 146         $ 411         $ 24         $ 387   

Homeowners

     437           589           1,026           128           898   

Other

     369           687           1,056           130           926   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Total personal

     1,071           1,422           2,493           282           2,211   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Commercial insurance

                      

Multiple peril

     598           1,257           1,855           56           1,799   

Casualty

     1,504           5,339           6,843           358           6,485   

Workers’ compensation

     963           1,862           2,825           218           2,607   

Property and marine

     825           940           1,765           449           1,316   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Total commercial

     3,890           9,398           13,288           1,081           12,207   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Specialty insurance

                      

Professional liability

     1,440           6,095           7,535           385           7,150   

Surety

     28           59           87           4           83   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Total specialty

     1,468           6,154           7,622           389           7,233   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Total insurance

     6,429           16,974           23,403           1,752           21,651   

Reinsurance assumed

     193           367           560           189           371   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Total

   $ 6,622         $ 17,341         $ 23,963         $ 1,941         $ 22,022   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 
      Gross Loss Reserves        Reinsurance
Recoverable
       Net
Loss
Reserves
 

December 31, 2011

   Case        IBNR        Total            
     (in millions)  

Personal insurance

                      

Automobile

   $ 269         $ 151         $ 420         $ 16         $ 404   

Homeowners

     431           349           780           11           769   

Other

     392           649           1,041           139           902   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Total personal

     1,092           1,149           2,241           166           2,075   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Commercial insurance

                      

Multiple peril

     600           1,169           1,769           34           1,735   

Casualty

     1,388           5,229           6,617           343           6,274   

Workers’ compensation

     913           1,669           2,582           190           2,392   

Property and marine

     896           558           1,454           336           1,118   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Total commercial

     3,797           8,625           12,422           903           11,519   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Specialty insurance

                      

Professional liability

     1,498           6,098           7,596           416           7,180   

Surety

     27           54           81           6           75   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Total specialty

     1,525           6,152           7,677           422           7,255   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Total insurance

     6,414           15,926           22,340           1,491           20,849   

Reinsurance assumed

     240           488           728           248           480   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Total

   $ 6,654         $ 16,414         $ 23,068         $ 1,739         $ 21,329   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

 

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Loss reserves, net of reinsurance recoverable, increased by $693 million or 3% in 2012. The effect of catastrophes increased loss reserves by $366 million. Loss reserves related to our insurance business increased by $802 million. Loss reserves related to our reinsurance assumed business, which is in runoff, decreased by $109 million.

Total gross loss reserves related to our insurance business increased by $1.1 billion in 2012, almost all of which was an increase in IBNR reserves. The largest increases in gross IBNR reserves were in the homeowners and property and marine classes driven primarily by higher catastrophe-related loss reserves attributable to Storm Sandy. Gross IBNR reserves also increased in the casualty and workers’ compensation classes, where case reserves increased as well, partly due to increased exposures. Reinsurance recoverable related to our insurance business increased by $261 million in 2012, driven by significant increases in expected recoveries in the homeowners and property and marine classes related to gross losses from Storm Sandy.

In establishing the loss reserves of our property and casualty subsidiaries, we consider facts currently known and the present state of the law and coverage litigation. Based on all information currently available, we believe that the aggregate loss reserves at December 31, 2012 were adequate to cover claims for losses that had occurred as of that date, including both those known to us and those yet to be reported. However, as described below, there are significant uncertainties inherent in the loss reserving process. It is therefore possible that management’s estimate of the ultimate liability for losses that had occurred as of December 31, 2012 may change, which could have a material effect on the Corporation’s results of operations and financial condition.

Estimates and Uncertainties

The process of establishing loss reserves is complex and imprecise as it must take into consideration many variables that are subject to the outcome of future events. As a result, informed subjective estimates and judgments as to our ultimate exposure to losses are an integral component of our loss reserving process.

Given the inherent complexity of the loss reserving process and the potential variability of the assumptions used, the actual emergence of losses could vary, perhaps substantially, from the estimate of losses included in our financial statements, particularly in those instances where settlements do not occur until well into the future. Our net loss reserves at December 31, 2012 were $22.0 billion. Therefore, a relatively small percentage change in the estimate of net loss reserves would have a material effect on the Corporation’s results of operations.

Reserves Other than Those Relating to Asbestos and Toxic Waste Claims. Our loss reserves include amounts related to short tail and long tail classes of business. “Tail” refers to the time period between the occurrence of a loss and the settlement of the claim. The longer the time span between the incidence of a loss and the settlement of the claim, the more the ultimate settlement amount can vary.

Short tail classes consist principally of homeowners, commercial property and marine business. For these classes, claims are generally reported and settled shortly after the loss occurs and the claims usually relate to tangible property. Consequently, the estimation of loss reserves for these classes is less complex.

Most of our loss reserves relate to long tail liability classes of business. Long tail classes include directors and officers liability, errors and omissions liability and other professional liability coverages, commercial primary and excess liability, workers’ compensation and other liability coverages. For many liability claims significant periods of time, ranging up to several years or more, may elapse between the occurrence of the loss, the reporting of the loss to us and the settlement of the claim. As a result, loss experience in the more recent accident years for the long tail liability classes has limited statistical credibility because a relatively small proportion of losses in these accident years are reported claims and an even smaller proportion are paid losses.

An accident year is the calendar year in which a loss is incurred or, in the case of claims-made policies, the calendar year in which a loss is reported. Liability claims are also more susceptible to

 

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litigation and can be significantly affected by changing contract interpretations and the legal and economic environment. Consequently, the estimation of loss reserves for these classes is more complex and typically subject to a higher degree of variability than for short tail classes. As a result, the role of judgment is much greater for these reserve estimates.

Most of our reinsurance assumed business is long tail casualty reinsurance. Reserve estimates for this business are therefore subject to the variability caused by extended loss emergence periods. The estimation of loss reserves for this business is further complicated by delays between the time the claim is reported to the ceding insurer and when it is reported by the ceding insurer to us and by our dependence on the quality and consistency of the loss reporting by the ceding company.

Our actuaries perform a comprehensive review of loss reserves for each of the numerous classes of business we write at least once a year. The timing of such review varies by class of business and, for some classes, the jurisdiction in which the policy was written. The review process takes into consideration the variety of trends that impact the ultimate settlement of claims in each particular class of business. Additionally, each quarter our actuaries review the emergence of paid and reported losses relative to expectations and, as necessary, conduct reserve reviews for particular classes of business.

The loss reserve estimation process relies on the basic assumption that past experience, adjusted for the effects of current developments and likely trends, is an appropriate basis for predicting future outcomes. As part of that process, our actuaries use a variety of actuarial methods that analyze experience, trends and other relevant factors. The principal standard actuarial methods used by our actuaries in the loss reserve reviews include loss development factor methods, expected loss ratio methods, Bornheutter-Ferguson methods and frequency/severity methods.

Loss development factor methods generally assume that the losses yet to emerge for an accident year are proportional to the paid or reported loss amounts observed so far. Historical patterns of the development of paid and reported losses by accident year can be predictive of the expected future patterns that are applied to current paid and reported losses to generate estimated ultimate losses by accident year.

Expected loss ratio methods use loss ratios for prior accident years, adjusted to reflect our evaluation of recent loss trends, the current risk environment, changes in our book of business and changes in our pricing and underwriting, to determine the appropriate expected loss ratio for a given accident year. The expected loss ratio for each accident year is multiplied by the earned premiums for that year to calculate estimated ultimate losses.

Bornheutter-Ferguson methods are combinations of an expected loss ratio method and a loss development factor method, where the loss development factor method is given more weight as an accident year matures.

Frequency/severity methods first project ultimate claim counts (using one or more of the other methods described above) and then multiply those counts by an estimated average claim cost to calculate estimated ultimate losses. The average claim costs are often estimated through a regression analysis of historical severity data. Generally, these methods work best for high frequency, low severity classes of business.

In completing their loss reserve analysis, our actuaries are required to determine the most appropriate actuarial methods to employ for each class of business. Within each class, the business is further segregated by accident year and, where appropriate, by jurisdiction. Each estimation method has its own pattern, parameter and/or judgmental dependencies, with no estimation method being better than the others in all situations. The relative strengths and weaknesses of the various estimation methods when applied to a particular class of business can also change over time, depending on the underlying circumstances. In many cases, multiple estimation methods will be valid for the particular facts and circumstances of the relevant class of business. The manner of application and the degree of reliance on a given method will vary by class of business, by accident year and by jurisdiction based on our actuaries’ evaluation of the above dependencies and the potential volatility of the loss frequency and severity patterns. The estimation methods selected or given weight by our actuaries at a particular

 

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valuation date are those that are believed to produce the most reliable indication for the loss reserves being evaluated. These selections incorporate input from claims personnel, pricing actuaries and underwriting management on loss cost trends and other factors that could affect the reserve estimates.

For short tail classes, the emergence of paid and incurred losses generally exhibits a reasonably stable pattern of loss development from one accident year to the next. Thus, for these classes, the loss development factor method is generally relatively straightforward to apply and usually requires only modest extrapolation. For long tail classes, applying the loss development factor method often requires more judgment in selecting development factors as well as more significant extrapolation. For those long tail classes with high frequency and relatively low per-loss severity (e.g., workers’ compensation), volatility will often be sufficiently modest for the loss development factor method to be given significant weight, except in the most recent accident years.

For certain long tail classes of business, however, anticipated loss experience is less predictable because of the small number of claims and erratic claim severity patterns. These classes include directors and officers liability, errors and omissions liability and commercial excess liability, among others. For these classes, the loss development factor methods may not produce a reliable estimate of ultimate losses in the most recent accident years since many claims either have not yet been reported to us or are only in the early stages of the settlement process. Therefore, the actuarial estimates for these accident years are based on less extrapolatory methods, such as expected loss ratio and Bornheutter-Ferguson methods. Over time, as a greater number of claims are reported and the statistical credibility of loss experience increases, loss development factor methods are given increasingly more weight.

Using all the available data, our actuaries select an indicated loss reserve amount for each class of business based on the various assumptions, projections and methods. The total indicated reserve amount determined by our actuaries is an aggregate of the indicated reserve amounts for the individual classes of business. The ultimate outcome is likely to fall within a range of potential outcomes around this indicated amount, but the indicated amount is not expected to be precisely the ultimate liability.

Senior management meets with our actuaries at the end of each quarter to review the results of the latest loss reserve analysis. Based on this review, management determines the carried reserve for each class of business. In making the determination, management considers numerous factors, such as changes in actuarial indications in the period, the maturity of the accident year, trends observed over the recent past and the level of volatility within a particular class of business. In doing so, management must evaluate whether a change in the data represents credible actionable information or an anomaly. Such an assessment requires considerable judgment. Even if a change is determined to be permanent, it is not always possible to determine the extent of the change until sometime later. As a result, there can be a time lag between the emergence of a change and a determination that the change should be reflected in the carried loss reserves. In general, changes are made more quickly to more mature accident years and less volatile classes of business.

Among the numerous factors that contribute to the inherent uncertainty in the process of establishing loss reserves are the following:

 

   

changes in the inflation rate for goods and services related to covered damages such as medical care and home repair costs,

 

   

changes in the judicial interpretation of policy provisions relating to the determination of coverage,

 

   

changes in the general attitude of juries in the determination of liability and damages,

 

   

legislative actions,

 

   

changes in the medical condition of claimants,

 

   

changes in our estimates of the number and/or severity of claims that have been incurred but not reported as of the date of the financial statements,

 

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changes in our book of business,

 

   

changes in our underwriting standards, and

 

   

changes in our claim handling procedures.

In addition, we must consider the uncertain effects of emerging or potential claims and coverage issues that arise as legal, judicial and social conditions change. These issues have had, and may continue to have, a negative effect on our loss reserves by either extending coverage beyond the original underwriting intent or by increasing the number or size of claims. Examples of such issues include professional liability claims arising out of the recent crisis in the financial markets, directors and officers liability and errors and omissions liability claims arising out of accounting and other corporate malfeasance, and exposure to claims asserted for bodily injury as a result of long term exposure to harmful products or substances. As a result of issues such as these, the uncertainties inherent in estimating ultimate claim costs on the basis of past experience have grown, further complicating the already complex loss reserving process.

As part of our loss reserving analysis, we take into consideration the various factors that contribute to the uncertainty in the loss reserving process. Those factors that could materially affect our loss reserve estimates include loss development patterns and loss cost trends, rate and exposure level changes, the effects of changes in coverage and policy limits, business mix shifts, the effects of regulatory and legislative developments, the effects of changes in judicial interpretations, the effects of emerging claims and coverage issues and the effects of changes in claim handling practices. In making estimates of reserves, however, we do not necessarily make an explicit assumption for each of these factors. Moreover, all estimation methods do not utilize the same assumptions and typically no single method is determinative in the reserve analysis for a class of business. Consequently, changes in our loss reserve estimates generally are not the result of changes in any one assumption. Instead, the variability will be affected by the interplay of changes in numerous assumptions, many of which are implicit to the approaches used.

For each class of business, we regularly adjust the assumptions and actuarial methods used in the estimation of loss reserves in response to our actual loss experience as well as our judgments regarding changes in trends and/or emerging patterns. In those instances where we primarily utilize analyses of historical patterns of the development of paid and reported losses, this may be reflected, for example, in the selection of revised loss development factors. In those long tail classes of business that comprise a majority of our loss reserves and for which loss experience is less predictable due to potential changes in judicial interpretations, potential legislative actions and potential claims issues, this may be reflected in a judgmental change in our estimate of ultimate losses for particular accident years.

The future impact of the various factors that contribute to the uncertainty in the loss reserving process is extremely difficult to predict. There is potential for significant variation in the development of loss reserves, particularly for long tail classes of business. We do not derive statistical loss distributions or outcome confidence levels around our loss reserve estimate. Actuarial ranges of reasonable estimates are not a true reflection of the potential volatility between carried loss reserves and the ultimate settlement amount of losses incurred prior to the balance sheet date. This is due, among other reasons, to the fact that actuarial ranges are developed based on known events as of the valuation date whereas the ultimate disposition of losses is subject to the outcome of events and circumstances that were unknown as of the valuation date.

The following discussion includes disclosure of possible variation from current estimates of loss reserves due to a change in certain key assumptions for particular classes of business. These impacts are estimated individually, without consideration for any correlation among such assumptions or among lines of business. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to take the amounts and add them together in an attempt to estimate volatility for our loss reserves in total. We believe that the estimated variation in reserves detailed below is a reasonable estimate of the possible variation that may occur in the future. However, if such variation did occur, it would likely occur over a period of several years and therefore

 

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its impact on the Corporation’s results of operations would be spread over the same period. It is important to note, however, that there is the potential for future variation greater than the amounts discussed below.

Two of the larger components of our loss reserves relate to the professional liability classes other than fidelity and to commercial excess liability. The respective reported loss development patterns are key assumptions in estimating loss reserves for these classes of business, both as applied directly to more mature accident years and as applied indirectly (e.g., via Bornheutter-Ferguson methods) to less mature accident years.

Reserves for the professional liability classes other than fidelity were $6.7 billion, net of reinsurance, at December 31, 2012. Based on a review of our loss experience, if the loss development factor for each accident year changed such that the cumulative loss development factor for the most recent accident year changed by 10%, we estimate that the net reserves for professional liability classes other than fidelity would change by approximately $650 million, in either direction. This degree of change in the reported loss development pattern is within the historical variation around the averages in our data.

Reserves for commercial excess liability (excluding asbestos and toxic waste claims) were $3.1 billion, net of reinsurance, at December 31, 2012. These reserves are included within commercial casualty. Based on a review of our loss experience, if the loss development factor for each accident year changed such that the cumulative loss development factor for the most recent accident year changed by 20%, we estimate that the net reserves for commercial excess liability would change by approximately $375 million, in either direction. This degree of change in the reported loss development pattern is within the historical variation around the averages in our data.

Reserves Relating to Asbestos and Toxic Waste Claims. The estimation of loss reserves relating to asbestos and toxic waste claims on insurance policies written many years ago is subject to greater uncertainty than other types of claims due to inconsistent court decisions as well as judicial interpretations and legislative actions that in some cases have tended to broaden coverage beyond the original intent of such policies and in others have expanded theories of liability. The insurance industry as a whole is engaged in extensive litigation over coverage and liability issues and is thus confronted with a continuing uncertainty in its efforts to quantify these exposures.

Reserves for asbestos and toxic waste claims cannot be estimated with traditional actuarial loss reserving techniques that rely on historical accident year loss development factors. Instead, we rely on an exposure-based analysis that involves a detailed review of individual policy terms and exposures. Because each policyholder presents different liability and coverage issues, we generally evaluate our exposure on a policyholder-by-policyholder basis, considering a variety of factors that are unique to each policyholder. Quantitative techniques have to be supplemented by subjective considerations including management’s judgment.

We establish case reserves and expense reserves for costs of related litigation where sufficient information has been developed to indicate the involvement of a specific insurance policy. In addition, IBNR reserves are established to cover additional exposures on both known and unasserted claims.

We believe that the loss reserves carried at December 31, 2012 for asbestos and toxic waste claims were adequate. However, given the judicial decisions and legislative actions that have broadened the scope of coverage and expanded theories of liability in the past and the possibilities of similar interpretations in the future, it is possible that our estimate of loss reserves relating to these exposures may increase in future periods as new information becomes available and as claims develop.

Asbestos Reserves. Asbestos remains the most significant and difficult mass tort for the insurance industry in terms of claims volume and dollar exposure. Asbestos claims relate primarily to bodily injuries asserted by those who came in contact with asbestos or products containing asbestos. Tort theory affecting asbestos litigation has evolved over the years. Early court cases established the “continuous trigger” theory with respect to insurance coverage. Under this theory, insurance coverage is deemed to be triggered from the time a claimant is first exposed to asbestos until the manifestation of

 

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any disease. This interpretation of a policy trigger can involve insurance policies over many years and increases insurance companies’ exposure to liability. Until recently, judicial interpretations and legislative actions attempted to maximize insurance availability from both a coverage and liability standpoint.

New asbestos claims and new exposures on existing claims have continued despite the fact that usage of asbestos has declined since the mid-1970s. Many claimants were exposed to multiple asbestos products over an extended period of time. As a result, claim filings typically name dozens of defendants. The plaintiffs’ bar has solicited new claimants through extensive advertising and through asbestos medical screenings. A vast majority of asbestos bodily injury claims have been filed by claimants who do not show any signs of asbestos related disease. New asbestos cases are often filed in those jurisdictions with a reputation for judges and juries that are extremely sympathetic to plaintiffs.

Approximately 95 manufacturers and distributors of asbestos products have filed for bankruptcy protection as a result of asbestos related liabilities. A bankruptcy sometimes involves an agreement to a plan between the debtor and its creditors, including the creation of a trust to pay current and future asbestos claimants for their injuries. Although the debtor is negotiating in part with its insurers’ money, insurers are generally given only limited opportunity to be heard. In addition to contributing to the overall number of claims, bankruptcy proceedings not only result in increased settlement demands against remaining solvent defendants, but also create the potential for recoveries from multiple trusts by the same claimant for the same alleged injuries.

There have been some positive legislative and judicial developments in the asbestos environment over the past several years:

 

   

Various challenges to the mass screening of claimants have been mounted, which have led to higher medical evidentiary standards. For example, several asbestos injury settlement trusts have suspended their acceptance of claims that were based on the diagnosis of specific physicians or screening companies. Further investigations of the medical screening process for asbestos claims are underway.

 

   

A number of states have implemented legislative and judicial reforms that focus the courts’ resources on the claims of the most seriously injured. Those who allege serious injury and can present credible evidence of their injuries are receiving priority trial settings in the courts, while those who have not shown any credible disease manifestation are having their hearing dates delayed or placed on an inactive docket, which preserves the right to pursue litigation in the future.

 

   

A number of key jurisdictions have adopted venue reform that requires plaintiffs to have a connection to the jurisdiction in order to file a complaint.

 

   

In recognition that many aspects of bankruptcy plans are unfair to certain classes of claimants and to the insurance industry, these plans are being more closely scrutinized by the courts and rejected when appropriate.

 

   

A number of jurisdictions have passed or are considering legislation that will require fuller disclosure by plaintiffs of amounts received from asbestos bankruptcy trusts.

Our most significant individual asbestos exposures involve products liability on the part of “traditional” defendants who were engaged in the manufacture, distribution or installation of asbestos products. We wrote excess liability and/or general liability coverages for these insureds. While these insureds are relatively few in number, their exposure has become substantial due to the increased volume of claims, the erosion of the underlying limits and the bankruptcies of target defendants.

Our other asbestos exposures involve products and non-products liability on the part of “peripheral” defendants, including a mix of manufacturers, distributors and installers of certain products that contain asbestos in small quantities and owners or operators of properties where asbestos was present. Generally, these insureds are named defendants on a regional rather than a nationwide basis. As the

 

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financial resources of traditional asbestos defendants have been depleted, plaintiffs are targeting these viable peripheral parties with greater frequency and, in many cases, for large awards.

Asbestos claims against the major manufacturers, distributors or installers of asbestos products were typically presented under the products liability section of primary general liability policies as well as under excess liability policies, both of which typically had aggregate limits that capped an insurer’s exposure. In recent years, a number of asbestos claims by insureds are being presented as “non-products” claims, such as those by installers of asbestos products and by property owners or operators who allegedly had asbestos on their property, under the premises or operations section of primary general liability policies. Unlike products exposures, these non-products exposures typically had no aggregate limits on coverage, creating potentially greater exposure. Further, in an effort to seek additional insurance coverage, some insureds with installation activities who have substantially eroded their products coverage are presenting new asbestos claims as non-products operations claims or attempting to reclassify previously settled products claims as non-products claims to restore a portion of previously exhausted products aggregate limits. It is difficult to predict whether insureds will be successful in asserting claims under non-products coverage or whether insurers will be successful in asserting additional defenses. Accordingly, the ultimate cost to insurers of the claims for coverage not subject to aggregate limits is uncertain.

In establishing our asbestos reserves, we evaluate the exposure presented by each insured. As part of this evaluation, we consider a variety of factors including: the available insurance coverage; limits and deductibles; the jurisdictions involved; the number of claimants; the disease mix exhibited by the claimants; the past settlement values of similar claims; the potential role of other insurance, particularly underlying coverage below our excess liability policies; potential bankruptcy impact; relevant judicial interpretations; and applicable coverage defenses, including asbestos exclusions.

Various U.S. federal proposals to solve the ongoing asbestos litigation crisis have been considered by the U.S. Congress over the years, but none have yet been enacted. The prospect of federal asbestos reform legislation remains uncertain. As a result, we have assumed a continuation of the current legal environment with no benefit from any federal asbestos reform legislation.

Our actuaries and claim personnel perform periodic analyses of our asbestos related exposures. The analyses during 2012 and 2011 noted modest adverse developments related to a small number of accounts. Based on these developments, we increased our net asbestos loss reserves by $28 million in 2012 and $22 million in 2011. The analyses during 2010 noted no significant developments that required a change in our estimate of ultimate liabilities related to asbestos claims.

The following table presents a reconciliation of the beginning and ending loss reserves related to asbestos claims.

 

     Years Ended December 31  
     2012        2011        2010  
     (in millions)  

Gross loss reserves, beginning of year

   $ 627         $ 658         $ 728   

Reinsurance recoverable, beginning of year

     22           27           39   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Net loss reserves, beginning of year

     605           631           689   

Net incurred losses

     28           22             

Net losses paid

     44           48           58   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Net loss reserves, end of year

     589           605          631   

Reinsurance recoverable, end of year

     19           22           27   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Gross loss reserves, end of year

   $ 608         $ 627         $ 658   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

At December 31, 2012, $331 million of the net asbestos loss reserves were IBNR reserves.

 

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The following table presents the number of policyholders for whom we have open asbestos case reserves and the related net loss reserves at December 31, 2012 as well as the net losses paid during 2012 by component.

 

     Number of
Policyholders
       Net Loss
Reserves
       Net Losses
Paid
 
              (in millions)  

Traditional defendants

     14         $ 141         $ 7   

Peripheral defendants and all other

     365           341           37  

Future claims from unknown policyholders

          107        
       

 

 

      

 

 

 
        $ 589         $ 44   
       

 

 

      

 

 

 

Significant uncertainty remains as to our ultimate liability related to asbestos related claims. This uncertainty is due to several factors including:

 

   

the long latency period between asbestos exposure and disease manifestation and the resulting potential for involvement of multiple policy periods for individual claims;

 

   

plaintiffs’ expanding theories of liability and increased focus on peripheral defendants;

 

   

the volume of claims by unimpaired plaintiffs and the extent to which they can be precluded from making claims;

 

   

the volume of claims by severely impaired plaintiffs, such as those with mesothelioma, and the size of settlements and judgments received by those plaintiffs;

 

   

the efforts by insureds to claim the right to non-products coverage not subject to aggregate limits;

 

   

the number of insureds seeking bankruptcy protection as a result of asbestos related liabilities;

 

   

the ability of claimants to bring a claim in a state in which they have no residency or exposure;

 

 

   

the impact of the exhaustion of primary limits and the resulting increase in claims on excess liability policies we have issued;

 

   

inconsistent court decisions and diverging legal interpretations; and

 

   

the possibility, however remote, of federal legislation that would address the asbestos problem.

These significant uncertainties are not likely to be resolved in the near future.

Toxic Waste Reserves. Toxic waste claims relate primarily to pollution and related cleanup costs. Our insureds have two potential areas of exposure — hazardous waste dump sites and pollution at the insured site primarily from underground storage tanks and manufacturing processes.

The U.S. federal Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (Superfund) has been interpreted to impose strict, retroactive and joint and several liability on potentially responsible parties (PRPs) for the cost of remediating hazardous waste sites. Most sites have multiple PRPs.

Most PRPs named to date are parties who have been generators, transporters, past or present landowners or past or present site operators. These PRPs had proper government authorization in many instances. However, relative fault has not been a factor in establishing liability. While the volume of new claims is significantly reduced from the activity in the 1980s, PRPs continue to tender claims to insurers on newly identified hazardous waste sites. Insurance policies issued to PRPs were not intended to cover claims arising from gradual pollution. Since 1986, most policies have specifically excluded such exposures.

Environmental remediation claims tendered by PRPs and others to insurers have frequently resulted in disputes over insurers’ contractual obligations with respect to pollution claims. The resulting litigation against insurers extends to issues of liability, coverage and other policy provisions.

 

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There is substantial uncertainty involved in estimating our liabilities related to these claims. First, the liabilities of the claimants are extremely difficult to estimate. At any given waste site, the allocation of remediation costs among governmental authorities and the PRPs varies greatly depending on a variety of factors. Second, different courts have addressed liability and coverage issues regarding pollution claims and have reached inconsistent conclusions in their interpretation of several issues. These significant uncertainties are not likely to be resolved definitively in the near future.

Uncertainties also remain as to the Superfund law itself. Superfund’s taxing authority expired on December 31, 1995 and has not been re-enacted. Federal legislation appears to be at a standstill. At this time, it is not possible to predict the direction that any reforms may take, when they may occur or the effect that any changes may have on the insurance industry.

Without federal movement on Superfund reform, the enforcement of Superfund liability has occasionally shifted to the states. States are being forced to reconsider state-level cleanup statutes and regulations. As individual states move forward, the potential for conflicting state regulation becomes greater. In a few states, we have seen cases brought against insureds or directly against insurance companies for environmental pollution and natural resources damages. To date, only a few natural resource claims have been filed and they are being vigorously defended. Significant uncertainty remains as to the cost of remediating the state sites. Because of the large number of state sites, such sites could prove even more costly in the aggregate than Superfund sites.

In establishing our toxic waste reserves, we evaluate the exposure presented by each insured. As part of this evaluation, we consider a variety of factors including: the probable liability, available insurance coverage, past settlement values of similar claims, relevant judicial interpretations, applicable coverage defenses as well as facts that are unique to each insured.

In each of the past three years, the analysis of our toxic waste exposures indicated that some of our insureds had become responsible for the remediation of additional polluted sites and that, as clean up standards continue to evolve as a result of technology advances, the estimated cost of remediation of certain sites had increased. Defense costs associated with some of these cases have also increased. Based on these developments, we increased our net toxic waste loss reserves by $55 million in 2012, $50 million in 2011 and $61 million in 2010.

The following table presents a reconciliation of our beginning and ending loss reserves, net of reinsurance recoverable, related to toxic waste claims. The reinsurance recoverable related to these claims is minimal.

 

     Years Ended December 31  
     2012        2011        2010  
     (in millions)  

Reserves, beginning of year

   $ 261         $ 248         $ 215   

Incurred losses

     55           50           61   

Losses paid

     48           37           28   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

Reserves, end of year

   $ 268         $ 261         $ 248   
  

 

 

      

 

 

      

 

 

 

At December 31, 2012, $195 million of the net toxic waste loss reserves were IBNR reserves.

Reinsurance Recoverable. Reinsurance recoverable is the estimated amount recoverable from reinsurers related to the losses we have incurred. At December 31, 2012, reinsurance recoverable included $163 million recoverable with respect to paid losses and loss expenses, which is included in other assets, and $1.9 billion recoverable on unpaid losses and loss expenses, including reinsurance losses incurred but not reported. Approximately $275 million of reinsurance recoverable on unpaid losses and loss expenses at December 31, 2012 related to losses associated with Storm Sandy. None of the reinsurance recoverable on unpaid losses and loss expenses is currently due for collection.

 

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Reinsurance recoverable on unpaid losses and loss expenses represents an estimate of the portion of our gross loss reserves that will be recovered from reinsurers. Such reinsurance recoverable is estimated as part of our loss reserving process using assumptions that are consistent with the assumptions used in estimating the gross loss reserves. Consequently, the estimation of reinsurance recoverable is subject to similar judgments and uncertainties as the estimation of gross loss reserves.

Ceded reinsurance contracts do not relieve us of our primary obligation to our policyholders. Consequently, an exposure exists with respect to reinsurance recoverable to the extent that any reinsurer is unable to meet its obligations or disputes the liabilities we believe it has assumed under the reinsurance contracts.

We are selective in regard to our reinsurers, placing reinsurance with only those reinsurers that we believe have strong balance sheets and superior underwriting ability. We monitor the financial strength of our reinsurers and our concentration of risk with reinsurers on an ongoing basis. We obtain collateral from certain of our reinsurers in the form of letters of credit, trust agreements and cash advances, in order to mitigate potential collectibility exposure. The total amount of collateral held at December 31, 2012 related to reinsurance recoverable on paid and unpaid losses and loss expenses was $634 million. As of December 31, 2012, the largest amount of reinsurance recoverable on paid and unpaid losses and loss expenses from any individual reinsurer represented less than 1.5% of shareholders’ equity. Nevertheless, in recent years, certain of our reinsurers have experienced financial difficulties or exited the reinsurance business. In addition, we may become involved in coverage disputes with our reinsurers. A provision for estimated uncollectible reinsurance is recorded based on periodic evaluations of balances due from reinsurers, the financial condition of the reinsurers, coverage disputes and other relevant factors, including collateral held.

Prior Year Loss Development

Changes in loss reserve estimates are unavoidable because such estimates are subject to the outcome of future events. Loss trends vary and time is required for changes in trends to be recognized and confirmed. Reserve changes that increase previous estimates of ultimate cost are referred to as unfavorable or adverse development or reserve strengthening. Reserve changes that decrease previous estimates of ultimate cost are referred to as favorable development or reserve releases.

A reconciliation of our beginning and ending loss reserves, net of reinsurance, for the three years ended December 31, 2012 is as follows:

 

     Years Ended December 31  
     2012      2011      2010  
     (in millions)  

Net loss reserves, beginning of year

   $ 21,329       $ 20,901       $ 20,786   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net incurred losses and loss expenses related to

        

Current year

     8,121         8,174         7,245   

Prior years

     (614      (767      (746
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
     7,507         7,407         6,499   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net payments for losses and loss expenses related to

        

Current year

     2,323         2,746         2,280   

Prior years

     4,493         4,300         4,074   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
     6,816         7,046         6,354   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Foreign currency translation effect

     2         67         (30
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net loss reserves, end of year

   $ 22,022       $ 21,329       $ 20,901   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

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During 2012, we experienced overall favorable prior year development of $614 million, which represented 2.9% of the net loss reserves as of December 31, 2011. This compares with favorable prior year development of $767 million during 2011, which represented 3.7% of the net loss reserves at December 31, 2010, and favorable prior year development of $746 million during 2010, which represented 3.6% of the net loss reserves at December 31, 2009. Such favorable development was reflected in operating results in these respective years.

The following table presents the overall prior year loss development for the three years ended December 31, 2012 by accident year.

 

     Calendar Year (Favorable)
Unfavorable Development
 

Accident Year

   2012      2011      2010  
     (in millions)  

2011

   $ 26         

2010

     (49    $ 44      

2009

     (89      (91    $ (38

2008

     (131      (181      (138

2007

     (147      (184      (183

2006

     (115      (178      (139

2005

     (56      (98      (147

2004

     (68      (78      (105

2003

     (24      (19      (46

2002 and prior

     39         18         50   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
   $ (614    $ (767    $ (746
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

The net favorable development of $614 million in 2012 was due to various factors: The most significant factors were:

 

   

We experienced favorable development of about $250 million in the aggregate in the personal and commercial liability classes. The most significant favorable development occurred in accident years 2006 to 2009, which more than offset adverse development in accident years 2002 and prior, which included $83 million of incurred losses related to asbestos and toxic waste claims. The overall frequency and severity of prior period liability claims were lower than expected and the effects of underwriting changes that affected these years have been more positive than expected, especially in the commercial excess liability class. These factors were reflected in the determination of the carried loss reserves for these classes at December 31, 2012.

 

   

We experienced overall favorable development of about $200 million in the professional liability classes other than fidelity. This favorable development was driven by the directors and officers liability and fiduciary liability classes, partially offset by adverse development in the errors and omissions liability and employment practices liability classes. Overall, the reported loss activity was less than expected, with aggregate favorable emergence from accident years 2008 and prior partly offset by some adverse emergence in the more recent accident years. This development was recognized as one among many factors in the determination of loss reserves at December 31, 2012. Among other important factors were the continued uncertainty from the crisis in the financial markets and its aftermath, the effects of the ensuing economic downturn and other recent industry litigation dynamics, as well as the reversal in 2012 of the previous general downward trend in prices.

 

   

We experienced favorable development of about $125 million in the aggregate in the personal and commercial property classes, mostly related to the 2007 through 2011 accident years. The severity and frequency of late developing property claims that emerged during 2012 were lower than expected, including those related to catastrophes, and the development of existing case reserves was more favorable than expected. Because the incidence of large property losses is subject to a considerable element of fortuity, reserve estimates for these claims are based on an

 

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analysis of past loss experience on average over a period of years. As a result, this factor had a relatively modest effect on our determination of carried property loss reserves at December 31, 2012.

 

   

We experienced unfavorable development of about $60 million in the fidelity class due to higher than expected reported loss emergence, related mostly to accident years 2008 through 2010. Loss reserve estimates at the end of 2011 included an expectation of less prior year loss activity than actually occurred in 2012. This activity was driven by case developments on a relatively small number of claims related to the recent economic and financial environment. This continued adverse development was reflected in the determination of carried fidelity loss reserves at December 31, 2012.

 

   

We experienced favorable development of about $45 million in the runoff of our reinsurance assumed business due primarily to better than expected reported loss activity from cedants.

 

   

We experienced favorable development of about $40 million in the personal automobile business due primarily to lower than expected frequency of prior period claims. This factor was reflected in our determination of carried loss reserves for this business at December 31, 2012.

 

   

We experienced favorable development of about $25 million in the surety business due to lower than expected loss emergence in recent accident years. Loss reserve estimates at the end of 2011 included an expectation of more late reported losses than actually occurred in 2012. However, since the experience in this business is volatile and we would still expect such losses to occur over time, the favorable development in 2012 was given only modest weight in our determination of carried surety loss reserves at December 31, 2012.

The net favorable development of $767 million in 2011 was also due to various factors. The most significant factors were:

 

   

We experienced favorable development of about $355 million in the aggregate in the personal and commercial liability classes. Favorable development in the more recent accident years, particularly in accident years 2004 to 2009, more than offset adverse development in accident years 2001 and prior, which included $72 million of incurred losses related to asbestos and toxic waste claims. The overall frequency and severity of prior period liability claims were lower than expected and the effects of underwriting changes that affected these years have been more positive than expected, especially in the commercial excess liability class.

 

   

We experienced overall favorable development of about $310 million in the professional liability classes other than fidelity. The most significant amount of favorable development occurred in the directors and officers liability class, particularly from our business outside the United States, with additional favorable development in the fiduciary liability class, partially offset by adverse development in the errors and omissions liability class. The aggregate reported loss activity related to accident years 2008 and prior was less than expected.

 

   

We experienced favorable development of about $80 million in the aggregate in the personal and commercial property classes, primarily related to the 2009 and 2010 accident years. The severity and frequency of late developing property claims that emerged during 2011 were lower than expected.

 

   

We experienced unfavorable development of about $70 million in the fidelity class due to higher than expected reported loss emergence, related to the 2010 accident year and, to a lesser extent, the 2009 accident year.

 

   

We experienced favorable development of about $30 million in the personal automobile business due primarily to lower than expected frequency of prior year claims.

 

   

We experienced favorable development of about $30 million in the runoff of our reinsurance assumed business due primarily to better than expected reported loss activity from cedants.

 

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We experienced favorable development of about $15 million in the surety business due to lower than expected loss emergence in recent accident years.

The net favorable development of $746 million in 2010 was also due to various factors. The most significant factors were:

 

   

We experienced overall favorable development of about $315 million in the professional liability classes other than fidelity, including about $190 million from our business outside the United States. The most significant amount of favorable development occurred in the directors and officers liability class, particularly from our business outside the United States, with additional favorable development in the fiduciary liability and employment practices liability classes, partially offset by adverse development in the errors and omissions liability class. The aggregate reported loss activity related to accident years 2007 and prior was less than expected, reflecting a favorable business climate, lower policy limits and better terms and conditions.

 

   

We experienced favorable development of about $265 million in the aggregate in the personal and commercial liability classes. Favorable development, primarily in accident years 2004 to 2008, more than offset adverse development in accident years 2000 and prior, which included $61 million of incurred losses related to toxic waste claims. The overall frequency and severity of prior period liability claims were lower than expected and the effects of underwriting changes that affected these years have been more positive than expected, especially in the commercial excess liability class.

 

   

We experienced favorable development of about $110 million in the aggregate in the personal and commercial property classes, primarily related to the 2008 and 2009 accident years. The severity and frequency of late developing property claims that emerged during 2010 were lower than expected.

 

   

We experienced unfavorable development of about $70 million in the fidelity class due to higher than expected reported loss emergence, mainly related to the 2009 accident year and primarily in the United States.

 

   

We experienced favorable development of about $40 million in the personal automobile business due primarily to lower than expected frequency of prior year claims.

 

   

We experienced favorable development of about $40 million in the surety business due to lower than expected loss emergence.

 

   

We experienced favorable development of about $25 million in the runoff of our reinsurance assumed business due primarily to better than expected reported loss activity from cedants.

In Item 1 of this report, we present an analysis of our consolidated loss reserve development on a calendar year basis for each of the ten years prior to 2012. The variability in reserve development over the ten year period illustrates the uncertainty of the loss reserving process. Conditions and trends that have affected reserve development in the past will not necessarily recur in the future. It is not appropriate to extrapolate future favorable or unfavorable reserve development based on amounts experienced in prior years.

Our U.S. property and casualty subsidiaries are required to file annual statements with insurance regulatory authorities prepared on an accounting basis prescribed or permitted by such authorities. These annual statements include an analysis of loss reserves, referred to as Schedule P, that presents accident year loss development information by line of business for the nine years prior to 2012. It is our intention to post the Schedule P for our combined U.S. property and casualty subsidiaries on our website as soon as it becomes available.

Investment Results

Property and casualty investment income before taxes decreased by 5% in 2012 compared with 2011 and was flat in 2011 compared with 2010. In 2012, the decrease was primarily due to a modest decline in average yields on our investment portfolio. In 2011, the slightly positive impact of currency fluctuation

 

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on income from our investments denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar was offset by the impact of lower average yields on our investment portfolio. In 2012 and 2011, the decrease in the average yield of our investment portfolio primarily resulted from lower reinvestment yields on fixed maturity securities that matured, were redeemed by the issuer or were sold during the year. Growth in property and casualty investment income before taxes was limited as a result of our property and casualty subsidiaries holding a similar amount of average invested assets in 2012, 2011 and 2010. Despite the substantial operating cash generated during each of the past three years, average invested assets were similar in the three years as a result of substantial dividends distributed by the property and casualty subsidiaries to Chubb during the period.

The effective tax rate on our investment income was 18.8% in 2012 compared with 19.0% in 2011 and 19.1% in 2010. The effective tax rate fluctuates as the proportion of tax exempt investment income relative to total investment income changes from period to period.

On an after-tax basis, property and casualty investment income decreased by 5% compared to 2011 and was flat in 2011 compared to 2010. The after-tax annualized yield on the investment portfolio that supports our property and casualty insurance business was 3.12% in 2012 compared with 3.25% in 2011 and 3.29% in 2010.

If both investment yields and average foreign currency to U.S. dollar exchange rates are similar in 2013 to 2012 year-end levels, property and casualty investment income after taxes for 2013 is expected to decline. This expected decline results from the effect of investing funds from securities that matured in 2012 in securities with yields lower than the yields of the maturing securities, and the expectation that this pattern will continue in 2013. The expected decline includes the positive impact of a slightly higher amount of average invested assets estimated to be held during 2013, based on expectations of cash flows during the year.

Other Income and Charges

Other income and charges, which includes miscellaneous income and expenses of the property and casualty subsidiaries, was income of $10 million in 2012 compared with income of $21 million and $2 million in 2011 and 2010, respectively. The income in 2012 and 2011 primarily included income from several small property and casualty insurance companies in which we have an interest.

CORPORATE AND OTHER

Corporate and other comprises investment income earned on corporate invested assets, interest expense and other expenses not allocated to our operating subsidiaries and the results of our non-insurance subsidiaries.

Corporate and other produced a loss before taxes of $237 million in 2012 compared with losses of $246 million and $220 million in 2011 and 2010, respectively. The lower loss in 2012 compared to 2011 was primarily due to lower interest expense resulting from the repayment of $400 million of outstanding notes upon maturity in November 2011. The higher loss in 2011 compared to 2010 was primarily due to lower investment income in 2011. Investment income in 2010 included a $20 million special dividend received on an equity security investment.

Chubb Financial Solutions

Chubb Financial Solutions (CFS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Chubb, participated in derivative financial instruments and has been in runoff since 2003. Since that date, CFS has terminated early or run off nearly all of its contractual obligations under its derivative contracts. At December 31, 2012, CFS’s remaining derivative contracts were insignificant. A derivative contract linked to an equity market index terminated in 2012, as expected.

CFS’s aggregate exposure, or retained risk, from its remaining derivative contracts is referred to as notional amount. Notional amounts are used to calculate the exchange of contractual cash flows and are not necessarily representative of the potential for gain or loss. Notional amounts are not recorded on the balance sheet.

 

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The notional amount under the remaining contracts was about $90 million and we estimate the fair value of our future obligations was about $2 million at December 31, 2012.

REALIZED INVESTMENT GAINS AND LOSSES

Net realized investment gains and losses were as follows:

 

     Years Ended December 31  
     2012      2011      2010  
     (in millions)  

Net realized gains (losses)

        

Fixed maturities

   $ 104       $ 31       $ 72   

Equity securities

     68         73         49   

Other invested assets

     66         207         316   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
     238         311         437   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Other-than-temporary impairment losses

        

Fixed maturities

     (5      (1      (5

Equity securities

     (40      (22      (6
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
     (45      (23      (11
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Realized investment gains before tax

   $ 193       $ 288       $ 426   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Realized investment gains after tax

   $ 125       $ 187       $ 277   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Decisions to sell equity securities and fixed maturities are governed principally by considerations of investment opportunities and tax consequences. As a result, realized gains and losses on the sale of these investments may vary significantly from period to period. However, such gains and losses generally have little, if any, impact on shareholders’ equity as all of these investments are carried at fair value, with the unrealized appreciation or depreciation reflected in accumulated other comprehensive income.

The net realized gains and losses of other invested assets represent primarily the aggregate of realized gain distributions to us from the limited partnerships in which we have an interest and changes in our equity in the net assets of those partnerships based on valuations provided to us by the manager of each partnership. Due to the timing of our receipt of valuation data from the investment managers, the value of these investments and any related realized gains and losses are generally reported on a one quarter lag. The net realized gains of the limited partnerships reported in 2012 primarily reflected the strong performance of the U.S. equity and high yield investment markets in the first and third quarters of 2012, partially offset by the negative performance of several non-U.S. equity markets, particularly in Asia, in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the global equity markets in the second quarter of 2012. The net realized gains of the limited partnerships reported in 2011 reflected the strong performance of the equity and high yield investment markets in the fourth quarter of 2010 and in the first quarter of 2011.

We regularly review invested assets that have a fair value less than cost to determine if an other-than-temporary decline in value has occurred. We have a monitoring process overseen by a committee of investment and accounting professionals that is responsible for identifying those securities to be specifically evaluated for a potential other-than-temporary impairment.

The determination of whether a decline in value of any investment is temporary or other than temporary requires the judgment of management. The assessment of other-than-temporary impairment of fixed maturities and equity securities is based on both quantitative criteria and qualitative information. A number of factors are considered including, but not limited to, the length of time and the extent to which the fair value has been less than the cost, the financial condition and near term prospects of the issuer, whether the issuer is current on contractually obligated interest and principal payments, general market conditions and industry or sector specific factors. The decision to recognize a decline in the value of a security carried at fair value as other than temporary rather than temporary has no impact on shareholders’ equity.

 

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In determining whether fixed maturities are other than temporarily impaired, we are required to recognize an other-than-temporary impairment loss when we conclude that we have the intent to sell or it is more likely than not that we will be required to sell an impaired fixed maturity before the security recovers to its amortized cost value or it is likely we will not recover the entire amortized cost value of an impaired security. If we have the intent to sell or it is more likely than not that we will be required to sell an impaired fixed maturity before the security recovers to its amortized cost value, the security is written down to fair value and the entire amount of the writedown is included in net income as a realized investment loss. For all other impaired fixed maturities, when the impairment is determined to be other than temporary, the impairment loss is separated into the amount representing the credit loss and the amount representing the loss related to all other factors. The amount of the impairment loss that represents the credit loss is included in net income as a realized investment loss and the amount of the impairment loss that relates to all other factors is included in other comprehensive income.

In determining whether equity securities are other than temporarily impaired, we consider our intent and ability to hold a security for a period of time sufficient to allow us to recover our cost. If a decline in the fair value of an equity security is deemed to be other than temporary, the security is written down to fair value and the amount of the writedown is included in net income as a realized investment loss.

During each of the last three years, the fair value of some of our investments were at a level below our cost. Some of these investments were deemed to be other than temporarily impaired. In 2012, about 65% of the other-than-temporary impairment losses recognized for equity securities related to issuers in the financial services industry. The remainder of the other-than-temporary impairment losses in 2012 and the other-than-temporary impairment losses in 2011 and 2010 related to issuers that were not concentrated within any individual industry or sector.

Information related to investment securities in an unrealized loss position at December 31, 2012 and 2011 is included in Note (3)(b) of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

CAPITAL RESOURCES AND LIQUIDITY

Capital resources and liquidity represent a company’s overall financial strength and its ability to generate cash flows, borrow funds at competitive rates and raise new capital to meet operating and growth needs.

Capital Resources

Capital resources provide protection for policyholders, furnish the financial strength to support the business of underwriting insurance risks and facilitate continued business growth. At December 31, 2012, the Corporation had shareholders’ equity of $15.8 billion and total debt of $3.6 billion.

Chubb has outstanding $275 million of 5.2% notes due in 2013, $600 million of 5.75% notes and $100 million of 6.6% debentures due in 2018, $200 million of 6.8% debentures due in 2031, $800 million of 6% notes due in 2037 and $600 million of 6.5% notes due in 2038, all of which are unsecured.

Chubb also has outstanding $1.0 billion of unsecured junior subordinated capital securities that will become due on April 15, 2037, the scheduled maturity date, but only to the extent that Chubb has received sufficient net proceeds from the sale of certain qualifying capital securities. Chubb must use its commercially reasonable efforts, subject to certain market disruption events, to sell enough qualifying capital securities to permit repayment of the capital securities on the scheduled maturity date or as soon thereafter as possible. Any remaining outstanding principal amount will be due on March 29, 2067, the final maturity date. The capital securities bear interest at a fixed rate of 6.375% through April 14, 2017. Thereafter, the capital securities will bear interest at a rate equal to the three-month LIBOR rate plus 2.25%. Subject to certain conditions, Chubb has the right to defer the payment of interest on the capital securities for a period not exceeding ten consecutive years. During any such period, interest will continue to accrue and Chubb generally may not declare or pay any dividends on or purchase any shares of its capital stock.

 

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In connection with the issuance of the capital securities, Chubb entered into a replacement capital covenant in which it agreed that it will not repay, redeem or purchase the capital securities before March 29, 2047, unless, subject to certain limitations, it has received proceeds from the sale of specified replacement capital securities. Subject to the replacement capital covenant, the capital securities may be redeemed, in whole or in part, at any time on or after April 15, 2017 at a redemption price equal to the principal amount plus any accrued interest on or prior to April 15, 2017 at a redemption price equal to the greater of (i) the principal amount or (ii) a make-whole amount, in each case plus any accrued interest.

Management regularly monitors the Corporation’s capital resources. In connection with our long term capital strategy, Chubb from time to time contributes capital to its property and casualty subsidiaries. In addition, in order to satisfy capital needs as a result of any rating agency capital adequacy or other future rating issues, or in the event we were to need additional capital to make strategic investments in light of market opportunities, we may take a variety of actions, which could include the issuance of additional debt and/or equity securities. We believe that our strong financial position and current debt level provide us with the flexibility and capacity to obtain funds externally through debt or equity financings on both a short term and long term basis.

In 2009, the Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to 25,000,000 shares, of Chubb’s common stock. In June 2010, the Board of Directors authorized an increase of 14,000,000 shares of common stock to the authorization approved in 2009. In December 2010, the Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to an additional 30,000,000 shares of common stock. In January 2012, the Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to $1.2 billion of Chubb’s common stock.

In 2010, we repurchased 37,667,829 shares of Chubb’s common stock in open market transactions at a cost of $2,008 million. In 2011, we repurchased 27,582,889 shares of Chubb’s common stock in open market transactions at a cost of $1,718 million. In 2012, we repurchased 13,094,640 shares of Chubb’s common stock in open market transactions at a cost of $935 million. As of December 31, 2012, $329 million remained under the January 2012 share repurchase authorization. In January 2013, we repurchased 1,365,500 shares under the January 2012 authorization at a cost of $108 million.

On January 31, 2013, the Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to $1.3 billion of Chubb’s common stock which replaced the January 2012 authorization. The authorization has no expiration date. We expect to complete the repurchase of shares under this authorization by the end of January 2014, subject to market conditions and other factors.

Ratings

Chubb and its property and casualty insurance subsidiaries are rated by major rating agencies. These ratings reflect the rating agency’s opinion of our financial strength, operating performance, strategic position and ability to meet our obligations to policyholders.

Credit ratings assess a company’s ability to make timely payments of interest and principal on its debt. Financial strength ratings assess an insurer’s ability to meet its financial obligations to policyholders.

Ratings are an important factor in establishing our competitive position in the insurance markets. There can be no assurance that our ratings will continue for any given period of time or that they will not be changed.

It is possible that one or more of the rating agencies may raise or lower our existing ratings in the future. If our credit ratings were downgraded, we might incur higher borrowing costs and might have more limited means to access capital. A downgrade in our financial strength ratings could adversely affect the competitive position of our insurance operations, including a possible reduction in demand for our products in certain markets.

 

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Liquidity

Liquidity is a measure of a company’s ability to generate sufficient cash flows to meet the short and long term cash requirements of its business operations.

The Corporation’s liquidity requirements in the past have generally been met by funds from operations and we expect that in the future funds from operations will continue to be sufficient to meet such requirements. Liquidity requirements could also be met by funds received upon the maturity or sale of marketable securities in our investment portfolio. The Corporation also has the ability to borrow under its $500 million credit facility and we believe we could issue debt or equity securities.

Our property and casualty operations provide liquidity in that insurance premiums are generally received months or even years before losses are paid under the policies purchased by such premiums. Cash receipts from operations, consisting of insurance premiums and investment income, provide funds to pay losses, operating expenses and dividends to Chubb. After satisfying our cash requirements, excess cash flows are used to build the investment portfolio with the expectation of generating increased future investment income.

Our strong underwriting and investment results generated substantial operating cash flows in 2012. In 2012, cash provided by the property and casualty subsidiaries’ operating activities increased approximately $370 million compared to 2011 primarily as a result of higher premium collections and lower loss payments. In 2012, cash provided by the property and casualty subsidiaries’ operating activities exceeded the cash used for financing activities (primarily the payment of dividends to Chubb) by approximately $650 million. In 2012, dividends paid to Chubb by the property and casualty subsidiaries decreased by $940 million compared to 2011. In 2011 and 2010, our underwriting and investment results also generated substantial operating cash flows. In 2011, cash provided by the property and casualty subsidiaries’ operating activities declined compared to 2010 primarily as a result of higher loss payments partially offset by higher premium collections. In 2011, the cash used by the property and casualty subsidiaries for financing activities (primarily the payment of dividends to Chubb) exceeded the cash provided by operating activities by approximately $650 million. In 2011, dividends paid to Chubb by the property and casualty subsidiaries increased by $500 million compared to 2010. In 2010, the cash provided by the property and casualty subsidiaries’ operating activities exceeded the cash used for financing activities (primarily the payment of dividends to Chubb) by approximately $250 million.

Our property and casualty subsidiaries maintain substantial investments in highly liquid, short term marketable securities. Accordingly, we do not anticipate selling long term fixed maturity investments to meet any liquidity needs.

Chubb’s liquidity requirements primarily include the payment of dividends to shareholders and interest and principal on debt obligations. The declaration and payment of future dividends to Chubb’s shareholders will be at the discretion of Chubb’s Board of Directors and will depend upon many factors, including our operating results, financial condition, capital requirements and any regulatory constraints.

As a holding company, Chubb’s ability to continue to pay dividends to shareholders and to satisfy its debt obligations relies on the availability of liquid assets, which is dependent in large part on the dividend paying ability of its property and casualty subsidiaries. The timing and amount of dividends paid by the property and casualty subsidiaries to Chubb may vary from year to year. Our property and casualty subsidiaries are subject to laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which they operate that restrict the amount and timing of dividends they may pay within twelve consecutive months without the prior approval of regulatory authorities. The restrictions are generally based on net income and on certain levels of policyholders’ surplus as determined in accordance with statutory accounting practices. Dividends in excess of such thresholds are considered “extraordinary” and require prior regulatory approval.

 

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The maximum dividend distributions that the property and casualty subsidiaries could have paid to Chubb during 2012, 2011 and 2010 without prior approval were approximately $1.8 billion, $2.0 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively. During 2012, 2011 and 2010 these subsidiaries paid dividends to Chubb of $1.8 billion, $2.7 billion and $2.2 billion, respectively. Included in the dividends paid in 2012, 2011 and 2010 were $830 million, $2.5 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively, of dividends deemed to be extraordinary under applicable insurance regulations due to the limitation on the amount of dividends that may be paid within twelve consecutive months. Regulatory approval was required and obtained for the payment of these dividends. Whether any dividends the property and casualty subsidiaries may pay in 2013 require regulatory approval will depend on the amount and timing of the dividend payments. The maximum aggregate dividend distribution that may be made by the subsidiaries to Chubb during 2013 without prior regulatory approval is approximately $1.6 billion.

In September 2012, Chubb entered into a revolving credit agreement with a syndicate of banks that provides for up to $500 million of unsecured borrowings. The revolving credit facility is available for general corporate purposes. The agreement has a maturity date of September 24, 2017. Various interest rate options are available to Chubb, all of which are based on market interest rates. The agreement contains customary restrictive covenants, including a covenant to maintain a minimum adjusted consolidated shareholders’ equity. At December 31, 2012, Chubb was in compliance with all such covenants. Chubb is permitted to request an increase in the credit available under the agreement, no more than two times per year, up to a maximum facility amount of $750 million. Chubb is permitted to request on two occasions, at any time during the term of the agreement, an extension of the maturity date for an additional one year period. There have been no borrowings under this agreement. On the maturity date of the agreement, any borrowings then outstanding become payable. A previous five-year $500 million revolving credit agreement that would have expired in October 2012 was terminated in September 2012 in connection with the new revolving credit agreement.

Contractual Obligations and Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

The following table provides our future payments due by period under contractual obligations as of December 31, 2012, aggregated by type of obligation.

 

    2013     2014 and 2015     2016 and 2017     Thereafter     Total  
    (in millions)  

Principal due under long term debt

  $ 275      $      $      $ 3,300      $ 3,575   

Interest payments on long term debt (a)

    213        411        392        2,447        3,463   

Purchase obligations (b)

    128        177        126        57        488   

Future minimum rental payments under operating leases

    66        96        59        66        287   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 
    682        684        577        5,870        7,813   

Loss and loss expense reserves (c)

    5,272        5,751        3,235        9,705        23,963   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

  $ 5,954      $ 6,435      $ 3,812      $ 15,575      $ 31,776   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(a) Junior subordinated capital securities of $1 billion bear interest at a fixed rate of 6.375% through April 14, 2017 and at a rate equal to the three-month LIBOR rate plus 2.25% thereafter. For purposes of the above table, interest after April 14, 2017 was calculated using the three-month LIBOR rate as of December 31, 2012. The table includes future interest payments through the scheduled maturity date, April 15, 2037. Interest payments for the period from the scheduled maturity date through the final maturity date, March 29, 2067, would increase the contractual obligation by $766 million. It is our expectation that the capital securities will be redeemed at the end of the fixed interest rate period.

 

(b) Includes agreements with vendors to purchase various goods and services such as information technology, human resources and administrative services.

 

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(c) There is typically no stated contractual commitment associated with property and casualty insurance loss reserves. The obligation to pay a claim arises only when a covered loss event occurs and a settlement is reached. The vast majority of our loss reserves relate to claims for which settlements have not yet been reached. Our loss reserves therefore represent estimates of future payments. These estimates are dependent on the outcome of claim settlements that will occur over many years. Accordingly, the payment of the loss reserves is not fixed as to either amount or timing. The estimate of the timing of future payments is based on our historical loss payment patterns. The ultimate amount and timing of loss payments will likely differ from our estimate and the differences could be material. We expect that these loss payments will be funded, in large part, by future cash receipts from operations.

The above table excludes certain commitments totaling approximately $580 million at December 31, 2012 to fund limited partnership investments. These commitments can be called by the partnerships (generally over a period of five years or less), if and when needed by the partnerships to fund certain partnership expenses or the purchase of investments. It is uncertain whether and, if so, when we will be required to fund these commitments. There is no predetermined payment schedule.

The Corporation does not have any off-balance sheet arrangements that are reasonably likely to have a material effect on the Corporation’s financial condition, results of operations, liquidity or capital resources, other than as disclosed in Note (13) of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

INVESTED ASSETS

The main objectives in managing our investment portfolios are to maximize after-tax investment income and total investment return while managing credit risk and interest rate risk in order to ensure that funds will be available to meet our insurance obligations. Investment strategies are developed based on many factors including underwriting results and our resulting tax position, regulatory requirements, fluctuations in interest rates and consideration of other market risks. Investment decisions are centrally managed by investment professionals based on guidelines established by management and approved by the boards of directors of Chubb and its respective operating companies.

Our investment portfolio primarily comprises high quality bonds, principally tax exempt securities, corporate bonds, mortgage-backed securities and U.S. Treasury securities, as well as foreign government and corporate bonds that support our operations outside the United States. The portfolio also includes equity securities, primarily publicly traded common stocks, and other invested assets, primarily private equity limited partnerships, all of which are held with the primary objective of capital appreciation.

Limited partnership investments by their nature are less liquid and may involve more risk than other investments. We actively manage our risk through type of asset class and domestic and international diversification. At December 31, 2012, we had investments in about 90 separate partnerships. We review the performance of these investments on a quarterly basis and we obtain audited financial statements annually.

During 2012, we increased our holdings of corporate bonds and we reduced our holdings of tax exempt fixed maturities and mortgage-backed securities. During 2011, cash used for financing activities exceeded cash provided by operating activities. As a result, our holdings of tax exempt fixed maturities and mortgage-backed securities both decreased slightly during the year, partly offset by a slight increase in our holdings of corporate bonds. In 2010, we increased our holdings of tax exempt fixed maturities and we reduced our holdings of mortgage-backed securities. Our objective is to achieve the appropriate mix of taxable and tax exempt securities in our portfolio to balance both investment and tax strategies. At December 31, 2012, 65% of our U.S. fixed maturity portfolio was invested in tax exempt securities compared with 68% and 67% at December 31, 2011 and December 31, 2010, respectively.

We classify our fixed maturity securities, which may be sold prior to maturity to support our investment strategies, such as in response to changes in interest rates and the yield curve or to maximize after-tax returns, as available-for-sale. Fixed maturities classified as available-for-sale are carried at fair value.

 

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Changes in the general interest rate environment affect the returns available on new fixed maturity investments. While a rising interest rate environment enhances the returns available on new investments, it reduces the fair value of existing fixed maturity investments and thus the availability of gains on disposition. A decline in interest rates reduces the returns available on new investments but increases the fair value of existing investments, creating the opportunity for realized investment gains on disposition.

The net unrealized appreciation before tax of our fixed maturities and equity securities carried at fair value was $3.1 billion at December 31, 2012, $2.7 billion at December 31, 2011 and $1.7 billion at December 31, 2010. Such unrealized appreciation is reflected in accumulated other comprehensive income, net of applicable deferred income taxes.

In 2012 and 2011, market yields on fixed maturity investments declined, resulting in an increase in the fair value of many of our fixed maturity investments.

FAIR VALUES OF FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

Fair values of financial instruments are determined by management using valuation techniques that maximize the use of observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs. Fair values are generally measured using quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities or other inputs, such as quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities that are observable, either directly or indirectly. In those instances where observable inputs are not available, fair values are measured using unobservable inputs for the asset or liability. Unobservable inputs reflect our own assumptions about the assumptions that market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability and are developed based on the best information available in the circumstances. Fair value estimates derived from unobservable inputs are affected by the assumptions used, including the discount rates and the estimated amounts and timing of future cash flows. The derived fair value estimates cannot be substantiated by comparison to independent markets and are not necessarily indicative of the amounts that would be realized in a current market exchange.

The fair value hierarchy prioritizes the inputs to valuation techniques used to measure fair value into three broad levels as follows:

Level 1 — Unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical financial instruments.

Level 2 — Other inputs that are observable for the financial instrument, either directly or

indirectly.

Level 3 — Significant unobservable inputs.

The methods and assumptions used to estimate the fair values of financial instruments are as follows:

Fair values for fixed maturities are determined by management, utilizing prices obtained from a third party, nationally recognized pricing service or, in the case of securities for which prices are not provided by a pricing service, from third party brokers. For fixed maturities that have quoted prices in active markets, market quotations are provided. For fixed maturities that do not trade on a daily basis, the pricing service and brokers provide fair value estimates using a variety of inputs including, but not limited to, benchmark yields, reported trades, broker/dealer quotes, issuer spreads, bids, offers, reference data, prepayment rates and measures of volatility. Management reviews on an ongoing basis the reasonableness of the methodologies used by the relevant pricing service and brokers. In addition, management, using the prices received for the securities from the pricing service and brokers, determines the aggregate portfolio price performance and reviews it against applicable indices. If management believes that significant discrepancies exist, it will discuss these with the relevant pricing service or broker to resolve the discrepancies.

Fair values of equity securities are determined by management, utilizing quoted market prices.

Fair values of warrants are determined by management, utilizing an option pricing model.

The carrying value of short term investments approximates fair value due to the short maturities of these investments.

 

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Fair values of long term debt issued by Chubb are determined by management, utilizing prices obtained from a third party, nationally recognized pricing service.

A pricing service provides fair value amounts for approximately 99% of our fixed maturities. The prices we obtain from a pricing service and brokers generally are non-binding, but are reflective of current market transactions in the applicable financial instruments. At December 31, 2012 and December 31, 2011, we held an insignificant amount of financial instruments in our investment portfolio for which a lack of market liquidity impacted our determination of fair value.

The methods and assumptions used to estimate the fair value of the Corporation’s pension plan and other postretirement benefit plan assets, other than assets invested in pooled funds, are similar to the methods and assumptions used for our other financial instruments. The fair value of pooled funds is based on the net asset value of the funds. At December 31, 2012 and December 31, 2011, approximately 99% of the pension plan and other postretirement benefit plan assets are categorized as Level 1 or Level 2 in the fair value hierarchy.

PENSION AND OTHER POSTRETIREMENT BENEFITS

In 2012, the liability related to our pension and other postretirement plans increased, primarily as a result of actuarial losses attributable to the decline in the discount rates used to value our pension and other postretirement obligations, partially offset by an increase in the fair value of the assets held by our pension and other postretirement benefit plans in excess of the expected return on plan assets. Postretirement benefits costs not recognized in net income increased by $45 million, which was reflected in other comprehensive income, net of applicable deferred income taxes.

The liability related to our pension and other postretirement benefit plans increased in 2011, primarily as a result of actuarial losses attributable to a decline in the discount rates used to value our pension and other postretirement obligations, and lower than expected return on plan assets. In 2010, the liability related to our pension and other postretirement benefit plans decreased. Postretirement benefit costs not recognized in net income increased by $329 million in 2011 and decreased by $20 million in 2010, which were reflected in other comprehensive income, net of applicable deferred income taxes.

Employee benefits are discussed further in Note (11) of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

CHANGE IN ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLE

Effective January 1, 2012, the Corporation adopted new guidance issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board related to the accounting for costs associated with acquiring or renewing insurance contracts. The guidance identifies those costs relating to the successful acquisition of new or renewal insurance contracts that should be capitalized. The Corporation elected retrospective application of this guidance under which deferred policy acquisition costs and related deferred income tax liabilities were reduced as of the beginning of the earliest period presented in the financial statements, offset by a cumulative effect adjustment that reduced retained earnings. The adoption of this guidance decreased deferred policy acquisition costs by $420 million, decreased deferred income tax liabilities by $147 million and decreased shareholders’ equity by $273 million as of January 1, 2010. The effect of the adoption of the new guidance on net income for the years ended December 31, 2012, 2011 and 2010 was not material. The change in accounting is discussed further in Note (2) of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

 

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

Market risk represents the potential for loss due to adverse changes in the fair value of financial instruments. Our primary exposure to market risks relates to our investment portfolio, which is sensitive to changes in interest rates and, to a lesser extent, credit quality, prepayment, foreign currency exchange rates and equity prices. We also have exposure to market risks through our debt obligations. Analytical tools and monitoring systems are in place to assess each of these elements of market risk.

 

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INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO

Interest Rate Risk

Interest rate risk is the price sensitivity of a security that promises a fixed return to changes in interest rates. When market interest rates rise, the fair value of our fixed income securities decreases. We view the potential changes in price of our fixed income investments within the overall context of asset and liability management. Our actuaries estimate the payout pattern of our liabilities, primarily our property and casualty loss reserves, to determine their duration. Expressed in years, duration is the weighted average payment period of cash flows, where the weighting is based on the present value of the cash flows. We set duration targets for our fixed income investment portfolios after consideration of the estimated duration of these liabilities and other factors, which allows us to prudently manage the overall effect of interest rate risk for the Corporation.

The following table provides information about our fixed maturity securities, which are sensitive to changes in interest rates. The table presents cash flows of principal amounts and related weighted average interest rates by expected maturity dates at December 31, 2012 and 2011. Consideration is given to the call dates of securities trading above par value and the expected prepayment patterns of mortgage-backed securities. Actual cash flows could differ from the expected amounts, primarily due to future changes in interest rates.

 

    At December 31, 2012  
                                        Total  
    2013     2014     2015     2016     2017     Thereafter     Amortized
Cost
    Fair
Value
 
    (in millions)  

Tax exempt

  $ 3,050      $ 2,020      $ 2,097      $ 1,907      $ 1,735      $ 7,601      $ 18,410      $ 19,913   

Average interest rate

    4.1     4.0     4.1     4.2     4.4     4.0    

Taxable — other than mortgage-backed securities.

    1,483        1,863        2,311        1,628        2,607        5,026        14,918        15,984   

Average interest rate

    3.6     3.8     2.9     3.5     3.3     4.1    

Mortgage-backed securities

    842        440        311        203        112        162        2,070        2,179   

Average interest rate

    5.2     5.1     5.1     5.0     4.4     4.2    
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

  $ 5,375      $ 4,323      $ 4,719      $ 3,738      $ 4,454      $ 12,789      $ 35,398      $ 38,076   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

    At December 31, 2011  
                                        Total  
    2012     2013     2014     2015     2016     Thereafter     Amortized
Cost
    Fair
Value
 
    (in millions)  

Tax exempt

  $ 1,813      $ 2,758      $ 2,105      $ 2,119      $ 1,970      $ 8,021      $ 18,786      $ 20,211   

Average interest rate

    4.0     4.1     4.1     4.1     4.2     4.3    

Taxable — other than mortgage-backed securities.

    1,747        1,662        1,796        1,741        1,440        4,885        13,271        14,156   

Average interest rate

    4.1     3.9     4.3     4.2     3.9     4.8    

Mortgage-backed securities

    893        624        400        318        207        263        2,705        2,817   

Average interest rate

    5.0     5.2