CNA Financial provides cross-continental coverage. The company is an umbrella organization for a wide range of insurance providers, including Continental Casualty and Continental Insurance. It primarily provides commercial policies, such as workers' compensation, auto, and general liability. CNA also sells specialty insurance including professional liability (doctors, lawyers, and architects) and vehicle warranty service contracts. The firm offers commercial surety bonds (through CNA Surety), risk management, claims administration, and information services. Its products are sold by independent agents and brokers in the US and through partners abroad. Holding company Loews owns 90% of CNA.
The company has pared back its operations to strictly commercial property/casualty policies over the years. Most of its non-core insurance products are in run-off, including a few remaining life, annuity, and pension products, as well as accident and health insurance.
CNA's revenue fell 3% in 2011 vs. 2010, while net income dropped 11% over the same period. While net written premiums for CNA Specialty, CNA Commercial, and the non-core Life & Group all increased, primarily driven by new business, net income fell on investment losses. The year-over-year decline in net income resulted from lower operating income and decreased net realized investment gains. The decline in revenue and profits in 2011 followed two years of gains on the heels of steep decline in 2008.
Like most large insurers, CNA has been pinched hard by investment losses and catastrophe losses in recent years. However, unlike other insurance companies, it has the comfort of being held by a good old-fashioned conglomerate with a solid parent backing it up.
In 2011 CNA expanded its specialty operations by purchasing the 39% of CNA Surety it did not already own for some $463 million. As a wholly-owned subsidiary, CNA Surety gained stability and capital resources. The company had first made a bid of about $380 million in 2010 to buy up the rest of CNA Surety, but CNA Surety held out for CNA's higher, successful offer. Later in the year CNA sold its half-ownership in Hawaii's largest property/casualty insurance firm, First Insurance Company of Hawaii to its partner, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., a unit of Tokio Marine Holdings. In 2012 CNA acquired Hardy Underwriting Bermuda Limited for approximately £143 million ($227 million). The purchase expanded its specialized underwriting capabilities on a global basis.
CNA is also focused on strengthening its core commercial operations through both enhanced customer retention efforts and new customer additions. It has divided its customers into two groups, with its business segment covering small accounts and its commercial segment serving midsized to large accounts.
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