Liberty Mutual Holding defends our freedom to buy car insurance. As the parent company of Liberty Mutual Group and its operating subsidiaries, Liberty Mutual is one of the top property/casualty insurers in the US and among the top 10 providers of automobile insurance. The company also offers homeowners' insurance, workers compensation, general liability, group disability, fire and surety, and commercial lines for small to large companies. Liberty Mutual operates through four business divisions: Liberty Mutual Agency Corporation (LMAC), International, Personal Markets, and Commercial Markets. It distributes its products through a diversified blend of independent and exclusive agents, brokers, and direct sales.
Liberty Mutual's largest division, its LMAC division, brings in a third of its total revenues, serving a balanced mix of small and midsized employers and individuals with commercial and personal insurance products. Its Commercial Lines unit operates through smaller regional businesses, including Peerless Insurance (serving the Northwest region), Montgomery Insurance (Southeast), and America First Insurance (Gulf Coast), among others. Personal lines are sold though Safeco Insurance, while its surety lines are sold through Liberty Mutual Surety and Liberty SuretyFirst.
Liberty Mutual's International division has grown in importance as part of a planned long-term expansion outside of the US. This division operates in about 15 countries and provides personal and commercial insurance to local markets ranging from Argentina to Vietnam. It uses various means to branch out into emerging markets like Russia, China, and India. It has been known to open new branches organically, establish joint ventures, and acquire local businesses in order to increase its foothold. Such was the case with its 2011 purchase of Quinn Insurance Limited's Republic of Ireland business. The division's Liberty International Underwriters (LIU) business offers specialty commercial insurance and reinsurance and operates from about 50 offices worldwide. LIU writes a variety of products in such areas as aviation, cyber liability, construction, energy, marine, and crisis management, among others. Its Lloyd's Syndicate 4472 also provides multi-line insurance and reinsurance worldwide.
True to its name, the company's Personal Markets division offers coverage lines for private automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, and personal liability through its own sales force, two direct response centers, appointed Prudential agents, and online. Traditional and variable life insurance and annuity products are offered through subsidiary Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston. Personal Markets' largest source of new business comes through its relationships with affinity groups, including credit unions, employers, and professional and alumni associations.
The Commercial Markets division provides property/casualty and group benefits commercial insurance to large and midsized businesses through independent agents, brokers, and benefit consultants in the US. Its Group Benefits unit offers short- and long-term disability insurance products and administrative services as well as group life insurance through Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston. Summit provides workers' compensation in the Southeast (mainly in Florida) primarily to small businesses. In 2010 the division established Commercial Markets P&C, a new distribution and service organization that serves agents and brokers through an expanding portfolio of commercial line product and service offerings.
To gain access to public equity, while maintaining its status as a mutual insurer, Liberty Mutual announced plans to spin off its Agency Markets business through an initial public offering of LMAC in 2010, while maintaining a controlling interest. However, Liberty Mutual postponed the IPO later that year, citing a volatile stock market and stalled economic recovery. By the middle of 2011, the company had shelved the plans entirely.
As the US economy slowly recovers from a major financial crisis, Liberty Mutual has reported satisfactory performance over the past several years. In fiscal 2011, despite record catastrophes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires, it grew revenues by about 4% to almost $35 billion, although its net income decreased 78% from 2010 to $365 million. At year end the company had $117 billion in consolidated assets and $99 billion in consolidated liabilities. As a FORTUNE 500 company, it is one of the largest corporations in the US based on revenue.