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: Personal Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Liberty International, and Global Specialty. It distributes its products through a diversified blend of independent and exclusive agents, brokers, and direct sales.
Liberty Mutual's four business divisions are Personal Insurance (accounting for 45% of net written premiums), Commercial Insurance (30%), Global Specialty (15%), and Liberty International (some 10%).
True to its name, the company's Personal Insurance 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 Insurance segment provides a wide range of property/casualty and group benefits products and services for businesses through independent agents, brokers, and benefit consultants across the US.
Liberty International's operations consist of local insurance companies selling property/casualty, health, and life insurance products to individuals and businesses in 18 countries and key markets.
The Global Specialty segment includes Liberty International Underwriters (LIU), Liberty Mutual Surety (LMS), and Liberty Mutual Reinsurance (LMR).
Private passenger automobile insurance is the company's single largest line of business (36% of the total net written premium in 2015).
Liberty Mutual has some 900 offices in 30 countries around the globe.
Liberty International has four operating regions: Latin America and Iberia (Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Portugal, and Spain); Emerging Europe, (Turkey, Poland, and Ireland); Asia (Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam); and Large Emerging Markets (Russia, China, and India).
Sales and Marketing
The company distributes its products through around 2,200 licensed sales representatives and more than 600 licensed telesales counselors, through direct response centers, third-party producers, and online. Its commercial insurance lines are sold through independent agents, brokers, and benefit consultants throughout the US. More than 10,000 independent agencies in 49 states sell Liberty Mutual's Safeco-branded insurance products.
Liberty Mutual markets its offerings in industries including energy, financial services, health care, hospitality, food and beverages, manufacturing, and printing and publishing.
After years of rising revenues, the company saw relatively flat revenue in fiscal 2015. That year earnings declined a modest $104 million, bringing revenue to $37.6 billion. The decline was primarily a result of a slowdown for the Liberty International segment (but was partially offset by gains in the other three operating segments). Net investment income declined 14% due to losses in the energy sector, while fees and other revenues fell 13%.
Net income fell 72% to $514 million that year, largely due to losses from discontinued operations in Venezuela and an increase in operating costs.
Cash flow from operations rose 243% to $4.2 billion as less cash was used in premiums and other receivables.
Liberty Mutual increases its geographic foothold by opening new branches organically, establishing joint ventures, and acquiring local complementary businesses. In 2015, the company opened its first campus outside of the Northeast (in Plano, Texas).
The company'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.
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. It uses various means to branch out into emerging markets like Russia, China, and India. However, in 2014 the division sold its Argentinian operations and in 2015 it put its Polish and Venezuelan operations up for sale.
In mid-2014, the company reached an agreement with National Indemnity Company (NICO), a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, on a combined aggregate adverse development cover for most of Liberty Mutual's workers' compensation, asbestos, and environmental liabilities.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2014 the company acquired Uni.Asia Capital's 68% stake in Uni.Asia General Insurance Berhad for approximately $118 million. Two years later, it acquired Compañia de Seguros Generales Penta Security, the fourth-largest property/casualty insurer in Chile. Liberty Mutual is now Chile's largest general insurer.
Expanding its presence in Ireland, it has agreed to buy Northern Ireland-based Hughes Insurance, an independent insurance broker offering auto, home, travel, and commercial lines.
In late 2016, Liberty Mutual agreed to buy specialty insurer Ironshore for $3 billion. That purchase will boost the company's specialty insurance operations by some $2.2 billion. Ironshore insures companies such as aviation firms and cruise ships and covers risks including kidnapping, war, and terrorism.