Guardian Life Insurance Company of America keeps a sharp eye on the investments of its policyholders. Guardian and its subsidiaries offer life insurance, disability income insurance, and retirement programs to individuals, business owners, and their employees. Its employee health indemnity plans provide HMO, PPO, and dental and vision plans, as well as disability plans. Its Guardian Insurance & Annuity subsidiary offers retirement options that include mutual funds and annuity products, which its Guardian Investor Services manages. Guardian also offers estate planning and education savings programs. The firm is a mutual company owned by its policyholders.
Like other bread-and-butter life insurance companies, Guardian took advantage of the deregulated financial services market and built up its wealth management capabilities to target baby boomers readying for retirement. Over the years it created broker-dealer Park Avenue Securities and launched Guardian Trust Company to offer trust and investment management services. Guardian also added subsidiaries in complementary fields through acquisitions, such as disability insurance specialist Berkshire Life Insurance.
Guardian Life's largest operating markets (by number of associates) include New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Washington State. The company offers its products in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Sales and Marketing
Some 3,300 financial representatives (including general agents, brokers, and wholesalers) in more than 70 agencies throughout the US distribute the company's products. Guardian has taken advantage of its stability by building up its distribution force. It is also investing in technology to support its services, and it is focusing on building up its sales to small businesses and individuals.
More than 80% of Guardian's financial representatives have completed the firm's social media training program and interact with clients and partners through online channels.
Guardian's revenues increased by 2% from 2014 to 2015 mainly from increased premiums, annuity considerations, and fund deposits. (Premiums and deposits for the year was $19.0 billion compared to $17.3 billion in 2014.)
On the flip side, Guardian's net income decreased by 39% from 2014 to 2015. This was due to a spike in benefit payments to policyholders and beneficiaries and an increase in commissions and operating expenses.
To achieve growth, Guardian takes a long view of things in setting its strategic goals. Those goals include improving its products, expanding its distribution, and enhancing its service capabilities. The company selectively invests in opportunities that support its financial stability and strength in order to heighten its ability to pay competitive policyholder dividends over time. Guardian also forms strategic partnerships and has widened options for its investment customers by adding new funding vehicle options.
The company has also positioned itself for future growth and bolstered its competitive edge by preparing its group employee benefits business for post-health care reform changes. Steps taken included adding new products, enhancing support services, customizing worksite and voluntary benefit offerings, and expanding the benefit distribution networks. Additionally, Guardian added new life insurance policy options and individual disability products to expand customer options.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Guardian in 2016 completed the acquisition of Avēsis Incorporated, a leading government contract vision, dental, and hearing provider. The deal strengthened Guardian’s government programs business as one of the leading administrators for vision, dental and hearing benefits for government and commercial programs with 3 million members administered under Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare Advantage programs.
The same year, Guardian acquired Aon Hewitt’s Absence Management Administration Business, adding 200 blue chip customers and 1,300 employees across the US, Canada, and India.