Even if you consider Ohio to be Out West, Western & Southern Mutual Holding Company wants to be your insurance destination. Operating through Western & Southern Financial Group and its subsidiaries, the company offers a variety of life insurance products and annuities; accident and supplemental health coverage; mutual funds; and other investment management products and services. Western & Southern's financial services include mutual fund administration, trust services, financial advisory, and real estate development; it owns or manages some $60 billion in assets. The company is licensed in most states and the District of Columbia. Western & Southern Financial Group was founded in 1888.
Western & Southern Financial Group operates more than a dozen subsidiaries that offer everything from critical illness insurance to funds and annuities. Some of the company's subsidiaries include Western & Southern Life Insurance, (life and health insurance products, fixed annuities), and Western-Southern Life Assurance subsidiary (universal life, term life, and annuities). Other insurance divisions include Columbus Life Insurance, Integrity Life Insurance, and Lafayette Life Insurance.
For affluent clients seeking investment advice, Western & Southern operates Fort Washington Investment Advisors to manage private equity assets for corporate and government institutions and wealthy individuals; it has more than $39 billion under management. Other financial services include mutual fund management through Touchstone Investments, which saw sales of its products jump 69% to $5.9 billion in 2012.
The company's Eagle Realty Group participates in commercial real estate investment. Eagle Realty Group was the development manager for the new Great American Tower in Cincinnati. The new skyscraper is now the city's tallest building and opened up to occupants in 2011, with its primary tenant being hometown insurance rival American Financial Group.
Sales and Marketing
The company markets its products and services through a sales force of direct representatives; it also sells through a network of independent agents and financial planners. It also conducts advertising activities through television commercials. Western & Southern's customer base is wide and varied, consisting of individuals and families of all income levels, large corporations, small to midsized businesses, financial institutions, real estate investors, and not-for-profit entities.
Like many conservative mutual insurers, Western & Southern holds a long-term investment strategy that has served it well financially. Income from its investments is greater than the income from its insurance premiums, product charges, commissions, fees, and other income combined. In 2012 its investments accounted for more than half of total revenues. Revenues and net income have both seen gradual but steady growth in recent years: in 2012 revenues grew 1% to nearly $3 billion on higher premiums and fees, while net income rose 7% to $301 million on higher revenues and investment gains.
Western & Southern tends to grow its business and customer base by launching new products aimed at filling gaps in its existing areas of operation. It is looking to reach otherwise underserved middle-market customers by extending weekend and evening sales, expanding its online sales presence, and providing more bilingual sales information online. The firm launched a sales program targeting veterans, women, college graduates, and multicultural customers in 2013 to further increase sales to middle-income individuals; it planned to hire more than 1,000 representatives as part of the program.
In 2012 Western & Southern expanded its efforts to sell life insurance policies through banks via its wholesaling unit, W&S Financial Group Distributors. It also launched a new single-premium whole life policy, Legacy Forward, in the New York market to provide new product options for customers in that market.
In 2011 Western & Southern exited the banking business when it shuttered its North Carolina bank subsidiary Fort Washington Savings bank. The closure was prompted by the Dodd-Frank banking regulations that made banks less appealing subsidiaries for insurance companies. That same year the company sold off its Capital Analysts life and investment planning arm to Lincoln Investment Planning.