We insure things people own and value and are tested when nature is particularly harsh. As David Long discusses in his letter, we were truly tested in 2011 as catastrophic storms worldwide made it a tough year for Liberty Mutual and indeed the entire property and casualty industry. We came through it well, and I am proud of our people’s performance in meeting our policyholders’ needs.
So I am very confident about the strength and direction of our Company. First and foremost, David was elected Chief Executive Officer in June, and he demonstrates continuously that our Board of Directors selected the right person as my successor; I couldn’t be more pleased. Secondly, the strengths of the company are evident in the underlying operating performance over the year.
More important, Liberty Mutual is very well positioned for continued success. Our well-diversified portfolio of products, distribution channels and geographies allows us to weather the vagaries of local conditions or stresses in different areas of business. Our operations have learned how to be successful over time in an array of environments, be it the economic headwinds in Spain, hyperinflation in Venezuela, rapid growth in China or underpriced commercial lines in the U.S. And our more than 45,000 employees around the globe demonstrated in their response to the unprecedented wave of catastrophes and in their day-to-day work that we have the best employees in the industry.
I want to thank David, his management team and every Liberty Mutual employee for their dedication and hard work in 2011. I thank my fellow directors for their continued support and commitment. And I thank you, our policyholders, customers and distribution partners, for continuing to place your trust in us.
Edmund F. Kelly