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Travelers Companies Inc TRV
Q4 2011 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 01/24/2012

Operator: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results Teleconference for Travelers. We ask that you hold all questions until the completion of formal remarks, at which time you will be given instructions for the question-and-answer session. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded on Tuesday, January 24, 2012.

At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Ms. Gabriella Nawi, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations. Ms. Nawi, you may begin.

Gabriella Nawi - SVP, IR: Thank you, Carlos. Good morning and welcome to Travelers discussion of our fourth quarter and 2011 results. Hopefully, all of you have seen our press release, financial supplements and webcast presentation released earlier this morning. All of these materials can be found on our website at www.travelers.com under the Investors section.

Speaking today will be Jay Fishman, Chairman and CEO; Jay Benet, Chief Financial Officer; and Brian MacLean, President and Chief Operating Officer. Other members of senior management are also in the room available for the question-and-answer period. They will discuss the financial results of our business in the current market environment. They will refer to the webcast presentation as they go through prepared remarks, and then we will open it up for questions.

Before I turn it over to Jay, I would like to draw your attention to the explanatory note included at the end of the webcast.

Our presentation today includes forward-looking statements. The Company cautions investors that any forward-looking statement involves risks and uncertainties, and is not a guarantee of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements due to the variety of factors. These factors are described in our earnings press release and in our most recent 10-Q and 10-K filed with the SEC. We do not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements.

Also in our remarks or responses to questions, we may mention some non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations are included in our recent earnings press release, financial supplement, and other materials that are available on the Investors section on our website.

Now, Jay Fishman.

Jay S. Fishman - Chairman and CEO: Thank you, Gabby. Good morning, everyone and thank you for joining us today. We're pleased that we posted solid results in the fourth quarter with net income per share at $1.51 and return on equity of 10%. The story for the full year of course was the remarkable weather. Weather losses were far and away the worst in our history and as a consequence, net earnings per share of $3.36 for the year were considerably lower than what we have become accustomed to. Nevertheless, we price our product for the long term and of course, we don't control the weather. It will be years such as 2006 and 2007 in which weather losses are surprising low and of course, there will be years, but hopefully not too many, in which losses will be high.

Also, less financially significant, but nonetheless important piece of the 2011 story was the persistent low fixed income investment environment. A year and a half ago in the middle of 2010, we made the important decision that we were going to actively take steps in terms of rate terms and conditions to improve future returns in light of the insurance pricing environment and our view that it was increasingly likely that we would be facing low fixed income yields for some time to come. We increased those efforts in the middle of 2011 in recognition of the possibility that weather patterns might be changing prospectively for the worse, particularly given the active weather we experienced in 2010 and end of the first half of 2011.

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