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Liberty Mutual : Everything you need to know

Liberty Mutual: Everything you need to know
Founded: 1912
Estimated net written premium for 2018 (Global Retail Markets): US$28 billion
Estimated net written premium for 2018 (Global Risk Solutions): US$12 billion
Countries with local insurance operations: 17
Offices: 800+
Employees: 50,000
*As of January 22, 2019

A global insurer, Liberty Mutual offers a wide range of property and casualty insurance products and services to meet the needs of individuals, families, and businesses through a group of entities owned by its parent company, LMHC, that are spread out across the world. The company provides personal insurance for automobiles, homeowners, as well as other property and casualty insurance products in the US through the Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance brands. For small, medium, and large organisations, Liberty Mutual’s business insurance solutions include a variety of commercial coverages, from property and casualty, to employee benefits and specialty lines. It works with independent agents, brokers, and benefits consultants across the United States to deliver these solutions.

The insurer’s local insurance operations are found in 17 countries under the Liberty Mutual International wing, selling property, casualty, health and life insurance offerings to individuals and businesses in Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Liberty Mutual’s specialty coverages are meanwhile available through three operations:

  • Liberty International Underwriters, which writes specialty and commercial insurance worldwide, such as marine, construction, trade credit, and property, among other products
  •  Liberty Mutual Surety, which is the second largest surety writer in the US and underwrites a variety of contractors and corporations via a network of agents and brokers
  • Liberty Specialty Markets, which consists of three business units (specialty, commercial, and reinsurance)

More than 100 years of history

A company that’s more than a century old is bound to have a long and storied history, which for Liberty Mutual dates back to 1912. However, the events that set its founding into motion took place a year before when the Massachusetts Legislature passed a law that required employers to protect their employees with workers' compensation insurance. The Massachusetts Employees’ Insurance Association (MEIA), which was the forerunner of Liberty Mutual, began its operations on July 01, 1912. As a mutual company, MEIA was owned by and worked on behalf of its policyholders, which continues to underpin Liberty Mutual’s operations today. In 1917, the company officially changed its name to Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, and with its first automobile policy already under its belt, the insurer started writing public liability insurance, as well as complete automobile insurance through an arrangement with the United Mutual Fire Insurance Company, later renamed Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance.

Major milestones in the company’s history included its expansion to all 48 states, which it completed in 1937, the surpassing of the US$2 billion mark in written premiums in 1972, and its ongoing focus on safety and education initiatives that the company has invested resources in throughout its history.

Liberty Mutual is also committed to diversity and inclusion, and was recognised in January 2019 by Forbes magazine as one of the best employers for diversity in the United States, the second time that the company has been recognised with this honour.

“We are pleased to once again receive this recognition from Forbes, and are proud of the work we’re doing to increase diversity and strengthen inclusion and belonging at Liberty,” said Melanie Foley, Liberty Mutual’s executive vice president for talent and enterprise services. “This year we will continue these efforts and expand our D&I work globally. Because Liberty Mutual is a global organisation with employees and customers around the world, it’s crucial that we drive D&I skill-building for all employees – and we know that having inclusive leaders is critical to building an environment where everyone can contribute their best and thrive.”

Major acquisition

In May 2017, Liberty Mutual completed its acquisition of 100% ownership interest in global specialty company Ironshore from Fosun International Limited. This created an insurance business with around US$6.5 billion in net written premium. As a result of the acquisition, Liberty Mutual combined its Liberty International Underwriters business in the US with Ironshore’s US specialty lines business under the Ironshore brand.

“The combination of our two operations will create a top tier US specialty insurer with a broad and deep set of solutions for clients and brokers,” said David H. Long, Liberty Mutual Insurance chairman and CEO, in a press release.

In Canada, Liberty Mutual rebranded Liberty International Underwriters (LIU Canada) and Ironshore Canada under one name in November 2018, with the two now under the Liberty Mutual Canada brand.

“The rebranding of our joint operation as Liberty Mutual Canada is an important milestone in our journey to come together as one organisation,” said Liberty Mutual Canada president Garth Pepper. “A stronger, united organisation will enable us to better leverage the financial and reputational strength of Liberty Mutual to grow our presence and relevance in the Canadian market.”

Meanwhile, in December 2018, Liberty Specialty Markets integrated with the Ironshore Bermuda business under the Liberty Specialty Markets Bermuda name.

“This move gives us a fantastic opportunity to bring all our Bermuda businesses under the Liberty Specialty Markets brand, acting as one global organisation and making a major contribution to our strategic priorities,” Wheeler said. “Combining these businesses gives us a unified regional approach to Bermuda. This has major advantages for both our clients and Liberty itself. We will be able to offer clients our full suite of products and experience while making it easier to build stronger and deeper long-term client relationships. We will also be able to provide our Bermuda-based clients with new products currently offered from other parts of Liberty, most notably specialty reinsurance from Liberty Mutual Re. Finally, the integration will put us in a stronger position for growth and business development in the region.”

Liberty Mutual : In the news