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The Travelers Companies' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

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 a 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 Investor section on our website. And now Jay Fishman.

Jay S. Fishman

Thank you, Gabby. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. I'm 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 worse in our history, and as a consequence, net earnings per share of $3.36 for the year were considerably lower than what we've become accustomed to. Nevertheless, we price our product for the long term, and of course, we don't control the weather. There will be years such as 2006 and '07 in which weather losses are surprisingly low, and of course, there will be years, but hopefully not too many, in which losses will be high.

Also a less financially significant but nonetheless important piece of the 2011 story was the persistent low fixed-income investment environment. A 1.5 years 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 worst, particularly given the active weather we experienced in 2010 and into the first half of 2011.

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