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Arthur J. Gallagher's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Stocks in this article: AJG

2011 adjusted EBITDAC with our Brokerage and Risk Management segments combined, we broke through $400 million market $428 million. 2011 supplemental commissions and contingents came at over $94 million which is outstanding work by our field management team. Business was strong throughout the year, but especially strong in the fourth quarter. We finished the year with 12,000 colleagues and over $2 billion of revenue.

During the second half of 2011 we finished 15 more clean coal plant that will contribute significantly to after-tax income in 2012 and beyond. Total return to shareholders in 2011 was 20% and if you go back to 11/08, what we view as the start of the great recession, total shareholder return is 70% including our dividend and our Board of Directors increased our quarterly dividend to 3% at the last meeting. All and all just a great year, I’m very proud of our team. I think everyone contributed from all over the globe.

Let me highlight three particular points, so I’d like to add some color to it, and those will be the property casualty rate environment, our economy and mergers and acquisitions. And I will start with the PC rates. The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers survey came out last week. It shows small accounts up 3.1%, medium accounts cost going up about 3.5% and larger accounts about 1.8% which averages out to 2.8% and that’s pretty much exactly what we are seeing. There are some exceptions, catastrophe exposed properties especially the big wind exposed accounts are virtually in a hard market. In some instances we have seen a 100% rate increases.

Property in general across the Board is increasing more than the 3%, work comp as a line of coverage needs significant rate adjustments especially in California, Illinois and New York. Management liability, directors, officers, etcetera in particular in the middle market is showing some firming. I think it's fair to say in general, carriers are resisting decreases. Now having said that I’m declaring a hard market here, a great account with a good loss record one that hasn’t shopped every year is likely to receive a very competitive proposal.

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