Page 5 - MSA Group 2014 Annual Report
P. 5

A Message from the Chairman
Throughout 2014, The Main Street America Group continued to serve our distribution network of 3,000 independent insurance agents and their customers better than anyone else, while also establishing the framework for our company’s future success.
We generally fell short of attaining our 2014 financial goals, as higher-than-expected losses in reinsurance and liability lines, as well as slower-than-planned premium growth, led to an overall underwriting loss. We did, however, generate net income of $37.9 million and reached the significant milestone of surpassing $1 billion in surplus for the first time in our company’s 91-year history. Main Street America’s financial position remains very strong, with our premium to surplus ratio declining to .96 to 1.
Our commercial lines operations grew 5.1 percent in 2014 with a 100.2 combined ratio. A countrywide commercial package policy was developed for risks that do not fit our standard Main Line Business Owners Policy. We also developed our workers’ compensation tiered pricing program which will open this coverage to a much broader mix of “Main Street” insureds.
In 2015, Main Street America will continue the rollout of our workers’ compensation tiered pricing program and begin implementing our new commercial package policy. Additionally, as part of our ongoing efforts to improve ease of doing business, we will engage agency bridging technology on our Main Street Station platform.
In personal lines, more competitive pricing in auto and home led to Main Street America’s strong new business growth
in many states in 2014. We also implemented significant enhancements to our Main Street Station personal lines platform, greatly improving the user experience.
We will begin introducing a new business discount for auto and home in 2015. By midyear, we plan to launch a new private passenger auto product, which will offer a simplified pricing model and provide a wide array of discounts and coverage features that will make us very competitive against national and regional carriers.
Main Street America’s claims and customer service functions continued to provide superior service to our customers and their insureds last year. At our Agency Councils and Listening Tours, as well as through our surveys, Main Street America’s customers consistently gave our claims and customer service teams exceptionally high marks.
Main Street America remains a leader in championing the independent agency system. As the founding company partner of Trusted Choice® in 2001, we continue to co-brand via every possible touchpoint in the marketplace, ranging from product marketing to community activities to quarterly results videos on our company’s YouTube channel.
As one of the six original carriers which invested in the development of the new consumer agent portal, we realized independent agents needed a strong online presence in order to compete with direct writers and captives to gain market share. is now available throughout the United States and is driving new business to the independent agent distribution channel. In 2014, the site received 1.8 million visitors and generated 48,000 leads.
Our Trusted Choice® feature story on page 5 describes how participating agents are benefiting from this platform.
Our 2014 Annual Report, A Year on Main Street, is filled with insightful stories which highlight how we are partnering with our agent-customers to achieve success throughout our “Main Street” niche. I would like to thank our dedicated employees for instilling our company’s core values of ownership, relationships and service and helping us deliver “The MSA Experience” to all our customers year after year. And, I would like to thank our customers for their trust in continuing to place their insureds’ business with us.
As we embark upon our 92nd year of serving the “Main Street” marketplace, our strong capital position leaves us well- positioned to invest in new products, enhanced technology and competitive pricing. We will continue to serve our customers in a magnificent way and partner with them to profitably grow and achieve our mutual 2015 financial goals.
Tom Van Berkel
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

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