2016 Guardian Annual Report3a555d50d4dce599bdd086b3b9e01434

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In 2016, we experienced historic shifts in the economy, technology, politics, demographics, and consumer behavior. We work and live in a time of continuous change and disruption. Millennials have become the largest age group in the United States, exceeding 80 million people, and their technology preferences are reshaping business models.1 Consumer expectations are rapidly shifting with the rise of millennials, new markets are opening up, and bold new ways of working are being explored. By the end of 2017, over two billion mobile device users will engage in some form of mobile commerce transaction.2 We are going through the most significant period of change since the Industrial Revolution.

In the face of these transformations, Guardian’s mission remains the same. We are here to help our customers achieve financial security. We know that when we serve you well, we’re helping you create a secure future – a future story that is yours to write and is unique to you.

We accomplish our mission in three ways. First, as a mutual company, owned by our whole life insurance policyholders, everything we do is aligned with the interests of our customers. Second, we filter every decision through the lens of our time-tested values: People Count; We Do the Right Thing; and We Hold Ourselves to Very High Standards. Third, we approach challenges with analytical insight, diligence, and resilience. At Guardian we choose to look at every challenge as an opportunity.

Guardian’s 2016 results speak to how we are creating opportunities in challenging times. Our strong financial performance across both our operating income and growing capital base allowed us to declare a record-breaking dividend of $850 million to policyholders, and we have paid a dividend each year since 1868. Our disciplined approach to financial management continues to earn us exemplary ratings from all four major ratings agencies.

We are not only growing financially – we are now serving more people how, when, and where they prefer. Throughout 2016, Guardian served over 26 million policyholders and customers. We have grown our business beyond life insurance, disability income insurance, and annuities to dental, vision, and supplemental health insurance to help greater numbers of people define their path toward financial well-being.

This year, we sold our 401(k) business and made the decision to embark on a long-term strategic marketing relationship so that we could continue to provide 401(k) products and services. To ensure that we meet customer expectations in our mobile-first society, Guardian launched a first-of-its-kind electronic policy service for employees purchasing disability income insurance through the workplace, and we are piloting capabilities that allow consumers to purchase more of our products online.

Guardian is laying the foundation for leveraging data and highly scalable cloud platforms to enable us to create new business models and understand risks in ways never before possible. We are excited to leverage innovative technology advancements to empower us with robust solutions to some of our most difficult business challenges.

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Our goal is not only to serve more customers but to exceed their expectations. J.D. Power recognized our retirement contact center for the sixth consecutive year for providing “An Outstanding Customer Service Experience” for the live phone channel. Our disability insurance call center was the only insurance business in the industry to earn recognition from DALBAR.

Guardian continues to look for ways to support our 8,800 employees operating in more than 150 locations, and 2,750 financial representatives in 58 agencies nationwide. We received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2017 Corporate Equality Index, a testament to our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

We continue to focus on how our employees can make a difference in our communities. Our Money Management for LifeSM financial literacy program expanded in 2016, and is now offered in over 10 community colleges. We are also focused on the link between financial education and workforce development by supporting programs that bridge the gap between corporations, governments, and educational institutions to help young people graduate with the skills required to succeed in today’s job market. I am proud of our work with the City of New York’s Center for Youth Employment and the Business-Higher Education Forum in bringing more job opportunities to young people so that we can help the millennial and younger generations thrive.

We have also maintained our focus on sustainability by celebrating the opening of our new campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, built under LEED Gold standards. Designed with the intent to harness natural light and conserve resources, our new location is a truly collaborative work environment that will serve us well for years to come.

2016 was about Guardian serving our customers by holding strong to our values and turning challenges into opportunities. In the midst of this period of historic change, I am confident that we will continue to seize the opportunities these changes bring and help to secure a future full of promise for us all.

Thank you for the trust you place in us and for being a customer of Guardian.

Deanna M. Mulligan
Deanna M. Mulligan
President and Chief Executive Officer

1Millennials Outnumber Baby Boomers and Are Far More Diverse, Census Bureau Reports, USA Census Bureau,
June 25, 2015
2Mobile Transaction Users to Hit 2 Billion by 2017, Juniper Reports, November 12, 2014