2017 Guardian Annual Report3a555d50d4dce599bdd086b3b9e01434



President and Chief Executive Officer



With a legacy that began in 1860, Guardian’s talented professionals have always been ready to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of a fast-changing world — and this year was no different. We faced political uncertainty, responded to several natural disasters and navigated through new tax legislation, to name just a few examples. It was a challenging year. But, with the knowledge and expertise of 157 years on our side — we were ready. Ready to serve our communities when they were left vulnerable to forces beyond their control, and ready to meet the needs of our clients how, when and where they prefer. Guided by the values on which our Company was founded, 2017 proved another strong year.


Whether it was an individual who was placed on disability after an unexpected accident or a small-business owner looking to provide benefits to her employees — we were ready to deliver exceptional service that met the unique needs of each of our clients.

We formalized a real-time client feedback process this year with the launch of our Voice of the Customer program. And, quarter after quarter — they told us that when they reached out to us, they would not only get a quality product but also the benefit of a person who has great expertise and who cares.

This sentiment was validated by our retirement clients for the seventh consecutive year and our disability income insurance clients for the first time this year with J. D. Power’s recognition for “Outstanding Customer Service Experience” for the live phone channel at our Guardian Retirement and Disability Income Insurance Contact Centers. Also, this year, the industry’s DALBAR Service Excellence Award was received by our Individual Life, Individual Disability, Annuity and Individual Markets Claims areas.


Our service translated into strong financial performance, even with a challenging low interest rate environment. Once again, the Company delivered its largest policyholder dividend in our history, at $913 million, and we kept our dividend rate steady. We also achieved record earnings of $1.6 billion, ending the year with $8 billion in capital, and expanded our services to reach over 26 million clients.

This growth was supported by innovation. We turned first to the expertise of our colleagues when we launched our innovation challenge program. Five thousand colleagues and 50 external partners generated 1,300 ideas to develop new solutions to address some of our emerging business challenges. Ideas in development range from a match-making service for potential clients to find the best advisor for them to ways of making our business more environmentally sustainable.





We applied technology to deliver more meaningful interactions with our clients by adopting a mobile, cloud-first technology approach, piloting solutions driven by artificial intelligence and adding more self-service capabilities across all our products to meet the requests of our clients. We are also using automation in many areas of our operations to improve efficiency for clients and colleagues so that they can spend more time working with people rather than paper.

And, to be ready to meet the growing needs of an increasingly digital world, we launched our new Strategy and Customer Development function to strengthen our client focus across all our business lines and to advance our digital experience.


We continued to invest in our colleagues so that they could build new capabilities and acquire new credentials at every stage of their careers. For example, we launched our Executive Leadership Development Program for rising leaders and formed partnerships for advanced training opportunities with organizations such as General Assembly, a company focused on bringing digital education to workplaces. In our communities, we worked with organizations such as Girls Who Code, Year Up and Harbor House to empower the next generation of talent with access to the tools and training needed to be successful in the workforce now and be ready for the future.

We continue to move into state-of-the-art work environments to enable our teams to deliver the best for our clients. Early in the year, our colleagues settled into our Bethlehem campus while preparing our Holmdel, New Jersey, location in the former Bell Labs headquarters for occupancy. We also finalized the lease for our new corporate headquarters in New York City at Hudson Yards, a project billed as the city of the future. We are preparing our office spaces across the country to promote collaboration, mobility and innovation, and to build upon our goals for sustainability and workplace enhancement, which in turn will help us better serve our clients.

And, when disaster struck — we were ready. Our colleagues brought our values to life when they came together to respond to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Whether it was securing hotel rooms so that their peers and their families who were in the path of the hurricanes had a safe haven, launching employee giving programs or calling clients to ensure they were safe and had received their payments — we continued to hear extraordinary accounts of individuals who went above and beyond to support their communities. This past year, our colleagues spent more than 10,000 hours volunteering in the communities where we live and work, and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We come to work every day to serve our clients. Our values — which guide each of the decisions made by our colleagues — keep us strong, so that we are always ready to serve. The stories that follow are examples of how, by living our values, we deliver every day for the people who matter most: our colleagues, partners, clients and communities.


Deanna M. Mulligan
President and Chief Executive Officer