How to Choose a Life Insurance Company *YP½PPMRK 4VSQMWIW A 2014 GUIDE THROUGH RELEVANT INDUSTRY INFORMATION

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1 How to Choose a Life Insurance Company *YP½PPMRK 4VSQMWIW A 2014 GUIDE THROUGH RELEVANT INDUSTRY INFORMATION

2 Because the most important people in your life will car, or computer, most people are completely unfamiliar with life insurer. In fact, most people spend far more time the end, they can hardly compare in importance. At Guardian, we want you to make the most informed decision possible when it comes to this essential part of your financial foundation. We hope that you find the and stability of any life insurer.

3 Table of Contents Mutuality Capitalization Ratio Net Investment Yield Investment Environment The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America Key 2013 Accomplishments 1

4 The Importance of Strength and Stability There are many places you can put your money to keep it safe and make it grow. But life insurance is the one place where you must be absolutely certain it is secure secure today and for many years to come. Consequently, choosing a life insurance company is all about the firm s long-term strength and stability. WHY? BECAUSE A POLICY IS A PROMISE. A promise is only as good as the company that can honor it. The values contained in a life insurance policy will be a major source of accumulated cash values and security for your family and your business. Quite distinct from most other types of financial instruments, such as savings accounts and short-term investments, a life insurance policy is expected to perform or fulfill your goals many years into the future. Therefore, the long-term financial viability of the life insurance company you are considering should be a major consideration. When you purchase life insurance, you are not just buying the coverage itself. You are also buying the experience, financial strength and services of the insurance company. With so much change in the financial and insurance industry including some carriers exiting the marketplace altogether a serious review of the underlying soundness of any company is crucial. That is why it is important to determine whether the company s track record is consistent with the statements made at the time of sale. 2

5 What should you know about a life insurance company when purchasing a policy? You should review the following during your life insurance selection process: Mutuality A mutual company is owned by the policyholders, whereas a stock insurance company s primary owner is its stockholders. Capitalization Ratio This is a measure of financial strength and an indicator of a company s ability to ride out uncertain economic times. Net Investment Yield The yield represents the net earned rate on all invested assets, excluding realized and unrealized gains and losses. Total Underperforming Assets This is an indicator of the quality of the asset portfolio supporting the policyholders policies. Bond and Mortgage Statutory Credit Results This is a good indicator of a company s risk management performance. Investment Environment The way life insurers manage their assets can be very different from company to company some can be more aggressive than others. You want to look at how an insurer s portfolio has performed during market downturns and how much risk they are currently taking. Financial Ratings All the factors above are evaluated for each life insurance company by independent ratings services. Their ratings are widely relied upon by institutions and individuals as essential indicators of financial strength and stability of insurance companies. Using the preceding indicators and measurements may help you in selecting a company focused on strength, integrity and performance. The charts on the following pages show life insurance carriers ranked by those measurements. All information in this document was obtained from the annual and quarterly statement filings with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) as of 12/31/13. 3

6 Mutuality: What is a mutual life insurance company and why is it important to your buying decision? Unlike publicly held companies, mutual companies have no stockholders and therefore no conflicts between the short-term, quarter-to-quarter financial demands of Wall Street and the long-term interests of policyholders. We believe mutual companies are positioned to serve customers interests by delivering high-quality, low-net-cost life insurance with the greatest degree of financial strength possible. One of the most important ways that mutual companies can enrich the lives of their policyholders is through annual dividends that result in a lower, long-term net cost for their insurance policies. While dividends are not guaranteed (they are declared annually by the Company s Board of Directors), Guardian has paid dividends every year since Capitalization Ratio: What is it and why is it important to you? of net admitted assets. Most of the liabilities of any insurance company are composed of the reserves set aside to pay future claims. Capital represents the amount of assets in excess of those liabilities, and a high capitalization ratio indicates a greater proportion of these excess assets. It is calculated using the following formula: Capital Net Admitted Assets (Excluding Separate Account Assets) The following table lists the capitalization ratios* over the last five years of many of the major companies within the industry. 4

7 Ranked by Five-Year Average Capitalization Ratio* Company Five-Year Average Guardian Life Insurance Company of America 15.9% 16.1% 15.5% 15.4% 14.5% 15.5% State Farm Life Insurance Company 14.1% 15.0% 15.2% New York Life Insurance Company 15.1% Ohio National Life Insurance Company 14.3% 15.1% 14.4% Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company 13.2% 14.1% 14.4% 12.4% 14.5% 14.0% 13.5% Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company 11.0% 12.5% 12.1% 12.2% 12.2% 12.0% Nationwide Life Insurance Company 12.3% 11.5% 10.4% 11.1% AXA Equitable Life Insurance 10.3% 11.1% 10.0% 10.3% Lincoln National Life Insurance Company John Hancock Life Insurance Company (USA) Metropolitan Life Insurance Company What this means to you is Is in a position to honor the promise of the policy to protect and insure when it s needed most. *All information provided was obtained from each company s statutory statements. Results include surplus notes issued. 5

8 Net Investment Yield: What is it and why is it important to you? Net Investment Yield (NIY, also known as Net Yield on Mean Invested Assets) is net investment income expressed as a percent of cash and invested assets plus accrued investment income, minus borrowed money. Net Investment Yield comes from all invested assets. The table shown is ranked by percentage of yield over a five-year period. Ranked by Five-Year Net Investment Yield* Company Five-Year Average AXA Equitable Life Insurance 5.25% Ohio National Insurance Company 5.30% 5.00% 5.45% Guardian Life Insurance Company of America 5.65% 5.62% 5.42% 5.12% 4.90% 5.34% 5.14% 5.12% 5.32% Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company 5.30% 5.10% 5.41% 5.40% 5.32% 5.11% 5.21% John Hancock Insurance Company (USA) 5.10% 5.33% 5.14% Lincoln National Life Insurance Company 5.41% 5.45% 5.14% State Farm Life Insurance Company 5.42% 5.24% 5.15% Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company 5.15% Nationwide Life Insurance Company 4.41% Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 5.13% New York Life Insurance Company 5.23% 3.55% 4.00% What this means to you is * All information provided was obtained from each company s statutory statements. Results include surplus notes issued.

9 Total Underperforming Assets: What are they and why are they important? This is one measure of the quality of a life insurance company s asset portfolio that supports the policyholders policies. Total underperforming assets measures: The amount of bonds in or near default; Mortgages with interest three months overdue; Mortgages in the process of foreclosure; Real estate acquired in satisfaction of debt; and Mortgage loans with restructured terms. Underperforming Assets as a Percentage of Capital* Company Five-Year Average Guardian Life Insurance Company of America 0.7% 0.3% 0.4% 0.6% 0.9% 0.6% New York Life Insurance Company 1.0% 0.5% 0.4% State Farm Life Insurance Company 0.4% 1.2% 1.2% 1.0% Nationwide Life Insurance Company 2.0% 1.0% Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company 1.2% 1.2% 1.1% 1.2% Lincoln National Life Insurance Company 1.0% 0.5% 0.3% 1.3% Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1.1% 1.2% 2.5% 1.5% Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company 2.0% 1.5% 2.5% 1.5% 1.5% 2.1% Ohio National Life Insurance Company 3.0% 2.5% 1.4% 2.3% 4.0% 2.0% 3.2% 2.0% 3.4% 3.4% 2.5% AXA Equitable Life Insurance 3.3% John Hancock Life Insurance Company (USA) 4.0% 4.2% 4.1% 1.5% 3.3% What this means to you is * All information provided was obtained from each company s statutory statements.

10 Bond and Mortgage Statutory Credit Results: Why are they important to your buying decision? What this means to you is You want a company that their intended investment best interests top of mind. Bond and Mortgage Credit Loss Experience is important to your insurance buying decision. Bond and mortgage credit results are a good indicator of the company s risk management performance. A consumer should consider a company s investment and risk management results and this is one way to look at it. Good credit analysis and risk management can minimize the actual loss experience. When reviewing credit loss, you should balance the risk associated with the company s ability to achieve income results with its ability to minimize risk and historical credit losses. Statutory Investment Credit Gains/Losses* The credit loss is calculated with the following formula: Pre-Tax Bond/Preferred Stock Gain/(Loss) - Transfer to Interest Maintenance Reserve (IMR) + Pre-Tax Mortgage Loan Realized & Change in Unrealized Gain/(Loss) Average Invested Assets Company Year Total State Farm Life Insurance Company 0.00% Guardian Life Insurance Company of America Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company Company of America -0.03% -0.03% 0.00% -0.05% 0.04% 0.04% New York Life Insurance Company 0.00% Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Nationwide Life Insurance Company 0.00% Ohio National Life Insurance Company 0.15% Lincoln National Life Insurance AXA Equitable Life Insurance Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company John Hancock Life Insurance Company (USA) 0.33%

11 Investment Environment: How does market performance impact your buying decision? carefully about what you want your policy to do for you If you are not comfortable with market fluctuations, then understanding a company s investment philosophy and historical experience is extremely important. You may want to consider doing business with a company that: Is defensively positioned to withstand market swings; Is relatively conservative in taking insurance premium dollars and investing in a strong, well-diversified portfolio; Is known for thorough due diligence and an independent research process; Avoids risky investments; and Executes a risk management plan to protect capital in volatile financial markets. This philosophy lends itself to building and maintaining the kind of strong capital and liquidity needed to pay death claims.

12 Ratings: What are they and why are they important? As you have seen, there are many financial facts to evaluate when choosing a solid life insurance company. Because this is a time-consuming task, even for professionals, many years ago independent rating services were developed to evaluate the latest strength and stability of virtually all insurers. These rating services are impartial in their evaluations and provide a common ground for valid comparisons. There are four major rating agencies that evaluate and publish ratings for life insurance companies: For each insurance company being rated, each agency evaluates the firm s financial statements, interviews their management, and subsequently develops ratings based upon statistical models and certain qualitative measures. The cumulative result is a relative ranking of all the insurance companies that they have evaluated. The benefit of having several companies produce their own ratings is that overall, there is less chance of something being missed or overlooked. Illustrating this point is a table called the Comdex Rankings. Comdex is not a rating, but a composite of all ratings that a company has received. Comdex percentile ranks the companies, on a scale of 1 to 100 (with 100 being the best). For perspective, experts who write about the insurance industry will tell you that a Comdex of 95 or higher is considered an extremely safe company, 90 represents a safe company and a ranking of 85 indicates a reasonably safe company.* Contact your Guardian representative to review rating reports and narratives from the major rating agencies. What this means to you is and foundation of their company s values. Life Insurance as an Asset Class: Managing a Valuable Asset. 10

13 Comdex Rankings as of July 2014* Company A.M. Best Company S&P Moody s Fitch Comdex New York Life Insurance Company A++ AA+ Aaa AAA 100 Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company A++ AA+ Aaa AAA 100 Guardian Life Insurance Company of America A++ AA+ Aa2 AA+ 98 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company A++ AA+ Aa2 AA+ State Farm Life Insurance Company A++ AA Aa1 AA+ Metropolitan Life Insurance Company A+ Aa3 John Hancock Life Insurance Company (USA) A+ A1 Ohio National Life Insurance Company A+ A1 AXA Equitable Life Insurance A+ A+ Aa3 Lincoln National Life Insurance Company A+ A1 A+ A+ A+ A1 A+ A1 A+ Nationwide Life Insurance Company A+ A+ A1 A+ A+ A1 A+ What this means to you is between extremely safe versus safe. ** Life Insurance as an Asset Class: Managing a Valuable Asset. 11

14 Choose GUARDIAN What this means to you is These are the results that a life insurance company. Guardian s track record is consistent with the statements we have made. When you choose Guardian, there s less need to worry. Because as a mutual company, our decisions are measured Now that you have the tools to evaluate the strength, stability, and performance of a life insurer, let s see how Guardian stacks up. Since our founding in 1860, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, as a mutual company, has been able to manage for the long term, allowing us to avoid risky business practices in the pursuit of short-term profits. Striking the right balance between managing risk and generating healthy long-term returns is one of our highest priorities and a practice that paid off very well in Guardian has staying power. When you compare the key financial strength indicators across companies, Guardian is on top: Top Tier Comdex Ranking: 98 Top 2% in insurance company ratings and rankings* Best-in-class Capitalization Ratio over 5 years: 15.5% 2013 Financial Highlights** As of December 31, 2013 (in millions) Net Investment Income Total Revenues Gain from Operations Before Taxes and Realized Losses $355 Net Income Total Invested Assets Total Admitted Assets Total Surplus $5,012 12

15 Guardian s Key 2013 Accomplishments Declared, in November 2013, a 2014 dividend payout* of $776 million to our policyholders among one of the largest declared dividends in Guardian s history. In 2013, paid $4.9 billion** in total benefits to policyholders, demonstrating our ability to continuously operate for the benefit of policyholders. All four major crediting rating agencies affirmed our already strong ratings. Continued to maintain a highly diversified, high-quality investment portfolio of more than $37 billion. Increased life insurance in force to $307 billion, reflecting our overall business growth $6, $5, $5, $5, $4,920 CAPITAL Results in $ millions 2013 $1, $1, $1, $1, $1,015 to ensure we are here for our clients for not only today, but in the years ahead. STATUTORY 2008 PRE-TAX OPERATING INCOME BEFORE DIVIDENDS (on a consolidated basis) Results in $ millions 2013 $ $ $ $ $712 WHOLE LIFE DIVIDENDS DECLARED Results in $ millions ** On a consolidated basis. 13

16 Guardian s Investment Philosophy: What is it and why should you consider it? In 2013, the majority of Guardian s total investment portfolio was comprised private placement debt and The portfolio continued to perform well in an attractive and consistent dividend to our policyholders. Our investment objectives are clear and focused, and remain as they have been for many years. We start with sound asset allocation and diversification strategies. Guardian s portfolio managers employ a disciplined investment decision-making process, which is based on proprietary research and analysis, rather than being overly reliant on ratings agencies or quantitative risk models. Additionally, our asset liability investment management process carefully integrates asset maturities with prudent funding of insurance liabilities. Despite market volatility in recent years, Guardian s investment team successfully managed the economic crisis, delivering strong investment performance and results. 4.5% 3.8% 3.7% 1.2% Why did Guardian s investment portfolio perform so well in 2013? 7.5% 8.2% 16.7% 54.4% The ongoing success of our investment strategy is a result of active portfolio and risk-management practices, executed by an experienced team of professionals who have worked through previous periods of market turbulence. They thoroughly and independently research every decision, while keeping a close watch on macroeconomic, political, and competitive developments. 54.4% Fixed Income (ex Private) 16.7% Private Placement Debt 8.2% Policy Loans 7.5% Commercial Mortgages 4.5% 3.8% 3.7% Convertible Securities 1.2% Guardian s investment risk management has been and continues to be principally focused on managing and mitigating potential capital losses by actively managing credit risk, executing hedging strategies that protect capital and constructing well-diversified portfolios that reduce correlated risk. We remain diligent about assessing emerging risks and stress-testing the portfolio to better understand how to mitigate risks as well as the possibility that interest rates could either remain exceptionally low for an extended period or rise more sharply than anticipated. We expect continued market volatility and are positioning our portfolio to deal with a wide range of contingencies. 14

17 Statutory Basis Balance Sheets Statutory Basis Statements of Operations As of December 31 (in millions) * For the year ended December 31 (in millions) * ADMITTED ASSETS REVENUES Bonds $27,380 preferred stocks 634 1,016 2,383 1,425 3,104 3,000 Receivable for securities and other invested assets TOTAL INVESTED ASSETS 37,711 Due and accrued investment income Net deferred tax asset 706 2,196 0 Other assets 183 TOTAL ADMITTED ASSETS $42,066 LIABILITIES AND SURPLUS 32,685 other contract liabilities 1,970 Interest maintenance reserve Asset valuation reserve 686 Amounts due to brokers and other liabilities 1,326 TOTAL LIABILITIES 37,054 4,616 Surplus note 396 TOTAL LIABILITIES AND SURPLUS $42,066 and fund deposits $8,734 Net investment income 1,765 Other income TOTAL REVENUE 10,906 BENEFITS AND EXPENSES reserves expenses TOTAL BENEFITS AND EXPENSES Gain from operations before policyholder dividends and taxes 3,659 3,333 4,051 2,071 9,781 1,125 (770) Gain from operations before taxes and realized losses 355 Income tax expense (135) Income from operations before net realized capital losses NET INCOME $286 $253 statements of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America have been upon request. 15

18 Guardian s Life Insurance Product Offerings: What life insurance products does Guardian offer and how will they help you? Individual insurance plays an integral role in helping families and business owners fulfill their lives, not only by removing some of the unknown, but also by providing tax-smart wealth transfer opportunities.* Guardian s wide range of life insurance options including whole life, universal life, variable universal life and term life insurance help meet these objectives. The distinguishing difference between these types of insurance is the amount of market exposure (variable universal life having the most) and the price (term being the least expensive in the short term). We also offer products specifically for small business owners to help attract and retain top talent through sophisticated corporate-owned policies. Guardian s financial strength. First, whole life insurance offers a death benefit guaranteed and guaranteed cash value that can be borrowed against to pay for expenses such as retirement or health care. ** Second, as a mutual company, Guardian is focused on long-term results for the benefit of its participating whole life policyholders, which are delivered in the form of dividends. Our payout of $776 million to the owners of these whole life policies in 2014 is evidence of Guardian s commitment to provide the greatest amount of insurance for the lowest long-term cost, with the greatest amount of financial strength. *** Not-so-Trivial Trivia about Guardian For 2014, Guardian declared a dividend payout of $776 million based on 2013 Company performance. This amount was among one of the highest payouts in the Company s history. The Company has paid a dividend to its policyholders since 1868 through good times and bad, including two World Wars, the Great Depression, the Great Recession and years of market volatility. Guardian was one of a handful of life insurance companies to have been respectively), and our ratings have been reaffirmed over the last 5 years. Our claims-paying ability has not been impaired by the market downturn. * ** ***

19 YOUR GUARDIAN REPRESENTATIVE CAN TELL YOU MORE But there s more to a company than just the numbers. these attributes for over 150 years, which explains why we have become one of America s top life insurers. Most View Guardian s most recent Annual Report at: Your Guardian representative can provide much more information about why you should choose Guardian. And facts, you ll feel more confident about your decision than ever. If you don t have a representative, contact us at:

20 The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

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