Penn Mutual’s Vision for 2015 and Beyond

Eileen C. McDonnell

By Eileen C. McDonnell | January 6, 2015

Since the onset of the Digital Age, our society has redefined how we live, work and connect with each other. It has also redefined where we place value — and we, as a company, must respond.

We recently held a company-wide meeting with our associates to review our accomplishments for the past five years and lay out our plans for 2015. We held the meeting off-site at a local movie theater, with everything shown full-screen, stadium seating and surround sound. We even had popcorn, soda and other movie food. It was a high-energy event, and not just because of the setting and the candy. Penn Mutual has accomplished a lot over the last five years, but we have only just begun!

In 2010 we introduced our strategy to our associates, focused on the five things we will be known for in 2020. Since that time, we have embedded our values and guiding principles into what we do every day.

We’re proud of our record of growth over the past five years. We are now outpacing the industry. Our new life sales have grown at an accelerated pace. In fact, the results that took us 10 years to accomplish from 2000 to 2009, took only five years to accomplish from 2010 to 2014. Penn Mutual’s market share has increased, thanks to our sustained growth in life and annuity sales. We continue to attract new and experienced advisors, growing the number of advisors over 50 percent since 2009. Our broker-dealer, Hornor, Townsend & Kent (HTK), has steadily increased its assets under management. Our earnings are strong and our financial strength remains our hallmark.

Numbers aside, I continually hear stories from inside and outside Penn Mutual that reaffirm that our strategy is working. People are saying that they’ve never seen a company quite as focused as Penn Mutual, and I agree!

We were fortunate that this has been a favorable environment for mutual companies. The “flight to quality” by advisors and their clients that began during the financial crisis certainly aided our results. Of course, what got us to where we are today won’t be enough to sustain us over the next five years. Our competitors are financially stronger today than they were five years ago, but like us, they face headwinds — a shrinking producer population, persistent low interest rates and market volatility, rapid changes in technology, and a more diverse population. These factors, among others, will impact what our industry looks like in the very near future.

Penn Mutual’s vision for growth builds upon our strong legacy:

Commitment to mutuality. Over the past 20 years, many mutual insurance companies gave into the siren song and became stock companies. We understand the value that being a mutual insurance company brings to our policyholders, our producers, our associates and our company.

Leader in life insurance. We also believe in the complete value of life insurance, not only as a means of protection, but also as a way to build cash value to achieve life’s possibilities and make an impact on future generations. We have worked hard to build a broad and deep portfolio of life insurance products that meet every need, and we plan to continue that leadership.

Delivering the Producer Value Commitment. We are a producer brand, and we are committed to helping our producers grow their practices through the nine diamonds of our unique PVC.

Growing distribution capabilities. We will continue to expand our network of producers, both career and independent.

Achieving broader diversity across stakeholders. Our industry has not kept up with the growing diversity of the U.S. population and of the work force. We need to grow our company in a way that is reflective of what our country’s population looks like.

Growing our presence in underserved markets. Too many people in the U.S. do not have life insurance, or are underinsured, and we have an opportunity to make a difference in their lives.

Expanding our brand recognition. We will always be a producer brand, but we want to build up our brand recognition among the general public. Initiatives such as our sponsorship of The Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship will put the Penn Mutual brand in front of a much wider audience.

Penn Mutual is well positioned to achieve our goals. We offer a competitive product portfolio, and we have strong distribution channels. The HTK platform has been completely modernized, and we have invested heavily in our technology. We have best-in-class illustrations, statements and policyholder correspondence. The LEAP selling system continues to have a positive impact on our sales of whole life. Most importantly, we have a strong company culture.

As I told our associates at our recent meeting, I’m very confident that in the years to come, Penn Mutual will be a company that is irresistible to do business with. It can be done, and I invite you to get to know us better and see how we’re making it happen.

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