Prudential Financial, Inc.
Our overall expense ratio for 2001 decreased from 2000, as we incurred costs in 2000 to develop our distribution channels and benefited in 2001 from staff reductions and the favorable impact of the increased premium base.
The decrease in the accident year combined ratio resulted from the decline in the expense ratio. Recoveries from stop-loss reinsurance resulted in decreases in the accident year combined ratio of 4.3 percentage points in 2001 and
4.8 percentage points in 2000. 2000 to 1999 Annual Comparison.
Our automobile and total combined ratios, as shown in the table immediately
above, improved in 2000 from 1999 primarily as a result of the $80 million recovery from a stop-loss reinsurance contract during 2000 and the $15 million greater benefit from prior accident year reserve development. The decrease in the automobile loss ratio came primarily from our recovery from a stop-loss reinsurance contract as noted above, and the greater benefit from release of prior accident year reserves in 2000 as well as our efforts to limit loss severity, partially offset by a slight increase in claim frequency. The increase in the homeowners’ loss ratio primarily came from a 13% increase in claim severity, partially offset by a 9% decrease in claim frequency.
Our catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance, amounted to $45 million for 2000 compared to $51 million for 1999.
Losses that we ceded through reinsurance resulted in a decrease in the total combined ratio of 8.3 percentage points for 2000 and, as a result of changes in recoverable amounts previously recorded, an increase of 2.6 percentage points for 1999.
Our overall expense ratio for 2000 increased in comparison to 1999 mainly because of the impact of increased operating expenses as discussed above.
Employee Benefits Division The Employee Benefits division generates income from premiums, as well as fee-based revenues and spread income, through the Group Insurance and Other Employee Benefits segments. Premiums and investment income from group life and disability insurance, as well as fee-based revenues from products like group variable universal life insurance, are the primary sources of revenues for the Group Insurance segment. The Other Employee Benefits segment also receives premiums and investment income, as well as fee-based revenues. Products and services for defined contribution and defined benefit retirement plans, as well as real estate and relocation services, generate the major portion of the Other Employee Benefits segment’s fee-based revenues. We include these fee-based revenues in the line captioned “Commissions and other income” or “Policy charges and fee income” in our consolidated statements of operations.
We seek to earn spread income in our general account on various products, which is the difference between our return on the investments supporting the products net of expenses and the amounts we credit to our contractholders. These products primarily include the general account insurance group life and disability products of the Group Insurance segment as well as guaranteed investment contracts and certain group annuity products of the Other Employee Benefits segment. We include revenues from these products, other than premiums received from policyholders, primarily in the line captioned “Net investment income” in our consolidated statements of operations.
The Group Insurance and Other Employee Benefits segments pay the expenses of their own proprietary sales forces for distribution of products, and pay the Individual Life Insurance and Private Client Group segments within the U.S. Consumer division for distribution of their products through Prudential Agents and Financial Advisors. These segments also pay our Investment Management and Advisory Services segment for management of proprietary assets. These fees result in expenses to the segments of the Employee Benefits division and revenues to the Asset Management division. We reflect all of the intra-company services at rates that we determined with reference to market rates. The Other Employee Benefits segment also pays third-party managers for management of non- proprietary assets that support some of its defined contribution retirement products.
Division Results The following table and discussion present the Employee Benefits division’s results based on our definition of adjusted operating income, which is a non-GAAP measure, as well as income from continuing operations before income taxes, which is prepared in accordance with GAAP. As shown below, adjusted operating income excludes realized investment gains, net of losses and related charges. The excluded items are important to an understanding of our overall results of operations. You should not view adjusted operating income as a substitute for income from continuing operations determined in accordance with GAAP, and you should note that our definition of adjusted operating income may differ from that used by other companies. However, we believe that the presentation of adjusted operating income as we measure it for management purposes enhances the understanding of our results of