This page answers Frequently Asked Questions about White Mountains. Click on your question or simply scroll down. If your question is not answered here, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I receive more information on White Mountains?
How can I be alerted to the latest news about White Mountains?
What is the Company's basic operating philosophy?
What are the Company's performance goals?
What is the Company's overall strategy?
What emphasis does the Company place on growth?
a. How can I receive more information on White Mountains?
Please visit our Financials section for our annual and quarterly SEC Filings, Proxy Statements, Management Reports, Earning Releases and other reports on White Mountains; or contact our Corporate Secretary for further information at:
If you would like to request copies of this information to be delivered by mail, please fill out our Materials Request form.
b. How can I be alerted to the latest news about White Mountains?
You may sign up for our E-mail Alerts so you will never miss our most current investor and company news.
Or you can contact our Corporate Secretary and request placement on our fax distribution list at:
White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd.
80 South Main Street
Hanover, New Hampshire 03755
c. What is the Company's basic operating philosophy?
White Mountains focuses on four business principles that really haven't changed much since our IPO in 1985. Simply stated, these principles are:
- Underwriting Comes First
An insurance enterprise must respect the fundamentals of insurance. There must be a realistic expectation of underwriting profit on all business written, and a demonstrated fulfillment of that expectation over time with focused attention to the loss ratio and to all the professional insurance disciplines of pricing, underwriting and claims management.
- Maintain a Disciplined Balance Sheet
The first concern here is that insurance liabilities must always be fully recognized. Loss reserves and expense reserves must be solid before any other aspect of the business can be solid. Pricing, marketing, and underwriting all depend on informed judgment of ultimate loss costs and that can be managed effectively only with a disciplined balance sheet.
- Invest for Total Return
Historical insurance accounting has tended to hide unrealized gains and losses in the investment portfolio and over reward reported investment income (interest and dividends.) Regardless of the accounting, the group must invest for the best growth in value over time. In addition to investing our bond portfolio for total after-tax return, that will mean prudent investment in equities consistent with leverage and insurance risk considerations.
- Think Like Owners
Thinking like owners has a value all its own. There are other stakeholders in a business enterprise and doing good work requires more than this quarter's profit. But thinking like an owner embraces all that without losing the touchstone of a capitalist enterprise.
d. What are the Company's performance goals?
The Company's goal is to become a premier group of property and casualty insurance and reinsurance underwriters which, with prudent operating and financial leverage, produces for its owners a long-term return equal to 700 basis points over the ten-year treasury after corporate tax. Each member of the group will be well managed in its own right, and each underwriting-driven using its own strategy. White Mountains functions as an intelligent owner and capital provider and allocator.
e. What is the Company's overall strategy?
Jack Byrne, our former Chairman, has often said "We have never made a strategic purchase … maybe we will someday. We often sell to strategic buyers. Our problem is we really don't have much of a strategy other than to increase intrinsic business value per share."
f. What emphasis does the Company place on growth?
Growth is a concept that is often introduced by business consultants. In the Company's experience chasing market share has produced the biggest disasters in the insurance business. Equally risky is rewarding executives on premium growth. The Company focuses on its profitability rather than growth and has often profited from the fine opportunities that arise as a result of a competitor's quest for growth.