As independent Lead Director of Travelers, I am privileged to serve a company that helps our customers achieve their personal and business goals by protecting the things that matter most to them. I am also proud to oversee a management team that takes an integrated approach to sustained value creation.
As a Board, we have a responsibility – just as management does – to act as stewards of our shareholders’ capital by creating shareholder value over time. We have long recognized that, to succeed in this mission, we must take care of our customers, communities and employees – or, as we refer to it, fulfill the Travelers Promise. We do not see our mission of creating shareholder value as separate and apart from our need to uphold the Travelers Promise. In fact, Travelers’ success for over 160 years is owed, in large part, to upholding that Promise.
Our Board takes a holistic approach to its oversight responsibilities with the goal of ensuring that the decisions Travelers makes today maximize its long-term sustainability. In this regard, we work closely with Travelers’ leadership to provide oversight of the company’s business and financial strategy and operations, which are inextricably linked with the Travelers Promise.
In addition to overseeing capital allocation, investment management, enterprise risk management and other business topics traditionally overseen by boards, the Board also meets regularly with senior Travelers leaders to review strategic plans and initiatives related to a broad variety of business-relevant risks and opportunities. These include, for example, risks and opportunities related to changing climate conditions, data privacy and cybersecurity, ethics and compliance, human capital management, diversity and inclusion and community relations, to name just a few. Recognizing the importance of a strong company culture, our discussions include a focus on how the company is fostering a culture of candor and respect at every level of the organization.
This last year, for example, as we have done in the past, the Risk Committee and the Board met regularly with leaders throughout the organization, including the Chief Risk Officer, the Chief Underwriting Officer and the SVP for Catastrophe Risk Management, to discuss catastrophe risks, including weather volatility and changing climate conditions. Among other things, these discussions focused on Travelers’ underwriting risk management approach in light of catastrophe volatility (particularly as it relates to wildfires), the potential impact to Travelers and its customers of climate-related perils and strategies for mitigating climate-related risks.
Technology and cybersecurity risks have also been top of mind for the Board and for me, as Chair of the Risk Committee. The Risk Committee and the Board meet regularly with the Chief Technology and Operations Officer and the Chief Information Security Officer to review evolving cyber risks and their impact on our company, our cyber products and our customers. In addition, as part of a larger strategic planning session, over the past year we reviewed strategies to ensure that Travelers’ technology remains a strong foundation to support innovation in our businesses and drive improvements in our customer experience.
We recognize that given the pace of change in today’s world, our business will continue to face new and evolving challenges. As a Board, we will continue to examine each issue with the attention and thoughtfulness it deserves, with the overarching goal of ensuring Travelers’ ability to create shareholder value over time. We feel confident that this approach will enable Travelers to continue to perform today and transform for tomorrow.
On behalf of Travelers’ Board, I look forward to continuing to serve the interests of our shareholders and other stakeholders. In the meantime, I encourage you to read more about Travelers’ holistic approach to sustained value creation on this site.
Todd C. Schermerhorn, Lead Director