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L > SEC Filings for L > Form 10-K on 24-Feb-2014All Recent SEC Filings

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Form 10-K for LOEWS CORP


24-Feb-2014

Annual Report


Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

Management's discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations is comprised of the following sections:

Page No.

Overview
Consolidated Financial Results 51 Parent Company Structure 52 Critical Accounting Estimates 52 Results of Operations by Business Segment 55 CNA Financial 55 Diamond Offshore 68 Boardwalk Pipeline 75 HighMount 78 Loews Hotels 82 Corporate and Other 84 Liquidity and Capital Resources 85 CNA Financial 85 Diamond Offshore 86 Boardwalk Pipeline 88 HighMount 89 Loews Hotels 89 Corporate and Other 89 Contractual Obligations 90 Investments 90 Forward-Looking Statements 95


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OVERVIEW

We are a holding company. Our subsidiaries are engaged in the following lines of business:

- commercial property and casualty insurance (CNA Financial Corporation ("CNA"), a 90% owned subsidiary);

- operation of offshore oil and gas drilling rigs (Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. ("Diamond Offshore"), a 50.4% owned subsidiary);

- transportation and storage of natural gas and natural gas liquids and gathering and processing of natural gas (Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP ("Boardwalk Pipeline"), a 53% owned subsidiary);

- exploration, production and marketing of natural gas and oil (including condensate and natural gas liquids), (HighMount Exploration & Production LLC ("HighMount"), a wholly owned subsidiary); and

- operation of a chain of hotels (Loews Hotels Holding Corporation ("Loews Hotels"), a wholly owned subsidiary).

Unless the context otherwise requires, references in this Report to "Loews Corporation," "the Company," "Parent Company," "we," "our," "us" or like terms refer to the business of Loews Corporation excluding its subsidiaries.

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with Item 1A, Risk Factors, and Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this Form 10-K.

Consolidated Financial Results

Consolidated net income for the year ended December 31, 2013 was $595 million, or $1.53 per share, compared to $568 million, or $1.43 per share, in 2012.

Results for the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012 include the following significant items (after tax and noncontrolling interests):

- a ceiling test impairment charge at HighMount related to the carrying value of its natural gas and oil properties of $186 million in 2013 and $433 million in 2012;

- goodwill impairment charges of $398 million in 2013 primarily related to HighMount reflecting the continued low market prices for natural gas and natural gas liquids and recent history of negative reserve revisions; and

- a $111 million charge in 2013 related to CNA's retroactive reinsurance agreement to cede its legacy asbestos and environmental pollution liabilities to National Indemnity, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. ("Loss Portfolio Transfer" or "LPT"). Under retroactive reinsurance accounting, amounts ceded through the LPT in excess of the consideration paid result in a deferred gain that is recognized in income over future periods. During the fourth quarter of 2013, the cumulative amounts ceded under the LPT exceeded the consideration paid, resulting in the recognition of an accounting loss.

Income before ceiling test and goodwill impairment charges, the impact of the LPT charge and net investment gains was $1.3 billion in 2013 as compared to $968 million in 2012. This increase is primarily due to higher earnings at CNA and increased investment income at the Parent Company due to improved performance of equities and limited partnership investments. These increases were partially offset by lower earnings at Diamond Offshore.

CNA's earnings increased primarily from improved non-catastrophe current accident year underwriting results, higher investment income and lower catastrophe losses. These increases were partially offset by a lower level of favorable net prior year development in 2013 as compared to 2012. The prior year catastrophe losses included $171 million (after tax and noncontrolling interests) related to Storm Sandy.


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Diamond Offshore's earnings decreased primarily due to lower utilization including downtime for scheduled surveys and shipyard projects and a $27 million charge (after noncontrolling interests) for an uncertain tax position related to Egyptian operations. In addition, Diamond Offshore's earnings in 2012 included a gain of $32 million (after tax and noncontrolling interests) from the sale of six jack-up rigs.

Book value per share increased to $50.25 at December 31, 2013 from $49.67 at December 31, 2012. Book value per share excluding Accumulated other comprehensive income ("AOCI") increased to $49.38 at December 31, 2013 from $47.94 at December 31, 2012.

Parent Company Structure

We are a holding company and derive substantially all of our cash flow from our subsidiaries. We rely upon our invested cash balances and distributions from our subsidiaries to generate the funds necessary to meet our obligations and to declare and pay any dividends to our shareholders. The ability of our subsidiaries to pay dividends is subject to, among other things, the availability of sufficient earnings and funds in such subsidiaries, applicable state laws, including in the case of the insurance subsidiaries of CNA, laws and rules governing the payment of dividends by regulated insurance companies (see Note 14 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8) and compliance with covenants in their respective loan agreements. Claims of creditors of our subsidiaries will generally have priority as to the assets of such subsidiaries over our claims and those of our creditors and shareholders.

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES

The preparation of the Consolidated Financial Statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America ("GAAP") requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the Consolidated Financial Statements and the related notes. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

The Consolidated Financial Statements and accompanying notes have been prepared in accordance with GAAP, applied on a consistent basis. We continually evaluate the accounting policies and estimates used to prepare the Consolidated Financial Statements. In general, our estimates are based on historical experience, evaluation of current trends, information from third party professionals and various other assumptions that we believe are reasonable under the known facts and circumstances.

We consider the accounting policies discussed below to be critical to an understanding of our Consolidated Financial Statements as their application places the most significant demands on our judgment. Due to the inherent uncertainties involved with these types of judgments, actual results could differ significantly from estimates, which may have a material adverse impact on our results of operations or equity.

Insurance Reserves

Insurance reserves are established for both short and long-duration insurance contracts. Short-duration contracts are primarily related to property and casualty insurance policies where the reserving process is based on actuarial estimates of the amount of loss, including amounts for known and unknown claims. Long-duration contracts include long term care products and payout annuity contracts and are estimated using actuarial estimates about mortality, morbidity and persistency as well as assumptions about expected investment returns. The reserve for unearned premiums on property and casualty contracts represents the portion of premiums written related to the unexpired terms of coverage. The reserving process is discussed in further detail in the Reserves - Estimates and Uncertainties section below.

Reinsurance and Other Receivables

An exposure exists with respect to the collectibility of ceded property and casualty and life reinsurance to the extent that any reinsurer is unable to meet its obligations or disputes the liabilities CNA has ceded under reinsurance agreements. An allowance for doubtful accounts on reinsurance receivables is recorded on the basis of periodic evaluations of balances due from reinsurers, reinsurer solvency, CNA's past experience and current economic


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conditions. Further information on CNA's reinsurance receivables is included in Note 17 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8.

Additionally, an exposure exists with respect to the collectibility of amounts due from customers on other receivables. An allowance for doubtful accounts is recorded on the basis of periodic evaluations of balances due currently or in the future, management's experience and current economic conditions.

If actual experience differs from the estimates made by management in determining the allowances for doubtful accounts on reinsurance and other receivables, net receivables as reflected on our Consolidated Balance Sheets may not be collected. Therefore, our results of operations and/or equity could be materially adversely impacted.

Litigation

We and our subsidiaries are involved in various legal proceedings that have arisen during the ordinary course of business. We evaluate the facts and circumstances of each situation, and when management determines it necessary, a liability is estimated and recorded. Please read Note 19 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8.

Valuation of Investments and Impairment of Securities

We classify fixed maturity securities and equity securities as either available-for-sale or trading which are both carried at fair value. Fair value represents the price that would be received in a sale of an asset in an orderly transaction between market participants on the measurement date, the determination of which requires us to make a significant number of assumptions and judgments. Securities with the greatest level of subjectivity around valuation are those that rely on inputs that are significant to the estimated fair value and that are not observable in the market or cannot be derived principally from or corroborated by observable market data. These unobservable inputs are based on assumptions consistent with what we believe other market participants would use to price such securities. Further information on fair value measurements is included in Note 4 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8.

CNA's investment portfolio is subject to market declines below amortized cost that may be other-than-temporary and therefore result in the recognition of impairment losses in earnings. Factors considered in the determination of whether or not a decline is other-than-temporary include a current intention or need to sell the security or an indication that a credit loss exists. Significant judgment exists regarding the evaluation of the financial condition and expected near-term and long term prospects of the issuer, the relevant industry conditions and trends, and whether CNA expects to receive cash flows sufficient to recover the entire amortized cost basis of the security. CNA has an Impairment Committee which reviews the investment portfolio on at least a quarterly basis, with ongoing analysis as new information becomes available. Further information on CNA's process for evaluating impairments is included in Note 1 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8.

Long Term Care Products and Payout Annuity Contracts

Future policy benefit reserves for CNA's life and group products are based on certain assumptions including morbidity, mortality, policy persistency and discount rates. The adequacy of the reserves is contingent on actual experience related to these key assumptions, which were generally established at time of issue. If actual experience differs from these assumptions, the reserves may not be adequate, requiring CNA to add to reserves.

A prolonged period during which interest rates remain at levels lower than those anticipated in CNA's reserving discount rate assumption could result in shortfalls in investment income on assets supporting CNA's obligations under long term care policies and payout annuity contracts, which may also require changes to CNA's reserves.

These changes to CNA's reserves could materially adversely impact our results of operations and equity. The reserving process is discussed in further detail in the Reserves - Estimates and Uncertainties section below.


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Pension and Postretirement Benefit Obligations

We make a significant number of assumptions in order to estimate the liabilities and costs related to our pension and postretirement benefit obligations under our benefit plans. The assumptions that have the most impact on pension costs are the discount rate and the expected long term rate of return on plan assets. These assumptions are evaluated relative to current market factors such as inflation, interest rates and fiscal and monetary policies. Changes in these assumptions can have a material impact on pension obligations and pension expense.

In determining the discount rate assumption, we utilized current market information and liability information, including a discounted cash flow analysis of our pension and postretirement obligations. In particular, the basis for our discount rate selection was the yield on indices of highly rated fixed income debt securities with durations comparable to that of our plan liabilities. The yield curve was applied to expected future retirement plan payments to adjust the discount rate to reflect the cash flow characteristics of the plans. The yield curves and indices evaluated in the selection of the discount rate are comprised of high quality corporate bonds that are rated AA by an accepted rating agency.

Further information on our pension and postretirement benefit obligations is included in Note 16 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8.

Valuation of HighMount's Proved Reserves

HighMount follows the full cost method of accounting for natural gas and oil exploration and production activities. Under the full cost method, all direct costs of property acquisition, exploration and development activities are capitalized and subsequently depleted using the units-of-production method. The depletable base of costs includes estimated future costs to be incurred in developing proved natural gas and oil reserves, as well as capitalized asset retirement costs, net of projected salvage values. Capitalized costs in the depletable base are subject to a ceiling test. The test limits capitalized amounts to a ceiling, the present value of estimated future net revenues to be derived from the production of proved natural gas and oil reserves, using calculated average prices adjusted for any cash flow hedges in place. If net capitalized costs exceed the ceiling test at the end of any quarterly period, then a write-down of the assets must be recognized in that period. A write-down may not be reversed in future periods, even though higher natural gas and oil prices may subsequently increase the ceiling. For the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012, HighMount recognized impairment charges of $291 million and $680 million ($186 million and $433 million after tax) related to the carrying value of natural gas and oil properties, as discussed further in Note 7 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8. In addition, gains or losses on the sale or other disposition of natural gas and oil properties are not recognized unless the gain or loss would significantly alter the relationship between capitalized costs and proved reserves.

HighMount's estimate of proved reserves requires a high degree of judgment and is dependent on factors such as historical data, engineering estimates of proved reserve quantities, estimates of the amount and timing of future expenditures to develop the proved reserves, and estimates of future production from the proved reserves. HighMount's estimated proved reserves are based upon studies for each of its properties prepared by HighMount staff engineers. Calculations were prepared using standard geological and engineering methods generally accepted by the petroleum industry and in accordance with SEC guidelines. Determination of proved reserves is based on, among other things, (i) a pricing mechanism for oil and gas reserves which uses an average 12-month price; (ii) a limitation on the classification of reserves as proved undeveloped to locations scheduled to be drilled within five years; and (iii) a 10% discount factor used in calculating discounted future net cash flows.

The process to estimate reserves is imprecise, and estimates are subject to revision. If there is a significant variance in any of HighMount's estimates or assumptions in the future and revisions to the value of HighMount's proved reserves are necessary, related depletion expense and the calculation of the ceiling test would be affected and recognition of natural gas and oil property impairments could occur. Given the volatility of natural gas and oil prices, it is possible that HighMount's estimate of discounted future net cash flows from proved natural gas and oil reserves that is used to calculate the ceiling could materially change in the near term.


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Impairment of Long-Lived Assets

The Company reviews its long-lived assets for impairment when changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. The Company uses a probability-weighted cash flow analysis to test property and equipment for impairment based on relevant market data. If an asset is determined to be impaired, a loss is recognized to reduce the carrying amount to the fair value of the asset. Management's cash flow assumptions are an inherent part of our asset impairment evaluation and the use of different assumptions could produce results that differ from the reported amounts.

Goodwill

Goodwill is required to be evaluated on an annual basis and whenever, in management's judgment, there is a significant change in circumstances that would be considered a triggering event. Management must apply judgment in assessing qualitatively whether events or circumstances indicate that it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount. Factors such as a reporting unit's planned future operating results, long term growth outlook and industry and market conditions are considered. Judgment is also applied in determining the estimated fair value of reporting units' assets and liabilities for purposes of performing quantitative goodwill impairment tests. Management uses all available information to make these fair value determinations, including the present values of expected future cash flows using discount rates commensurate with the risks involved in the assets and observed market multiples.

A ceiling test impairment charge at HighMount is considered a triggering event that requires a goodwill impairment analysis. This analysis resulted in HighMount recording a goodwill impairment charge of $584 million ($382 million after tax), see the Results of Operations by Business Segment section of this MD&A and Note 8 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8 for additional information.

Income Taxes

Deferred income taxes are recognized for temporary differences between the financial statement and tax return bases of assets and liabilities. Any resulting future tax benefits are recognized to the extent that realization of such benefits is more likely than not, and a valuation allowance is established for any portion of a deferred tax asset that management believes may not be realized. The assessment of the need for a valuation allowance requires management to make estimates and assumptions about future earnings, reversal of existing temporary differences and available tax planning strategies. If actual experience differs from these estimates and assumptions, the recorded deferred tax asset may not be fully realized resulting in an increase to income tax expense in our results of operations. In addition, the ability to record deferred tax assets in the future could be limited resulting in a higher effective tax rate in that future period.

The Company has not established deferred tax liabilities for certain of its foreign earnings as it intends to indefinitely reinvest those earnings to finance foreign activities. However, if these earnings become subject to U.S. federal tax, any required provision could have a material impact on our financial results.

RESULTS OF OPERATIONS BY BUSINESS SEGMENT

Unless the context otherwise requires, references to net operating income
(loss), net realized investment results and net income (loss) reflect amounts attributable to Loews Corporation shareholders.

CNA Financial

On February 10, 2014, CNA entered into a definitive agreement to sell the majority of its run-off annuity and pension deposit business. Further information on the sale is included in Note 23 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8.


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Reserves - Estimates and Uncertainties

The level of reserves CNA maintains represents its best estimate, as of a particular point in time, of what the ultimate settlement and administration of claims will cost based on CNA's assessment of facts and circumstances known at that time. Reserves are not an exact calculation of liability but instead are complex estimates that CNA derives, generally utilizing a variety of actuarial reserve estimation techniques, from numerous assumptions and expectations about future events, both internal and external, many of which are highly uncertain. As noted below, CNA reviews its reserves for each segment of its business periodically and any such review could result in the need to increase reserves in amounts which could be material and could adversely impact its results of operations, equity, business and insurer financial strength and corporate debt ratings. Further information on reserves is provided in Note 9 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8.

Property and Casualty Claim and Claim Adjustment Expense Reserves

CNA maintains loss reserves to cover its estimated ultimate unpaid liability for claim and claim adjustment expenses, including the estimated cost of the claims adjudication process, for claims that have been reported but not yet settled (case reserves) and claims that have been incurred but not reported ("IBNR"). Claim and claim adjustment expense reserves are reflected as liabilities and are included on the Consolidated Balance Sheets under the heading "Insurance Reserves." Adjustments to prior year reserve estimates, if necessary, are reflected in results of operations in the period that the need for such adjustments is determined. The carried case and IBNR reserves as of each balance sheet date are provided in the discussion that follows and in Note 9 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8.

CNA is subject to the uncertain effects of emerging or potential claims and coverage issues that arise as industry practices and legal, judicial, social, economic and other environmental conditions change. These issues have had, and may continue to have, a negative effect on CNA's business by either extending coverage beyond the original underwriting intent or by increasing the number or size of claims. Examples of emerging or potential claims and coverage issues include:

- uncertainty in future medical costs in workers' compensation. In particular, medical cost inflation could be greater than expected due to new treatments, drugs and devices; increased health care utilization; and/or the future costs of health care facilities. In addition, the relationship between workers' compensation and government and private health care providers could change, potentially shifting costs to workers' compensation;

- increased uncertainty related to medical professional liability, medical products liability and workers' compensation coverages resulting from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act;

- significant class action litigation; and

- mass tort claims, including bodily injury claims related to benzene, lead, noise induced hearing loss, injuries from various medical products including pharmaceuticals and various other chemical and radiation exposure claims.

The impact of these and other unforeseen emerging or potential claims and coverage issues is difficult to predict and could materially adversely affect the adequacy of CNA's claim and claim adjustment expense reserves and could lead to future reserve additions.

CNA's property and casualty insurance subsidiaries also have actual and potential exposures related to asbestos and environmental pollution ("A&EP") claims. CNA's experience has been that establishing reserves for casualty coverages relating to A&EP claims and the related claim adjustment expenses are subject to uncertainties that are greater than those presented by other claims. Additionally, traditional actuarial methods and techniques employed to estimate the ultimate cost of claims for more traditional property and casualty exposures are less precise in estimating claim and claim adjustment reserves for A&EP. As a result, estimating the ultimate cost of both reported and unreported A&EP claims is subject to a higher degree of variability.


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To mitigate the risks posed by CNA's exposure to A&EP claims and claim adjustment expenses, as further discussed in Note 9 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8, on August 31, 2010, CNA completed a transaction with NICO, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., under which substantially all of CNA's legacy A&EP liabilities were ceded to NICO effective January 1, 2010 ("Loss Portfolio Transfer").

The Loss Portfolio Transfer is a retroactive reinsurance contract. During 2013 the cumulative amounts ceded under the Loss Portfolio Transfer exceeded the consideration paid, resulting in a $189 million deferred retroactive reinsurance gain. This deferred benefit will be recognized in earnings in future periods in proportion to actual recoveries under the Loss Portfolio Transfer. Over the life of the contract, there is no economic impact as long as any additional losses are within the limit under the contract.

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