In many ways, we are in the business of trust. Our policyholders trust that we'll provide the financial protection they need when illness, injury or the death of a loved one occurs. And our shareholders trust that we'll deliver attractive returns on their investment. That's why we work so hard to maintain a solid financial foundation.

At the heart of our efforts is an unwavering commitment to effective risk management. Here at Unum, we believe that risk management is everyone's responsibility. After all, we're in the business of managing risk for others and we apply the same rigorous standards to our own operations.

Although we constantly refine our plans to meet changing business needs and financial market realities, what doesn't change is our long-term perspective. We've been around for 165 years, and we know that policyholders count on us to be there for them 20, 30 and 40 years from now, so we must manage our resources well.

Managing our resources starts with maintaining a strong investment portfolio, balance sheet and capital position. With more than $50 billion under active management, our investment portfolio is designed to match the long-term nature of our business, and has enabled us to continue building on our strong capital position. The high quality of our investments means we have a significantly lower default experience than the market average and low exposure to problem areas like the Euro Zone.

Our continued outstanding operating performance and the strength of our investment portfolio and capital position not only support our business and growth needs, but create the opportunity to return excess capital to shareholders through dividend increases and share buybacks.

In 2012, we repurchased $500 million of stock, bringing to $2.2 billion the value of share repurchases we have made over the last five years. We've also increased dividends annually since 2008, including a 24 percent increase last year.

Rating agencies have taken notice. Upgrades in our financial strength ratings from Moody's and Standard & Poor's in 2012 were just the latest in a string of positive actions. We also received ratings upgrades from Fitch in 2010 and from A.M. Best in 2011, in recognition of our favorable operating results, strong capitalization, and our success in navigating a challenging economic environment.

Our commitment to prudent financial stewardship makes it possible for us to be there now and in the future for policyholders, shareholders and all of our constituents.