There are many ways a company can offer protection. One of the ways we protect our members, our partners and our business is through the diverse range of products we offer. While this helps us better meet members’ needs, it also helps us protect the strength and stability of our business over the long term. When certain product lines are pressured by significant losses or challenging market conditions, we can offset those challenges through profitable growth in other areas.
During the past few years, our industry faced significant weather-related losses and profitability challenges in standard auto. We’ve made steady progress in addressing loss trends in standard auto, while at the same time profitably growing and investing in other parts of our business, such as financial services and innovation. By having the breadth of solutions that we do, we’ve been able to drive strong results even during difficult times.
In 2019, we delivered profitable growth across all areas of our business: financial services, commercial lines and personal lines. In total, we drove $49 billion in sales and $2 billion in net operating income. Many of our product lines delivered year-over-year growth, including annuities, retirement plans, life, excess and surplus, farm and commercial agribusiness. We provided protection for those things that matter most to our members — their possessions, their businesses and their futures.
We were also there to protect our members when they needed us. In 2019, there were 60 catastrophic events across the U.S. that impacted our policyholders, resulting in more than 64,000 claims. Nationwide paid $17 billion in claims and other benefits to members during the year.
Moving forward, we continue to invest in designing and developing solutions that create value and make it easier to do business with us. We’re excited about the future and the plans we have in place to help us protect our members and partners in new and innovative ways.