After a truly unique and challenging 2020, it is easy to think of 2021 as something more pedestrian. But as I sit here and think about last year in its entirety, I'm quickly reminded how 2021 was also one of the most unusual in my career—both from a personal and professional perspective.
Over the course of 2021, the pandemic dominated nearly every aspect of our lives. Just about anyone who wanted a COVID vaccine in this country was able to get one. Many had two or three doses! But multiple COVID variants still moved quickly throughout our communities and continued to affect the way we lived, worked, and played.
Our global supply chain—something that is often nearly invisible to most people—became a regular conversational topic and inflation began to rear its head for the first time in recent memory. By the end of 2021, the economy seemed to be a little unsure of where it was going. And the insurance market in California was also just beginning to show some signs of uncertainty.
Of course, uncertain times—like those we have seen the last two years—are when State Fund's role in the marketplace becomes crystal clear. We are the only workers' compensation carrier that is absolutely committed to California. No matter what happens over the next year, 5 years, 10, 20, 50, or 100 years—we will be here for the business owners and injured workers who need us.
How do we ensure we are here for the long term? While there are many factors, the single most important is our financial strength. In fact, our current financial position is the primary reason that, when we realized significant capital gains toward the end of 2021, we were able to commit to returning approximately $55 million to our policyholders in the form of a dividend for the 2021 policy year. This is the third year in a row we have been able to return money to our policyholders and we are very pleased to support California businesses, and the broader California economy, in this way.