Early consultation with the Membership through the Insurance Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors helped us develop a plan that would meet the key objectives of providing coverage for terrorist acts while facilitating the ongoing viability of the Company. By limiting the amount of resources that we could commit to cover terrorism in a 12-month period, we provided a measure of certainty to the Members and assurance of ongoing viability for the industry. The unanimity that this proposal received in the subsequent action by the Membership is testament to the effectiveness of the spirit of mutuality that exists within NEIL. Our advisory committees are a continuing valuable resource to NEIL and an important part of our mutuality.
An additional source of strength was our reinsurance program. At the beginning of the year we had renewed the existing reinsurance program for a further period of three years. This was designed to give us a period of stability following a catastrophic loss or other turmoil in the insurance markets, which is precisely what it did. We are grateful to our reinsurers for their commitment to our program, and we continue to value most highly our relationship with all our reinsurers.
For the second year in a row, we have experienced a negative return in our investment portfolio. However, the broad diversification that we employ in our investments helped to soften the blow somewhat. We continue to review our asset allocation and investment guidelines to ensure that we are maintaining an appropriate balance to provide for security of principal and the expectation of enhanced returns over a medium-term time horizon.
Through our Dublin subsidiary, ONEIL, we continue to make steady progress on the international front. With conventional insurers restricting coverage and increasing rates, there is a growing interest from international utilities in ONEILs products. ONEIL is well positioned to respond to this situation, and we look forward to an active dialogue with international utilities in the year ahead.
Since we opened an office in Dublin three years ago, Jeff Palmer has headed it. At the end of December, Jeff left the Emerald Isle to return to the United States. Jeff was the first employee we hired when we moved NEILs operations from Bermuda to Wilmington in 1988. Before moving to Dublin, he had served as the Companys Vice President of Finance and Administration. He is well regarded by everyone with whom he has worked, and he established a firm foundation for our international operations. We wish Jeff and his family every success in the years ahead.
We also marked the retirement of four Board members during the year. Michael Egan, Bob Murray, John Shaw and Larry Westbrook all have provided outstanding input to the Boards deliberations over a number of years. We wish them every success in the future.
This report would not be complete without recognizing the contribution of the Companys employees in Wilmington and Dublin. As every challenge has come along, they have responded magnificently. Their dedication and hard work combined with good humor and team spirit have contributed significantly to NEILs success over the last 12 months. We thank all employees for a job well done.