AP NEWS

Insurer W.R. Berkley posts consistent revenues

January 30, 2019

GREENWICH — Property-casualty insurer W.R. Berkley Corp. on Tuesday reported steady returns for the past quarter and year, as the company weathered another round of natural disasters.

Quarterly revenues totaled about $1.95 billion, about the same as the total in the fourth quarter of 2017. Profits for the quarter came to about $132 million, down 14 percent year-over-year.

For 2018, revenues reached $7.7 billion, about the same as a year ago. Annual profits totaled about $641 million, up 17 percent from 2017.

“Our results for the fourth quarter of 2018 once again demonstrated our strategy for managing volatility,” the company said in a statement. “We delivered strong underwriting and investment results during a period of elevated worldwide catastrophes and turbulent securities markets.”

The company released its results about 30 minutes after U.S. markets closed for the day. Company shares finished Tuesday at $74.65, down 0.6 percent from their Monday closing.

Catastrophes around the world cost insurance underwriters and governments $227 billion last year, according to a recent study by insurer Aon.

California’s Camp Fire, which led to 88 deaths and the loss of more than 18,800 structures, ranked as the largest insured loss. The fire caused $12 billion in insured losses and $15 billion in economic damages.

In a key measure of its ability to withstand such losses, Berkley recorded a 95.9 percent “combined ratio” for 2018. The ratio measures the percentage of premiums used to cover losses and underwriting expenses. Any ratio less than 100 reflects an underwriting profit.

Among major initiatives launched in 2018, Berkley announced last August the formation of Berkley Healthcare, comprising its Berkley Healthcare Professional Underwriters and Berkley Healthcare Financial Lines divisions, to provide products and services to health care providers.

Of Berkley’s 54 subsidiary companies, 47 were homegrown and seven were acquired.

Berkley comprised one of 16 local companies on last year’s Fortune 500 list, ranking No. 369 overall. The company is headquartered at 475 Steamboat Road, yards from Greenwich Harbor.

pschott@scni.com; 203-964-2236; twitter: @paulschott

AP RADIO
Update hourly