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Berkshire Hathaway sees 38.6% growth in excess and surplus lines in 2013


Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s 2013 U.S. excess and surplus lines premiums grew by 38.6% over 2012 to $560.9 million, according to an analysis released by financial information firm SNL Financial L.C. on Monday.

Charlottesville, Va.-based SNL said in its report that Berkshire's premium growth represents the largest percentage growth of the top 30 E&S insurers, moving it up five spaces in its ranking to become the 13th-largest E&S writer in the country, and was “well above” the 7.6% increase for the U.S. property/casualty industry as a whole.

SNL had previously reported that for the third quarter of 2013, Berkshire's U.S. E&S business grew by about 27.6% year over year.

Berkshire announced the operational launch of its Boston-based Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance unit in June. Observers have commented that its entry into the market has been very methodical and strategic, and a welcome alternative to other E&S insurers.

The SNL report is based on an analysis of statutory statements filed with the states by individual insurance companies.

Among other developments, QBE Insurance Group Ltd. went from writing more than $1 billion in direct E&S premiums in the U.S. in 2012 to only $777 million in 2013, and is now ranked the ninth-largest E&S insurer, down from its position as No. 6 in 2012. The Sydney-based insurer reported a total $254 million net loss for 2013.

Copies of the SNL report are available here.