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Gen Re to close six offices in restructuring



P/C Insurers Berkshire Hathaway General Re Group Australia & New Zealand Central & Eastern Europe China More + Less -

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s General Reinsurance Corp. unit will close six of its smaller offices as part of a reorganization of its direct global property/casualty operations, Stamford, Connecticut-based Gen Re announced Friday.

The six offices are Charlotte, North Carolina, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Seattle in the United States, as well as Riga, Latvia, Hong Kong and Melbourne, Australia.

In a statement announcing the move, Gen Re said that the operations will be integrated into teams at larger offices “to facilitate a more robust delivery of services to our clients.”

“As regards the office closures, we are looking at various options based on our customers' interests so it could vary within a branch,” said a Gen Re spokeswoman in an email. “We hope to keep all our staff. We value them highly, and this presents an opportunity for them to grow their skill while also offering our customers a stronger service model. The number of people affected is about 20 out of a total employee count for the Gen Re group of over 2,300.”

In addition, Gen Re will reorganize its European treaty underwriting resources into five line-of-business teams to support the entire region, Gen Re said in the announcement. “This will allow Gen Re to leverage underwriting expertise more effectively across Europe to support business development, and to provide even greater underwriting resources to customers through the company's direct reinsurance model,” according to the Gen Re announcement.

The five lines of business are property/engineering risk, property/engineering catastrophe, marine, liability and motor.

“We have reviewed our entire global footprint, and with this change, we are positioning Gen Re's Property & Casualty operation to address the realities of today's markets, while capitalizing on tomorrow's opportunities,” said Bob Jones, president and property/casualty chief marketing officer of Gen Re, in the statement. “When you add technology to the equation, being a direct reinsurer in the 21st century has evolved from where it was two decades ago. We need to deliver underwriting and claims expertise in the most effective manner, while not compromising the quality of our products and promises. This new structure positions us to deliver on that.”