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Catastrophe losses hit Berkley's second-quarter profit

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W.R. Berkely Corp., which posted about $40 million in catastrophe losses for the quarter, reported an overall 11.4% decrease in net income for the second quarter ended June 30 on Monday, to $109 million, although it had particularly strong growth in its reinsurance segment.

The Greenwich, Connecticut-based insurer reported a 6.4% increase in net premiums written during the second quarter to $1.64 billion, it said Monday in an earnings release. The insurer reported $1.86 billion in revenues for the quarter, a 3.75% increase. It posted a 94.9% combined ratio for the quarter, vs. 94.2% for the comparable period in 2015.

During a conference call discussing results on Monday, W. Robert Berkley, the company’s president and CEO, said results were in line with expectations, including the approximately $40 million in catastrophe losses. Growth in the insurance market “came from the places we expect it to, led by casualty followed by professional,” he said.

He pointed in particular to the company’s reinsurance segment, which reported a 19.6% increase in net premiums written to $170.8 million for the quarter. Among the factors contributing to the growth, he said, were its facultative business that distributes on a direct basis; its global property facultative business, which excludes U.S. business; business in South Africa, which was initiated last year; and U.S. treaty business which “has been finding some niche opportunities within the structured space.”

The Greenwich, Connecticut-based insurer posted a 5.3% decrease in net income for the first half, to $228.5 million. For the first half, net premiums written increased 6.0%, to $3.31 billion. Revenues for the first half increased 3.6% to $3.66 billion. The company reported a first half combined ratio of 94.2% v. 94%.