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Investments drive Berkley's strong third-quarter profit

Investments drive Berkley's strong third-quarter profit

W.R. Berkley Corp.'s net income for the third quarter of 2014 surged 37.6% over that of the same period in 2013 to $188.5 million, driven in part by strong investment results, the insurer reported.

Net written premiums rose in the third quarter to $1.53 billion, an increase of 7.1% from the same period a year earlier. Investment income rose 42.7% over that of the third quarter of 2013 to $179.2 million, the Greenwich, Connecticut-based insurer said Thursday in a statement. Its combined ratio for the quarter improved to 93.5% compared with 93.9% for the same period of 2013.

The insurer reported net income of $538.2 million for the first nine months of 2014, a 45.6% increase over the same period in 2013. Net written premiums rose 9.6% in the first nine months to $4.54 billion, while investment income increased 20.0% to $486.7 million, and the combined ratio improved to 93.9% from 95.1%.

“We are pleased with our third-quarter results,” said W.R. Berkley Chairman and CEO William R. Berkley in a statement. “Our underwriting continued to perform well, while investment income and capital gains were especially strong as a result of our long-term investment strategy.”

He added that “we are expanding our market position in places where we believe underwriting margins are more attractive. In other places, we chose not to grow. Underwriting results also benefited from our ongoing efforts to further reduce the expense ratio.”

Mr. Berkley also said that “the improvement in both investment income and capital gains was led by the performance of our investment funds, which as we have suggested, may vary quarter over quarter. Over the long term, we expect a moderate level of capital gains to continue.”

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