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Berkley focused on shareholder value more than net income


With investment income down 25.7%, W.R. Berkley Corp. reported a 19.1% drop in its net income for the quarter, which declined to $152.6 million.

Investment income decreased to $133.2 million from $179.2 million.

The insurer focuses on “shareholder value more than reported earnings per se,” Chairman and CEO William T. Berkley said Monday during the company’s conference call.

Net premiums written of $1.57 billion for the Greenwich, Connecticut-based company increased 3% for the quarter ended Sept. 30. The property/casualty insurer reported 98.1% combined ratio, a slight improvement from 98.7% for the comparable period a year earlier.

For the first nine months of the year, Berkley reported a 27% decline in net income, which was $393.9 million, while net premiums written increased 3.3% to $4.69 billion.

The company also reported that its nine-month combined ratio improved to 96.7% from 97.1% a year earlier.

“We’re maintaining the quality of our investment portfolio” and keeping investments at a short duration, Mr. Berkley said.

“The risk of an adverse economic return will have a generally adverse impact” on the business. “Therefore, we chose not to take the risk” of longer-term investments, he said.

The company is pleased with the results “and we’re looking forward to an excellent year,” Mr. Berkley said.

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