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Berkley’s Q2 profits surge

Posted On: Jul. 22, 2021 6:09 PM CST


W.R. Berkley Corp. on Thursday reported a 232.9% increase in net income, to $237.2 million, in the second quarter.

The Greenwich, Connecticut-based insurer posted a 27.2% increase in net premiums written for the quarter, to $2.21 billion.

The combined ratio improved to 89.7% from 98.7% for the comparable period in 2020.

For the year, Berkley reported $466.8 million in net income vs. $66.8 million for the comparable period a year ago. Net premiums increased 18.9%, to $4.26 billion. The combined ratio was 89.9% vs. 97.8% for 2020.

During a conference call with analysts after the stock market’s closing, Richard M. Baio, executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer, pointed to catastrophe losses.

Berkley reported $44 million in current accident year losses from catastrophes, including COVID-19 related losses, during this year’s second quarter, compared with $145.9 million for the comparable period in 2020.

For the first half, it reported $79.8 million in catastrophe losses vs. $224.6 million for last year’s first half.

Rob Berkley, president and CEO, said, “By virtually any measure, it was a great quarter for the company,” with rate increases in all lines except for workers compensation outpacing loss trends, even after factoring in inflation.

In workers comp, he said, “there are growing but early signs that the level of erosion there is slowing,” although the company is “also paying close attention to wage inflation.”

“We continue to see the opportunity to push rates further,” Mr. Berkley said. “We don’t think this marketplace has peaked in any way shape or form, quite the contrary.”

Mr. Berkley said, “We’re very optimistic about where things are going for the next couple of years. From our perspective, the table is set” for terrific returns.