W.R. Berkley Posts Q4 Profit of $118M; Average Renewal Rates Up 4.2%

By | February 1, 2012

W.R. Berkley Corporation reported net income of $117.9 million for its 2011 fourth quarter, a 7 percent decline compared to the same period one year ago when the company reported $126.9 million net income. The Greenwich, Conn.-based commercial lines P/C insurer reported its results after the close of trading Tuesday.

CEO William Berkley said his company saw higher renewal rates last quarter. “Average renewal rates were up 4.2 percent during the quarter with the upward pricing trend accelerating. Our operating units’ priority is to remain focused on price. Our confidence in the cyclical turn is becoming greater as time passes. We continue to see recognition by the industry of the need for further rate increases and greater underwriting discipline.”

“Premiums written for our core business are beginning to grow again, and the newer units are growing at an increasing pace,” he also said.

W.R. Berkley saw its net premiums written increase, to $1.09 billion for the fourth quarter, up 18.7 percent compared to one year ago when it reported $918 million.

Operating income for the quarter was $83.2 million, down $20.5 percent from the year-ago period.

The insurer had $15 million in catastrophe losses for the quarter, up from $6 million one year ago. These amounts are net of reinsurance coverage and reinstatement premiums.

Net investment income for the quarter was $117.1 million, down 15 percent.

The consolidated GAAP combined ratio for the 2011 fourth quarter was 96.8 percent, up from 94.1 percent during the year-ago period.

For the full-year 2011, net income came in at $394.8 million, down 12 percent from 2010 when the company reported $449.3 million net income. The 2011 net premiums written rose to $4.36 billion, up 13 percent from 2010. The full-year catastrophe losses were $153 million, up from $81 million in 2010. The full-year consolidated GAAP combined ratio was 98.3 percent, up from 94.5 percent in 2010.

The full-year operating income was $313 million, down 24 percent. Net investment income for 2011 was $526.4 million, down slightly from $530.5 million in 2010. The company holds some $14.56 billion in net invested assets, about two-thirds of which are invested in fixed maturity securities.

W.R. Berkley operates five business segments: specialty insurance, regional P/C insurance, alternative markets, reinsurance and international. All segments saw increased net premiums written for the 2011 fourth quarter and the full year.

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