Berkshire’s Commercial Insurer Hires AIG, Chubb Execs to Enter Canada Market

By | January 28, 2015

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s commercial insurance unit is expanding into Canada as it seeks to win over new clients by offering bigger coverage limits than competitors.

The unit, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, said it hired Darryl DeSouza from American International Group Inc. to lead casualty lines in the country, according to a statement Wednesday. Michael Densham, a former Chubb Corp. executive, will be in charge of executive and professional lines, while Scott Miller joins from Berkshire’s Gen Re unit and will oversee property coverage for the new operation.

Berkshire Chairman Warren Buffett hired Peter Eastwood and other executives from AIG in 2013 to expand insurance sales to businesses. His unit has sought to distinguish itself from other carriers by highlighting an appetite for risk as it pushes into new countries and markets.

“We look forward to providing brokers and customers in Canada with ready access to our strong capacity and substantial underwriting and claims expertise,” Eastwood said in the statement. “With Scott, Darryl and Michael joining the BHSI team in Toronto, we have an immediate market presence — with decades of experience in Canada.”

In the past two months, BHSI said it won licenses to begin selling coverage in Singapore and Hong Kong. The announcements followed the hiring of former AIG executives in Asia.

Buffett, 84, uses premiums held by insurance units at Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire to fund his stock picks and acquisitions. In addition to BHSI and Gen Re, the company has a namesake reinsurance operation run by Ajit Jain. Berkshire also sells insurance through other subsidiaries, like auto carrier Geico.

Noah Buhayar

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