W.R. Berkley Sets Q3 Record

W. R. Berkley Corp. (NYSE: BER) on Tuesday reported net income for the third quarter of 2004 of $97 million, or $1.10 per share, a 27% increase from $76 million, or $0.87 per share, a year ago. Third quarter 2004 net operating income increased 27% to $94 million, or $1.06 per share, compared with $74 million, or $0.84 per share, for the third quarter of 2003.

Third quarter highlights included:

* Net premiums written rose to $1.059 billion, an increase of
13% from the comparable quarter of 2003.

* Pre-tax losses attributable to Hurricanes Charley, Frances,
Ivan and Jeanne were $32 million.

* The GAAP combined ratio was 91.9% compared with 91.7% in the
prior year period.

* The paid loss ratio decreased to 30.0% from 36.2% in the prior
year quarter.

* Investment income increased 39% to $72 million.

*Cash flow from operations increased 8% to $465 million
compared with $429 million in the year-earlier period.

Commenting on the company’s performance, William Berkley, chairman and CEO, noted, “The Company achieved record third quarter operating results in spite of the unusually high level of storms and resulting decline in the industry’s profitability. Prices are generally increasing at a level above loss cost inflation, and in most areas of the business our returns continue to be comfortably above our targets.

“Our paid loss ratio declined to 30% in the third quarter, the seventh consecutive quarterly reduction, and our cash flow was at an all-time high. Although our ability to increase prices is becoming a greater challenge, we expect to continue to deliver outstanding returns for the foreseeable future.”