W.R. Berkley Q1 Results Show Rate Increases Working

April 25, 2019

W.R. Berkley Corp. enjoyed solid premium growth in the 2019 first quarter and its reinsurance arm booked encouraging results, with the carrier crediting “further rate improvement” for the positive trend.

The insurer said its rate increases appear to be outpacing loss cost trends in many of its business lines. Average rate increases excluding workers’ compensation were more than six percent.

“Our first quarter results are a solid start to the year. The industry appears to be grappling with the reality that rate adequacy is of paramount importance. Signs of rate movement and returning discipline may be early indicators that the moment the industry has been waiting for is coming to many parts of the business. We anticipate that these trends, and consequently our results, will further improve during the balance of the year,” the company said in remarks accompanying its financial results release.

At the same time, insurance catastrophe losses rose and net investment income declined in the quarter, the company said.

W.R. Berkley booked more than $180.7 million in net income compared to $116.4 million in the 2018 first quarter.

Its insurance combined ratio was 94 in Q1, a slight uptick from 93.8 the year before. On the other hand, its reinsurance/monoline excess combined ratio was 96.8 in the 2019 first quarter versus 101.3 the year before.

The company’s consolidated net premiums written hit $1.7 billion in the first quarter, up from more than $1.6 billion in the 2018 first quarter.

Net investment income in the 2019 first quarter was more than $158.2 million, a drop from more than $174.5 million produced during the same year-ago period.

Catastrophe losses spiked on the insurance side, reaching $12.6 million in Q1 2019, up from $7.1 million in Q1 2018. Reinsurance/monoline excess catastrophe losses came in at just $42,000 for the first quarter, down from $257,000 a year ago.

Insurance gross premiums written reached $1.8 billion, up from $1.76 billion in the 2018 first quarter. Net premiums written came in at nearly $1.5 billion compared to $1.47 billion a year ago. The reinsurance/monoline excess gross premiums written hit $235.7 million compared to $219.2 million in Q1 2018. Net premiums written were $212.2 million versus $192 million a year ago.

Source: W.R. Berkley

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