W.R. Berkley Says Rate Increases Averaging 14.5% Contributed to Solid 3Q Results

October 26, 2020

W.R. Berkley Corp.’s 2020 third-quarter financial results landed on the strong side despite a dip in net income and more COVID-19 losses, a result the company credits to rate hikes and underwriting discipline.

The commercial lines specialty insurer and reinsurer booked nearly $151.7 million in net income during the quarter, or $0.81 per share, versus $165.2 million in net income, or $0.85 per share in the 2019 second quarter.

W.R. Berkley said that average rate increases outside of workers’ compensation grew 14.5 percent, with gross and net written premiums jumping 8.1 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.

The combined ratio came in at 93.7, including 4.2 points of catastrophe losses. Catastrophe losses hit $74 million for insurance, including COVID-19 losses, up from $15.4 million in Q3 2019. Reinsurance and monoline excess catastrophe losses during the quarter reached $1.3 million, down from $16 million in the same, year-ago quarter.

“The industry’s need for disciplined underwriting and additional rate has been reinforced by, among other factors, the global pandemic, the continued increase in the frequency of catastrophe losses, the ongoing impacts of social inflation and the low interest rate environment,” W.R. Berkley said in its earnings report. “We remain focused on profitable underwriting with low volatility, growth in attractive areas of the market and total risk-adjusted returns in our investment portfolio.”

Other Q3 results:

  • Consolidated net premiums written nearly reached $1.9 billion, up from $1.7 billion in Q3 2019. Net premiums earned landed at $1.7 billion compared to $1.67 billion the year before. There were gains in both insurance and reinsurance premiums, with average rate increases hitting 14.5 percent excluding workers compensation.
  • Workers’ compensation net premiums written were booked at $257.6 million, down from $303.1 million in the same year-ago quarter.
  • Net investment income surpassed $142.6 million in the quarter, down from $161.7 million in the 2019 third quarter.
  • Net investment gains nearly reached $39 million in the quarter compared to $1.5 million in the 2019 third quarter.

Source: W.R. Berkley Corp

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