W.R. Berkley sees jump in net income

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W.R. Berkley, Greenwich-based insurance holding company, reported net income for the first quarter of $170 million, or $1.25 per share, compared with $117 million or 83 cents per share for the same period in 2013.
Written premiums increased by 11 percent, and the return on equity was 15.7 percent, according to the company.
“We had an excellent first quarter. Underwriting results showed substantial improvement as almost every area of the domestic business produced improved margins,” said William Berkley, chairman and CEO, in prepared comments. “We expect these improvements to be maintained over the balance of the year as the efforts to improve pricing and control costs are reflected in our financial statements.”
Investment income grew substantially, and realized gains added to the company’s profitability, he said, commenting that it benefited from improved investment returns from partnership interests.
“We expect our gains to continue, although they may vary from quarter to quarter,” Berkley said. “Price increases are still obtainable in most lines of business. Customers value service and reliability and realize insurance is about getting claims paid in a prompt and fair manner. With our after-tax return at our target level of 15 percent for the quarter, we are optimistic that the balance of the year will prove rewarding.”
W.R. Berkley is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “WRB.”

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