Property and casualty insurer
W.R. Berkley Corp.
) reported first-quarter core operating earnings of 74 cents per
share, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The company
reported higher premium written, pricing gains and a lower share
count. Earnings inched up by 1.4% year over year.
On a GAAP basis, net income declined surged 12% year over year
to 83 cents per share.
Revenue, in the quarter, came in at $1.50 billion, up 9.3%
year over year. The year-over-year increase was attributable to
higher premiums earned, insurance fee service, and higher income
from wholly owned investees.
W.R. Berkley's net written premium for the quarter was
approximately $1.38 billion, an increase of 14. 4% year over
year. The company saw broad-based growth with each of its
operating segments reporting higher premium.
Net investment income was $135.9 million in the quarter, down
13.8% year over year.
Total expenses also increased 13.0% year over year due to an
increase in loss and loss expenses, other operating costs, and
W.R. Berkley recorded a combined ratio of 94.7%, worse than
96.5% reported in the prior-year quarter.
Net premiums written in the
segment increased 1.7% year over year to $986.2 million. Combined
ratio improved 60 basis points to 95.5% in the quarter.
Net premiums written in the
segment climbed 22.0% year over year to $205.1 million. Combined
ratio improved 380 basis points year-over-year to 93.8%.
segment reported a 22% increase in net premiums written to $185.7
million in the quarter. Combined ratio improved 650 basis points
year-over-year to 91.3%.
Other companies in the same industry The Travelers Companies
) also reported first quarter 2013 earnings ahead of the Zacks
Consensus Estimate. However,
) reported first-quarter below the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
W.R. Berkley has been reporting ahead of the expectations for
the past several quarters. The company has maintained its trend
of beating earnings estimates in the reported quarter as well. We
expect the trend to continue going forward. The company has
positioned itself well to take advantage of hardening in the
insurance market by forming several new units over the past few
Premiums written for its core business have increased and the
new units are accruing to earnings. Average renewal rates are on
the rise and so is the price trend.
W.R. Berkley's balance sheet, which is adequately capitalized,
is another major company strength. The company has maintained its
practice of increasing yearly dividends. In our view, the company
is well poised to return value to its shareholders over the long
W.R. Berkley currently retains a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong
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