U.S. property and casualty insurer
W.R. Berkley Corp.
) has formed a division to write primary and excess casualty
insurance and hired an industry veteran to head the new operations.
The new unit is named Berkley Custom Insurance Managers, LLC with
headquarters in Stamford, CT.
The division will provide excess casualty insurance coverage and
act as an underwriting entity for 26 of the total 27 Berkley
subsidiaries, which carry a rating of A+ assigned by A.M. Best.
Michael P. Fujii, erstwhile President and CEO of worldwide
insurance operations at a major international insurer, will take
over the responsibility of leading Berkley's Stamford-based
The operations will further expand Berkley's specialty focus.
There are signs of rates firming in the primary and excess casualty
insurance market after several years of low rates. Recently,
renewal rates for the Excess Casualty coverage line saw a positive
increase in the range of 5% to 30%.
Berkley has a strong presence in the U.S. specialty insurance
market, which makes it possible for the company to charge premium
pricing. For 2011, Berkley's specialty segment saw a 23% surge in
net premiums and constituted 36% of the total consolidated
premiums. Currently, the company offers specialty insurance through
20 operating units on an admitted basis. It was one of the most
profitable segments in 2011, with a combined ratio of 91.9%.
Berkley is scheduled to release second quarter earnings results
on July 24, 2012, after the market closes. The Zacks Consensus
Estimate for second quarter earnings is poised at 63 cents per
share, reflecting a year-over-year growth rate of 37%.
Berkley currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into
a short-term Hold rating. Considering the fundamentals, we are also
maintaining our long-term Neutral recommendation on the shares. Its
), all carry a Zacks # 3 Rank and a long-term Neutral rating.
ASSURANT INC (AIZ): Free Stock Analysis Report
CHUBB CORP (CB): Free Stock Analysis Report
TRAVELERS COS (TRV): Free Stock Analysis Report
BERKLEY (WR) CP (WRB): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.