William R. Berkley
William R. Berkley

W.R. Berkley Corp. reported a stellar fourth-quarter in terms of premium growth, but net income dipped at year-end due in part to investment return challenges.

Berkley’s 2014 Q4 net income is booked at $110.7 million ($0.83 per diluted share), versus $130.4 million in the 2013 fourth quarter ($0.85 per diluted share).

Chairman and CEO William R. Berkley put it succinctly in prepared remarks, noting that the company’s investment funds “earned 12.7 percent for 2014, although the fourth quarter was disappointing.”

Still, Berkley’s overall portfolio generated more than $255 million of realized gains for the year, Chairman and CEO Berkley said, adding “we expect both investment funds and realized gains to create substantial income going forward, despite their quarterly volatility.”

For the 2014 fourth quarter, Berkley reported more than $1.45 billion in net premiums written, $1.5 billion in net premiums earned and $114.2 million in investment income. In the 2013 fourth quarter, the insurer produced almost $1.36 billion in net premiums written, $1.38 billion in net premiums earned and just under $139 million in net investment income.

For the quarter, Berkley’s overall combined ratio was 93.3, an improvement over 95.1 generated in the 2013 fourth quarter.

Berkley boosted its underwriting results in its domestic and international arms, but saw a decrease in premiums written for its global reinsurance division. Combined ratios improved in Berkley’s domestic and global reinsurance divisions, but the international division combined ratio worsened.

Berkley said that 2015 will involve a focus on “growing the best performing areas of our business with improved underwriting results, overall investment returns, and capital management.”

Source: W.R. Berkley Corp.