W.R. Berkley Corp. is launching Berkley Construction Professional Liability Underwriters, yet another expansion of its specialty coverage offerings.
The new unit will offer professional liability, pollution liability and protective coverages for contractors and project owners in all forms of non-environmental coverage, the company said.
W.R. Berkley has created 20-plus new operating units over the past 10 years devoted to various specialty areas including life sciences, accident and health and oil and gas. Just last week it announced the launch of Berkley International Seguros Colombia S.A., which will operate in Columbia selling all risk, surety, general liability, directors and officers liability, select classes of professional liability and cargo insurance.
“Typically we create operating units when we find talent in a particular segment we are not in but would like to be in,” Karen Horvath, Berkley’s vice president – external financial communications, told Carrier Management.
The specialty insurance market has become a crucial source of growth for property/casualty insurers, but a focus on construction and contracting is particularly timely, said Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute.
“Commercial p/c insurers are increasingly looking toward specialty lines for growth and W.R. Berkley’s most recent push into the construction and contracting comes at an especially opportune moment,” Hartwig told Carrier Management via email. “Construction activity in the U.S. continues to recover from the Great Recession, during which construction spending in the U.S. plummeted by more than 50%. Construction spending over the past year is up in the residential and nonresident segments and is even beginning to show signs of recovery in government construction spending, which had been in decline for years. This bodes well for construction sector growth opportunities in the p/c insurance industry.”
Meanwhile, W.R. Berkley’s latest specialty unit also has its leader in place. Raymond Bustamante is the newly named vice president of Berkley Construction Professional Liability Underwriters. The company noted he has 25 years of property/casualty insurance industry experience specializing in design and construction professional liability.
“We are pleased to have such an innovator lead an experienced team in offering solutions that address the often unique risks that contractors and owners/developers face,” Chairman and CEO William R. Berkley said in prepared remarks.