W.R. Berkley Corp. saw its year-over-year net premiums written and investment income dip in the fourth quarter, but net income rose compared to the year before.

Net income hit about $155 million for Q4, or $1.21 per share, versus $152.8 million, or $1.20 per share in the 2016 fourth quarter.

The company noted challenges from the California wildfires and other catastrophes ($110 million in pretax losses relating to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, plus earthquakes in Mexico), but it argued that its overall Q4 and full-year 2017 performance was one of resilience.

“In a year characterized by record catastrophic losses for the industry, our focus on risk-adjusted returns has enabled us to produce excellent results with lower volatility while returning $236 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases,” the company said in its earnings release.

W.R. Berkley noted it also achieved modest aggregate price increases despite heavy competition.

Here are highlights of W.R. Berkley’s results:

  • The insurer booked nearly $1.78 billion in gross premiums written in Q4 2017, on par with the same period a year ago. Net premiums written were over $1.47 billion, down from $1.5 billion over the same period in 2016
  • Return on equity hit 12.3 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 13.3 percent in the same year-ago period.
  • Total catastrophe losses during Q4 landed at $18 million, including $8 million from the California wildfires.
  • Berkley’s insurance combined ratio came in at 94.4 in Q4 versus 93.8 in the 2016 fourth quarter. Its reinsurance combined ratio was 100.2 compared to 103.5 over the same period in 2016. Its consolidated combined ratio was just under 95, unchanged from Q4 2016.
  • Net investment income reached $149 million in Q4, down from $159.3 in the 2016 fourth quarter.
  • Berkley booked $549 million in net income for the full year in 2017, down from nearly $602 million in net income in 2016.

Source: W.R. Berkley Corp.