W.R. Berkley Corp enjoyed solid premium growth in the 2019 first quarter and its reinsurance arm booked encouraging results, with the carrier crediting “further rate improvement” for the positive trend.

At the same time, insurance catastrophe losses spiked higher and net investment income declined, the company said.

W.R. Berkley booked more than $180.7 million in net income, or $.094 per diluted share in Q1, compared to $116.4 million, or $0.87 per diluted share in the 2018 first quarter.

W.R. Berkley’s insurance combined ratio was 94 in Q1, a slight uptick from 93.8 the year before. On the other hand, its reinsurance/monoline excess combined ratio was 96.8 in the 2019 first quarter versus 101.3 the year before.

The company’s consolidated net premiums written hit $1.7 billion in the first quarter, up from more than $1.6 billion in the 2018 first quarter.

Net investment income in the 2019 first quarter was more than $158.2 million, a drop from more than $174.5 million produced during the same year-ago period.

Catastrophe losses spiked on the insurance side, reaching $12.6 million in Q1 2019, up from $7.1 million in Q1 2018. Reinsurance/monoline excess catastrophe losses came in at just $42,000 for the first quarter, down from $257,000 a year ago.

Here are further highlights:

  • Insurance gross premiums written reached $1.8 billion, up from $1.76 billion in the 2018 first quarter. Net premiums written came in at nearly $1.5 billion compared to $1.47 billion a year ago.
  • The reinsurance/monoline excess gross premiums written hit $235.7 million compared to $219.2 million in Q1 2018. Net premiums written were $212.2 million versus $192 million a year ago.
  • W.R. Berkley said its rate increases appear to be outpacing loss cost trend in many of its business lines.
  • W.R. Berkley’s consolidated combined ratio was 94.3 during the quarter compared to 94.6 in the 2018 first quarter.

Source: W.R. Berkley