Greenwich, CT – W. R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE: WRB) recently reported its fourth quarter and full year 2020 results.
Fourth quarter highlights included:
- All-time record net income of $312.2 million.
- Return on equity of 20.6%.
- Gross and net premiums written increased 9.3% and 8.2%, respectively.
- The reported combined ratio was 90.9%. The accident year combined ratio before catastrophe losses was 88.8%.
- Underwriting income increased 44.2% to $165.4 million.
- Catastrophes added 2.3 loss ratio points to the reported combined ratio, including 1.5 loss ratio points for COVID-19 related losses.
- Average rate increases excluding workers’ compensation were approximately 15.4%.
- Book value per share grew 6.1%, before share repurchases and dividends.
Full year highlights included:
- Average rate increases excluding workers’ compensation were approximately 13.6%.
- Paid loss ratio of 51.9%.
- Operating cash flow increased 41.3% to more than $1.6 billion.
- Gross and net premiums written increased 7.1% and 5.8%, respectively.
- Book value per share grew 10.5%, before share repurchases and dividends.
- Total capital returned to shareholders was $430 million, including $346 million of share repurchases and $84 million of dividends.
The Company commented:
By every measure, the Company had an outstanding quarter, with earnings of $312 million and more than 9% growth in gross premiums written. We reported a combined ratio of 90.9%, which is the lowest in 13 years, and underwriting income of $165 million, which increased by 44.2%.
Our rate increases continued to accelerate throughout the year in connection with our efforts to stay ahead of current and expected loss trends. The global pandemic, frequent catastrophe losses, social inflation and low interest rates continue to reinforce the industry’s need for disciplined underwriting and additional rate.
Our total return investment strategy delivered strong performance, driven by our alternative investment portfolio. Net investment income grew 32%, despite the defensive position in our fixed-maturity securities, where we maintain a relatively short duration and a high level of liquidity.
The Company again delivered a superior risk-adjusted return, in a challenging environment. We see no signs of rate increases moderating and expect that 2021 will provide opportunities for margin improvement.
The complete results release is available here: W. R. Berkley Corporation Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results
Source: WR Berkley