Category Archives: Insurance

GEICO Besting Esurance in Illinois

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GEICO Casualty has been gaining customers in Illinois while its competitor, Allstate’s Esurance, has seen policyholder slippage.

Esurance’s total Illinois policyholders dropped 4% from the prior year to 49,317, according to its June 12 filing with the Illinois Department of Insurance. Nationally, its total policyholders fell 2% to 1.4 million from 1.43 million.

In contrast, GEICO Casualty’s Illinois policyholders grew to 212,029 policyholders as of March 31, which is a strong 15% increase from 183,644 policyholders.

In 2011, Allstate bought Esurance and Answer Financial from White Mountains Insurance Group for roughly $1 billion. Esurance sells auto insurance directly to customers online and through call centers. The unit has never turned a profit, and Allstate has responded by slashing its advertising budget.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Gen Re Founding Member of InsurLab Germany

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Gen Re is one of the founding members of InsurLab Germany, as the insurance industry is embracing digitalization at an ever-faster pace, both in Germany and elsewhere.

InsurLab Germany is open to companies in the insurance industry along with start-ups and related service providers. Gen Re is one of eight founding members with an insurance background; other co-founders include the Cologne Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the University of Cologne and TH Köln University of Applied Sciences. Ulrich Pasdika, Head of Region Germany and Research & Development Life & Health at Gen Re, was elected to the association’s board along with two other representatives from the insurance industry.

Dr Winfried Heinen, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors at General Reinsurance AG, said: “We are delighted about this initiative and are happy to actively support it. We believe it strengthens Cologne as an insurance hub and we can make a significant contribution to the discussions with our international expertise. As a top ten reinsurer with a global network, we have a strong interest in promoting collaboration between start-ups and the insurance industry – to the benefit of both sides.”

Gen Re has been involved in various initiatives dedicated to the digital future of the industry for some time now. One of the fields it focuses on within this area is data science. In addition to this, Gen Re is working with external partners to find practical solutions to the highly dynamic pace of change affecting the insurance industry as it tackles rapid technological progress and changing consumer behaviour.

Ulrich Pasdika commented: “We firmly believe that cooperation between insurers and reinsurers on the one hand and a wide range of InsurTechs on the other, offers huge potential for innovative approaches. Provided the industry maintains this collaboration in a smart, consistent way, digitalization represents a massive opportunity for it.

Cologne’s InsurLab is the latest in a long line of international initiatives and projects relating to technology and innovation which we have established around the world, and it offers us another outstanding opportunity to help shape these major changes.”

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Gen Re Hires New Chief Actuary

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William (Bill) Casill, FSA, has joined Gen Re’s North American life and health business as Senior Vice President and Chief Actuary, assuming strategic oversight of pricing and valuation for General Re Life Corporation. He reports to Vincent DeMarco, President and CEO.

Bill has an extensive background in pricing and valuation, including over 25 years of experience in mortality analytics, underwriting and reinsurance. Prior to his new role, he served as Head of Reinsurance and Corporate Chief Underwriter at AXA Equitable.

“We are excited about the experience Bill brings to Gen Re. His impressive wealth of knowledge will allow him to immediately support our profitable growth objectives,” said DeMarco.

“What mainly attracted me to Gen Re was the opportunity to work with a talented group of professionals, both within the company and across their wide range of clients,” said Casill. “I look forward to working under a top quality brand and identifying ways we can be more competitive across markets.”

Bill is based in the Stamford, Connecticut office and is a graduate of Stony Brook University.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Launches Public and Products Liability Insurance in the UK, Ireland and Southern Europe

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) is introducing Public and Products Liability Insurance in the UK, Ireland and Southern Europe, and Employer’s Liability Insurance in the UK and Ireland.

The company also named Martin Leeks, Senior Vice President, Casualty, UK and Southern Europe.

“Under Martin’s leadership, we look forward to building out our casualty team in the region and bringing to market creative solutions with the financial strength and long-term underwriting focus of BHSI,” said Tom Bolt, President, BHSI, UK and Southern Europe. “Martin’s wealth of casualty underwriting expertise, coupled with our broad appetite and stable capacity, will translate to solutions that serve customers well for years to come.”

Along with local casualty coverage in the UK and Southern Europe, BHSI will provide multinational programs and underwrite certain targeted trades via Coverholders.

Martin comes to BHSI with 26 years of casualty underwriting experience, most recently at Mitsui Sumitomo at Lloyd’s. Before that, he was Senior Underwriter at Chartis (AIG) Cat Excess and held casualty underwriting roles at ACE Europe and Zurich. He began his career handling international claims.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Gen Re to Offer Reinsurance in India

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Gen Re has received approval from the Insurance Regulation and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) to open a branch in Mumbai (R3 license).

The new branch structure will now allow Gen Re to deliver underwriting and risk management expertise locally rather than cross-border. It will facilitate an optimal business model, both efficient in process and highly beneficial to clients. Gen Re has already been committed to the Indian market for the past 15 years through various channels, most recently through a local support services company in Mumbai. The focus was primarily on the Life and Health sector. Gen Re will continue contributing and expanding in this segment while simultaneously exploring opportunities to grow its presence in the Property/Casualty reinsurance market.

Venkatesh N. Chakravarty will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer and lead the branch. Bringing almost three decades of re/insurance experience to the role, he has held senior positions with both an international and domestic focus. Venkatesh will also hold operational responsibility for the Life/Health business. The Property/Casualty business will be headed by Nighat Khan.

Speaking recently, Winfried Heinen, Chairman of the Executive Board of Directors of General Reinsurance AG, said, “We are delighted about the opening of the Indian market. Establishing a reinsurance branch is an important milestone for us. We firmly believe in the great potential of the Indian market, especially for life and health insurance products. With Venkatesh as our local head we have an extraordinarily professional and capable team in place to lead this important move. I am excited about the opportunities on the horizon.”

“The new structure will enable us to provide technical and risk management services locally. Beyond classic reinsurance of traditional lines of business, the development of innovative life and health insurance products with and for our clients is at the core of our value proposition. We are now ideally positioned to meet the demands and challenges of the market,” added Venkatesh Chakravarty.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection Innovates With New Products

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Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP), a leading provider of innovative travel insurance, has launched a new lineup of travel insurance products for the U.S. market.

Known for its market-leading innovation in U.S. travel insurance, BHTP is launching more comprehensive coverage than before with the debut of ExactCare® Value™ and ExactCare® Extra™, and enhancements to its existing ExactCare® product.

“BHTP is launching a good, better and different suite of plans in the U.S. market,” said Dean Sivley, president of Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. “Our top-tier offering is ‘different’ in that it not only provides the highest coverage limits from BHTP, it also integrates our innovative fixed benefits, making it the broadest travel insurance option in the U.S.”

ExactCare® Extra™: BHTP is the first travel insurance company to launch a revolutionary concept that combines the innovative and immediate fixed-benefit payments featured in its existing AirCare® product with traditional coverage, giving travelers the broadest travel and simplest protection possible.

ExactCare® Value™: Full-featured product offering savvy travelers what they want most from travel insurance.

ExactCare®: BHTP’s most popular product is now more hassle-free – particularly for families, with the addition of family-friendly pricing.

“Travel agents now have something different to offer their clients – something that includes what we’re calling ‘no receipts needed’ fixed benefits for several coverages in BHTP’s new ExactCare Extra® plan,” Sivley added. “Following the 2014 debut of AirCare® – the world’s first flight-protection product to feature claims that are automatically filed and paid as flight or baggage mishaps happen – BHTP has now combined these popular fixed benefits for travel disruption and baggage with traditional, comprehensive travel insurance.”

As travelers enter the busy and often weather-disrupted summer travel season, the new and enhanced ExactCare products will not only make quick travel assistance more accessible for any travel problem or disruption, but now travelers can receive “as it happens” claims payments for covered flight cancellations, tarmac delays or delayed and lost baggage.

Designed to dramatically reduce or eliminate claim filing and processing, all new BHTP ExactCare products include expedited claims reimbursement via BHTP Burst® – including direct e-payments to a PayPal account, or payment via debit card into a specified account. Plus, the new, innovative ExactCare Extra plan includes real-time flight tracking, the popular high-tech feature that was first introduced in 2014 with BHTP’s AirCare product.

All BHTP insureds have access to on-demand attention and responses through MyAssist, and BHTP’s 24/7/365 global concierge service.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Launches Professional First Professional Liability and Network Security & Privacy Policy in Canada

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It was just last year that Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) marked its initial entry into Professional Lines in Canada with the launch of Professional First Miscellaneous Professional Liability Insurance, geared for large commercial entities, from consultants to property managers.

Now, BHSI has introduced its Professional First Professional Liability and Network Security & Privacy Policy and announced that it has appointed Geoffrey Kendrick as Head of Professional Lines in Canada.

“We are pleased to round out our Executive & Professional Lines products with comprehensive professional liability coverage for large, complex technology-related risks,” said Michael Densham, Head of Executive & Professional Lines, BHSI, Canada. “We are also excited to have Geoff leading our efforts in the Professional Lines marketplace. His extensive experience will serve BHSI and our customers well.”

BHSI’s new Professional First Professional Liability and Network Security & Privacy Policy is designed to address the needs of a wide range of enterprises, from systems integrators, to telecommunications providers, to IT staffing firms. The policy provides coverage for numerous exposures, encompassing: (i) third party exposures resulting from security and privacy breaches, including regulatory investigations, fines and penalties; (ii) a wide range of direct expenses an insured incurs in responding to a breach or extortion threat; (iii) media liability exposures; and (iv) lost income and related expenses resulting from interruption of the insured’s business due to a network security failure. The new form was purposefully drafted with clear, concise language, and builds in as standard many coverages traditionally available only by endorsement.

Geoffrey Kendrick joins BHSI after 11 years at Zurich Financial Services, Global Corporate. At Zurich, he held various underwriting roles of increasing responsibility focusing on professional indemnity and product safety & recall business in offices around the globe. Developing international insurance solutions for large, multinational risks, while addressing the complex and ever changing business, legal and compliance environment is his specialty. Geoffrey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Western Ontario, King’s College.

He is based in BHSI’s office in Toronto.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

GEICO Reaches 15-Million Policyholder Milestone

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Fifteen million is a lot of anything, and for insurer GEICO it represents continued growth that has seen it become one of the dominant players in the auto, motorcycle and recreational vehicle insurance markets.

A Covington, Ga., couple called GEICO recently looking to purchase a new auto insurance policy. Little did they know that their 15-minute phone conversation with GEICO sales counselor Jon Hollingshed of Macon, Ga., would propel GEICO to a record-breaking 15-millionth policy.

“We are extremely excited that the 15-millionth policy was purchased here in Georgia,” said GEICO regional vice president Rhett Rayburn. “For the second time in 12 months, we’ve been a part of a significant policyholder milestone. This is a true testament to the tireless effort and hard work of our GEICO team here in Macon.”

Speaking with the couple over the phone, Hollingshed mentioned that they did their homework by asking the right questions, looking at coverage options, comparing quotes and reading customer reviews. “They reviewed different auto insurance companies but chose to go with GEICO because of our easy sales process, price discounts and mainly positive customer comments,” said Hollingshed.

As for being a part of GEICO’s historic milestone, Hollingshed had no idea that he had just sold GEICO’s 15-millionth policy. “When they told me the good news, I couldn’t believe it,” said Hollingshed. “My initial impression: what are the chances of that happening?”

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO, which was founded in 1936, provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually. The company serves more than 15 million private passenger customers, insuring more than 24 million vehicles (auto & cycle).

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

General Star Offers Coverage for Food Delivery Businesses

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Ever wonder if your pizza delivery person could sink your company due to an accident? Well, worry no longer.

Berkshire Hathaway’s General Star Management Company has announced the launch of its Food Delivery Program effective March 1, 2017.

General Star’s Programs Unit will partner with AmWINS Program Underwriters, who will administer the program designed for hired and non-owned auto liability risks engaged in food delivery services.

The Food Delivery Program provides protection for hired and non-owned commercial auto liability risks. Businesses with twenty or fewer locations are eligible on a nationwide basis, with the exception of Louisiana.

“We are delighted to partner with AmWINS Program Underwriters. They have an enviable nationwide reputation as a skilled program administrator. We are pleased to respond to this need in the market,” said Tom Gersch, Vice President and General Star Programs Unit Manager.

General Star President and CEO Martin Hacala said, “We are pleased to expand General Star’s program offerings via this latest collaboration with AmWINS. The expertise of AmWINS and General Star provides a wonderful combination for success. I am confident the program will rapidly achieve its potential and provide long term value to our customers.”

he program will be written on a non-admitted basis by General Star Indemnity Company, which is rated A++ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, and carries an AA+ Insurance Financial Strength Rating from Standard & Poor’s Corporation. General Star is a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Reinsurance Corporation, a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies.

General Star Indemnity Company is an eligible surplus lines insurer in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. It has the status as an unlicensed insurer in California and operates under NAIC Number 0031-37362. Insurance is placed with the General Star Indemnity Company by licensed producers and, for risks that qualify, by licensed surplus lines brokers.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Rolls Out Accident & Health Insurance and Services in Asia

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (BHSI) has introduced Group Personal Accident, Corporate Travel and Expatriate Medical Insurance in Singapore and Hong Kong.
The company also named Kok Leong Koo as Underwriting Manager, Accident & Health, based in Singapore, and Janus Law as Assistant Vice President, Accident & Health based in Hong Kong.

BHSI’s new Corporate Travel and Expatriate Medical Insurance products combine coverage with 24/7 access to BHSI’s Care and Concierge Services. These services include emergency medical, evacuation and repatriation assistance; medical referrals; assistance retrieving lost luggage; and worldwide Concierge support for events like last minute reservations to house sitting services. The company’s new Group Personal Accident Insurance also offers expansive coverage with the flexibility of numerous add-on benefits.

“We are pleased to launch our first Accident & Health solutions in Asia — backed by BHSI’s financial strength,” said Phillip Brain, Head of Accident & Health, BHSI in Asia. “The BHSI Care and Concierge Services embedded in our travel covers are indicative of the high level of service we plan to bring to this marketplace.”

These new A&H products are available in Singapore and Hong Kong and will launch in Macau in the coming weeks. In addition, BHSI continues to provide facultative reinsurance for Accident & Health exposures through its four offices in Asia, which are located in Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and Malaysia.

Kok Leong comes to BHSI with more than a decade of experience in different underwriting and business development roles in the Singapore and Malaysia markets, which includes underwriting expertise in a Malaysian life operation. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Malaya. Kok Leong is based in BHSI’s office in Singapore.

Janus has more than 10 years of experience in Accident & Health markets in Hong Kong and China, serving in various senior underwriting and management roles, including chief underwriting officer for Accident & Health products in Asia. Janus holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Hong Kong and is a Fellow of the Life Management Institute. She is based in BHSI’s office in Hong Kong.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.